By DEXTER DUGGAN
Americans are on edge because of widely separated terror bombings in their nation, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
University students — and presumably everyone else — are told there’s an answer. The federal government mandates that each person be implanted with an all-purpose chip in the hand. The plan is “to unify the world in peace and security.”
Reluctant to go along? “Sir, this is a mandate from the government….The use of this chip is required, and noncompliance has serious consequences.”
It’s a new movie — Rumors of Wars — that takes what may be only a few steps into the future from our current reality of a lawless president who constantly sows strife and deception and doesn’t seem overly fond of this United States of America.
Already today Christians and other religious traditionalists are an irritant to the U.S. government. It devises rules and restrictions against them.
Whoever mandated this chip into the hand? Who knows or cares when the government is totally unaccountable, and totally commanding? “No matter how deep you dig, you’re never going to get to the source,” says one character.
The movie’s charismatic “Mr. Zurn,” of “Zurn Global,” is equally enthusiastic for this vision of the future, so, as in real life, the global corporatists help mandate the blueprint for everyone else’s life.
However, if the old rules for running a country are going out the window, the old rules for making movies are already gone. No longer do a few Hollywood giants control the system.
California entertainment tycoons may be star-struck over Barack Obama, but today’s movie-making dissenters from his big government haven’t yet been implanted with a chip to limit their actions.
Talented, enterprising newcomers located about anywhere can produce a story, spread the word through social networks, then display their message everywhere from neighborhood theaters to DVDs.
In our culturally challenging times, some movies seek to cultivate a return to or rediscovery of traditional values. This film, however, is different.
Although Rumors of Wars is described by promoters as a redemptive movie, we get no further than what amounts to the Cross on Calvary in this, the first of possibly two or three separate films in a series.
As this film ends, we’re reminded of Christ’s words in the Bible, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but the end is still to come.”
Life unfolds. It’s not like a roadmap where you can see your destination at the same time as your starting point.
At an undetermined time in the future after the government begins implanting everyone with the chips, Christians in Rumors of Wars have become a tattered, scattered minority hunted down and sometimes shot on the spot by its troops.
The storyline cuts back and forth between the near future and more distant days.
When a government soldier finds a Christian wearing a crucifix, he yanks it off and growls that “this symbolizes your primitive thinking.”
The Christians have some guns of their own. Not enough to match forces on a battlefield, but to inflict casualties where they may. The major firepower, however, isn’t theirs.
“Let nothing hinder our progress” is the government cry as some Christians are lined up and shot. When a shaken soldier questions this execution, his superior replies, “Those type of people are not trainable.”
James Simmons, the 36-year-old CEO of Bearfruit Films, sat down with The Wanderer on May 1 at a Phoenix specialty pizza restaurant to talk about Rumors of Wars, showing in a special engagement in five states from May 2 through the 8th, then scheduled for general release in September.
The five locations are the Phoenix area, Atlanta, Nashville, Jackson, Miss., and Texarkana, Texas. (See www.rumorsofwarsmovie.com.)
Simmons said he and scriptwriter Paul Tomborello knew each other at the same suburban Phoenix high school and Arizona State University, then Tomborello went to California, working five years at the 20th Century Fox film studio.
Simmons and Tomborello got in touch again and started talking. “The genesis of this was…we would talk about story ideas. He wrote a script and sold it. Then we talked about another script, which was Rumors of Wars.”
Tomborello said, “I don’t want to sell this, I want to make it,” Simmons recalls, adding that they talked more and “put together a business plan” — not to establish a production company, but to make one movie. The enterprise expanded from there.
“I love what I’m doing now and I think I’ve found my sweet spot,” said Simmons, who previously worked as a youth minister at Scottsdale, Ariz., Bible Church.
Two different tag lines will be used to promote Rumors of Wars, he said, a religious one — “In the end, we all worship something” — and a secular one, “Society’s end is just the beginning.”
It took about four months to raise funding for the movie, Simmons said, which cost about $1 million by keeping a close eye on expenses, but would have been about $3 million otherwise.
It was shot for 10 days in Grand Rapids, Mich., toward the end of 2012, and nine days in Jackson, Miss., in early 2013, he said. “We just happened to start production…on Election Day, November 6, 2012.”
About 150 people appear on camera including the main cast and extras, Simmons said, and one way the movie economized was by using local crew and cast when possible, but the lead roles’ actors “came from our casting director.”
Sometimes the out-of-towners had to stay in hotels, but expenses were lower because a few donated houses provided living space, too, he said.
Ben Sanchez, who’s handling publicity for the movie’s Bearfruit Productions, told The Wanderer, “All of the best movies aren’t coming out of Hollywood anymore….What I’m seeing is Hollywood gets stuck in the same idea….
“They’re pretty much pillaging the comic books now” with Superman and Spiderman movies, Sanchez added. “Bearfruit is creating new content.”
A movie can work on a low budget and still have a substantial return, Sanchez said on May 1, adding that the recently released, pro-religious God’s Not Dead was made for $2 million but already brought in $40 million.