For the past nine years, Eli Daughdrill has been Chair of the Visual & Media Arts Department at Long Beach City College. For the entirety of that time, he has also been working on a film influenced by a childhood spent in Central California as an evangelical Christian.
The result is “Faith,” which premiere’s Friday, Nov. 27 across a number of streaming platforms including Amazon Prime. Though its name may suggest otherwise, “Faith” is not a faith-based film offering comfort and answers rather, in just about the quietest way imaginable, it asks a lot of uncomfortable questions of the viewer. Questions that not only explore the nature of belief but of human being’s need for meaning and how that search is sometimes helped, sometimes hindered by the communities and people we choose, or who place themselves in our lives.
What makes “Faith” a remarkable achievement is that it manages to do all this while avoiding practically every trope or trick of Hollywood and Independent filmmaking: no villains, no big speeches, no “it was then that I knew …” Observed and patient, “Faith” is as much meditation as movie.
We spoke to Daughdrill about how he created it, how he protected the actors he sometimes asked to go to uncomfortable depths and how he somehow stretched $200,000 to make it all work.
And “Faith” works.