Liberty’s Cinematic Arts Dept. Addresses the “Trump Prophecies” Film
It was officially announced Jan. 26 that the Liberty University Cinematic Arts department would be working on a feature film getting national theatrical release.
“Commander” comes after the program’s first feature film “Extraordinary,” and a series of short films. “Commander” is an adaptation of the book “The Trump Prophecies.”
The film, which is slated to be released in October, is the true story of an ex-firefighter named Mark Taylor who in 2011, while recovering from PTSD, had a vision that Donald Trump would be President.
Executive Director of the Cinematic Arts program and producer/director of the film Stephan Schultze said that the experience provided to students through this project is invaluable.
“There is no other film school in the country that makes feature films with their students,” Schultze said. “Not only do we make movies, but this’ll be the second movie we’ve had a national theatrical release, which is very hard to do.”
The message the film’s producer and financier Rick Eldridge wants to get across is how there is power in prayer and the impact it can have on a group of people mixed with patriotism.
“I really want it to be a patriotic, a God and country message that we can understand,” Eldridge said. “The best thing I can take away is when people leave the theater they are really feeling proud about their country and the things God has blessed us with.”
With the announcement of the film, some have questioned the religious messages in the film, and it is considered heretical to those who do not believe Taylor was divinely inspired. A Liberty student started a petition that circulated online to have the cinematic department change its film project.
“Our students were very appreciative of the opportunity to work on a feature film while in school,” Schultze said. “They know the training they are getting through this experience gives them the preparation necessary to be successful when they enter the work place. I was able to meet with a couple students that looked for an alternative, but at the end of the day they knew the opportunity benefit was too much to pass up.”
Eldridge, who has produced a number of faith-based films like “The Ultimate Gift” and “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius,” said he had to find the redemptive and Christ-focused factor of the film before production began.
“I’ve gotten quite a few faith-friendly movies, but movies that were really more mainstream in their messaging,” Eldridge said. “All of my stories have a very strong message of faith and redemption and cater more to a general audience, so I had some struggles with this one finding out where I wanted to go with the story and actually make it work.”
Schultze said Liberty students will learn how to handle their faith while on the set of “Commander.”
“Every moment of every day that we work filmmaking is a part of our walk with Christ,” Schultze said. “It’s not something that’s an end product at the end of the day. It’s the effect and the influence we have with the person standing next to us in our employment. So this will give students … an idea of what life will be like when you actually go into the real world and work and have to maintain an appropriate response to concerns that you have in terms of your walk with Christ.”
The makers of this film believe the election of Trump will bring healing to America, grounding it in 2 Chronicles 7:14, which says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Schultze said he looks forward to seeing the work the students put forward on the project.
“I’m fortunate to be able to run a department that has very dedicated staff and faculty to the students,” Schultze said. “We work long hours, well into the evening very often. We’re very supportive of these students, long after they’ve graduated because we want to make a difference in culture and in their lives. And I think that I’m very happy and pleased and appreciate the culture we’ve created here in the Cinematic Arts Department through everybody’s work.”