Jesus Christ is many things to many people, a savior, a superstar, one third of a trifecta of holiness. For Charlie Christmas, Jesus is the inspiration and trainer for his alter ego: a costumed vigilante.
Christmas is a crime fighter that roams the streets of Shawnee with a baseball bat and a hockey mask. He is also the title character in “The Unusual (Calling of) Charlie Christmas,” a feature film that has a one time screening at 7 p.m. this Saturday at the Jones Theatres Cinema Center 8.
The movie was made by Outsiders Productions, a production company comprised of four friends from the Shawnee area. Adam Hampton wrote, directed and edited the movie. Chad Mathews is the technical director, Jason Alexander is the director of photography and co-editor, while Kenny Pitts is producer and lead actor.
“We all do a lot,” Alexander said. “We all take credit for our main roles but we all do so much more. It’s definitely a major group effort to complete a project. Especially a project the size and scale of this film.”
The movie was shot off and on over the course of four years because Outsiders is an independent production company that works around full time jobs, family and life in general, Mathews said. Everyone, including the actors, worked on the film for free.
“A four year span, I mean you’ve got divorces and marriages and babies and all sorts of things that go on,” Mathews said.
“When you have a situation where you’re basically filming on the weekends and devoting a pretty good amount of your time. This is not a paying gig so on some level it requires some pretty hardcore dedication.”
Like its protagonist, the movie adheres to high standards, and the film features quality on par with any movie out there.
Outsiders held a private screening for friends and family in Shawnee last year, the same night a 5.6 magnitude earthquake hit the area, right at the movie’s emotional climax. “It was crazy. It happened at a time that it almost blended in with the score,” Pitts said.
Natural disasters and other technical difficulties haven’t stopped the movie from making its way to larger audiences.
Since its private screening, the movie has been accepted into five film festivals, including some out of state, and it has won two awards.
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Although Outsiders Productions are working on their next project, which they plan to start casting for in December and shooting after the New Year, they still have other plans for Charlie, including a comic book with the story and art all done by Hampton.
Outsiders also has a short film featuring Charlie, called “Charlie Christmas: Corndogs and Justice.” Meanwhile, the full-length has been accepted into two more film festivals.
The guys at Outsiders said they could not have made the movie with the help of business and property owners in Shawnee and McLoud, as well as city officials and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
“We like to shoot here because it’s our hometown,” Pitts said. “It’s the town we know. Shawnee was so grateful … and welcoming that we mostly shot it here.”
Tickets have been on sale since Nov. 2, and, although selling quickly, there are still some available for purchase at the theater.
Find out more about Charlie Christmas and Outsiders Productions a http://www.charliechristmas.