A documentary inspired by presiding bishop’s teachings on love due for nationwide theatrical premiere Jan. 23rd- ‘A Case for Love’ grew out of Episcopal filmmaking ministry

BY DAVID PAULSEN- Episcopal News Service

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was one of hundreds of people interviewed about the Christian notion of unselfish love for “A Case for Love,” a documentary premiering Tuesday, Jan. 23. Photos: Grace-Based Films.

A nonprofit movie company led by Episcopalians is about to unveil its biggest project yet. Its feature-length documentary inspired by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s message of unselfish love is headed for a nationwide theatrical release on Jan. 23.

The film is scheduled to appear in at least 1,000 theaters for the one-day initial release, and more dates could be added if large numbers of moviegoers turn out for the premiere. The nonprofit, Gracie Films, hopes to generate interest from streaming services.

The new film is structured as seven chapters featuring 14 individual stories of people from a wide range of backgrounds, whom Ide described as “ordinary people doing ordinary-to-extraordinary things.” The stories cover a wide range of experiences, from racial justice issues and the fight for LGBTQ+ rights to the foster care system and the military.

Between each chapter, the filmmakers include clips from some of their “people on the street” interviews, as well as some well-known public figures in politics, the arts, and religion, such as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, actor Sam Waterston and the Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, canon theologian of Washington National Cathedral and interim president of Episcopal Divinity School.

Though some church leaders are interviewed, the target audience extends beyond churchgoers.

When Cur preached in May 2018 at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, duchess of Sussex, his sermon was viewed by an estimated 2 billion people around the world and generated an immense wave of interest in the presiding bishop’s teachings about Jesus’ way of love, the biblical “agape.” Curry followed up with a two books of sermons.
Robertson added that the timing of the movie’s release at the beginning of a presidential election year, though not by design, has proved fortuitous. “If Bishop Michael’s message of unselfish love was important when he talked about it at the royal wedding, how much more so as we go into what could potentially be such an incredibly divisive year for many?”

Ide said the project talks had been gaining momentum in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He and the rest of the filmmakers turned their focus for the rest of the year to helping their parish, All Saints’, transition to online and hybrid worship offerings.

By early 2021, they were eager to get back to “A Case for Love” and began traveling the country for interviews and to ask hundreds of people what they thought about the power of unselfish love. We will share the theater information where the movie will be shown when it is available.

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