You Had Me at Hello: Guest post from Directors’ Cut Host Charles Monroe-Kane
May 25, 2011 Leave a Comment
I recently had the honor of interviewing legendary documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (which will air later this season on Director’s Cut, so stay tuned!). I asked him why he continues to make documentaries. With all his skills why doesn’t he make fiction? Errol Morris replied, “As long as I think there’s something to explore in documentary film making, that I can reinvent. That’s really why I love documentary. It’s a form of film making that can be reinvented every time you have an opportunity to make one. You don’t have to do the same thing again and again and again.”
Well, those wise words from arguably the greatest documentary filmmaker alive today were taken to heart by our next filmmaker on Director’s Cut. With a title like Wrestling for Jesus: The Tale of T-Money you know you’re in store for a documentary film gems.
Wrestling for Jesus: The Tale of T-Money is the directorial debut of Madison native Nathan Clarke. Now, if a documentary called Wrestling for Jesus: The Tale of T-Money isn’t enough for you (it was for me) here’s a direct cut-and-paste from the film’s website:
“A man from rural South Carolina tries to find solace from the demons of his past by starting a Christian professional wrestling league. His goal is to use wrestling to evangelize his neighbors. However his passion and vision for his ministry are tested when his personal life begins to disintegrate.”
Hook, line and sinker, right? First, it is a film about a Christian professional wrestling league. Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen a film about Christian professional wrestling league… that’s what I thought. Next, what about those “demons of his past?” And costumes, right? I mean, this is professional wrestling. And what do they mean by evangelize? Will I see folks getting saved by Jesus around a wrestling mat? (by the way, the answer is “yes”). His life “begins to disintegrate.” How is that played out? What happens?
The film’s title, Wrestling for Jesus: The Tale of T-Money, has that you-had-me-at-hello quality. But what keeps you until good bye? Back to Errol Morris:
It’s all about the pursuit of the story and thinking about how to tell a story and to make a story come alive. It is all about storytelling.
Now we’re talking. And listening. And watching. And engaging in the story of another. The sexy film title, the evangelism, the professional wrestling nickname… are only window dressing without the storytelling. Wrestling for Jesus: The Tale of T-Money is the powerful story of the trials and tribulations of a man from rural South Caroline who happens to wrestle for Jesus. His name is Timothy Blackmon. And in his story — if we’re paying attention — we just may find ourselves.
Watch the trailer for Wrestling for Jesus: The Tale of T-Money below.