All Saints

Submitting to film festivals

Director and Editor

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“All Saints: The Journey of Orthodoxy in Bloomington, Indiana” a 90-minute documentary written and directed by Chris M. Johnston.

Synopsis: A small community of Greeks, Russians, Syrians, Lebanese, Yugoslavians, Romanians and others are drawn together by one doctrine.

Trailer:

The documentary is being submitted into film festivals right now.  Keep in touch by liking us on Facebook and submitting your email for updates below:

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How we got here:
June 2019, after filming Class Action Park in the New York and New Jersey areas I had a couple of days layover until I needed to be in Minneapolis, Minnesota for a corporate project. I drove the production van to meet up with my high school buddy, now the Very Rev. Father Peter Jon Gillquist in Bloomington, Indiana. During our various conversations Fr. Peter had mentioned his bishop would love to find a way to document the history of his parish. I suggested a short 10 or so minute video. And a couple of weeks later All Saints Church Council were in agreement and the filming of a handful of interviews were scheduled for October 2019.

I brought on Rob Senska (portfolio | company) on as my director of cinematography. He has a fantastic eye for film and he’s a producer as well. We completed all the primary filming in Bloomington in four days. Driving Rob back to the Indianapolis airport, we realized we had filmed way more than we would use for this short video.

Back home in post-production, I dove into the discussions and I realized there was no way to tell this 40-year journey in ten to fifteen minutes. After months of prayer and thought, I came to the realization that this video would have to be a feature length documentary. The problem with this idea was there was little research and vetting done.

Documentary ideas pop-up everywhere. A producer/director will go through months of research identifying timelines, stories, and facts. Then start conversations with potential people, witnesses, subject matter experts, etc. This is a process to reveal if the project is worthy. Is the story compelling? Is there an audience? Can I execute the story? And… Can we sell it? We’ll spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and we need to know it will have a return.

I’m kind of known as the fix-it-in-post guy. If saving projects were in the Olympics, I would have at least ten Gold Medals by now. I’m used to it. In my mind, it’s more of a challenge then a problem to overcome. So, I started to whittle through 20+ hours of interviews. And found my first cut of the documentary just shy of 3 hours.

One of the parish members we interviewed became my co-producer, Amal Hanania. Amal’s parents George and Edith were part of the founding families of All Saints. Amal kept all the newsletters and photos that were taken throughout the years. She was instrumental in navigating timelines and connecting names to faces. Another surprise was illustrator, Max Pitchkites (portfolio). Max approached me after I filmed Vespers and we quickly connected. He designed the font and logo used for the All Saints Documentary. He has a bright future. And I can not say enough good things for all the archivists I worked with in the state of Indiana and Bloomington. Everyone took on my mission as their own and surprised me with something new on every email or phone call. It was so refreshing!

And with tremendous gratitude for all of the members, church council of All Saints and V. Rev. Fr. Peter and Kh. Kristina, I thank you all for you allowing me to tell your story and being a part of your family. And your patience, it took 4 years!

 

Learn more about All Saints Orthodox Church in Bloomington