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"R" rating from MPAA disappoints Ozarks cast and crews of faith-based movie

The cast and crew of "Broken Faith" are concerned there's a larger issue of discrimination against religious films.

September 16, 2013|Joanna Small | Reporter

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The people behind a locally-produced and -cast film hope you'll look beyond the letter.  They say "Broken Faith" shouldn't be rated "R," especially because it's a religious movie.

The cast and crew of "Broken Faith" are concerned this is an industry-wide issue: discrimination against religious films.  Last week, another Christian movie, "My Son," made news with what it calls its undeserved R rating, and now "My Son" has company.

Shot mostly in the Ozarks but set in backwoods Mississippi, "Broken Faith" is about a broken man and war veteran, Dan Zebrowski, who drinks away his bad memories and loses touch with God and his daughter.

"She becomes a witness in a crime and the bad, crooked ATF guys are after her, and he essentially kidnaps her, brings her back to health and rekindles that father-daughter relationship and rekindles his relationship with God," said local producer Sarah Kessinger.
 
Kessinger and local actor Rodney Wiseman say their movie has a message that they'll ensure their own kids hear loud and clear.

"I would show them this film," Kessinger said of her 12- and 13-year-old stepchildren.

"I would show my son when he's of age," said Wiseman.

They're worried most kids won't be as lucky.

"Now a lot of churches, a lot of families, once they see the R rating, they don't even look any further," Kessinger said.

The cast and crew say they don't meet nearly enough of the Motion Picture Assocation of America's criteria to be rated R.  For example, they admit there are some adult themes and even some persistent violence but certainly no nudity, nothing sexually oriented, and no bad language.

"Yes, there's violence but we shot the violence in a way that when someone gets shot blood's not squirting out or there are a lot of ways he tries to be non-lethal in his means so we were really anticipating a PG-13," Kessinger said.

The MPAA doesn't have an appeals process but Kessinger's and Wiseman's faith are strong that Dan Zebrowski's story won't be broken by a letter.

"It's a story that needs to be told.  There's so many of those vets out there right now living that same life," Kessinger said.
 
"Broken Faith" will premier at the Ozark B & B theater on Friday, Sept. 27, but the cast and crew hope to get the movie shown elsewhere, even in churches.

Kessinger is working with many of the same actors and the same Springfield production studio, A102, to release another faith-based and family-oriented film called "Surrender."  They're looking at a December premier date, but it hasn't been rated yet and now Kessinger says they're nervous.

For more information on "Broken Faith," visit the movie's Facebook page.

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For a link to the Motion Picture Association of America's rating system, click here.

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