So Maybe I'm Controversial After All
And since I sensed it might be controversial, I was almost disappointed that it wasn't. Most people took it as intended or just found it funny.
But today, someone was finally offended enough to do something about it.
I have been working with a distributor in the midwest on a small theatrical distribution for the film. I had intended to keep this quiet until I had all the details worked out. But I had a conversation with the distributor today during which he explained that he wasn't going to be able to release the film in the theatres that he deals with because of the title and the poster art -- specifically, the word "messiah" in the title and the images of Christ on the poster.
I was taken by surprise, only because the film hasn't inspired much controversy thus far. But this is a case of perception trumping reality -- it's not the content of the film that offends (apparently), but the fear that people who see the poster and hear the title will believe something about the film that isn't true.
Thus, if I want to see it get a theatrical release, I must change the title and the poster design. To end any speculation: I've decided to do just that, simply because I'd like to see the film released, and I don't feel that I'm compromising any principles. I'm not having to change the content or intent of the film, just the perceptions and concerns created by the title.
And, in any case, I suppose it's better to be controversial.
I'm also choosing to view this is as a positive. It's a chance to rethink something that's already been completed. I have lately had some misgivings about the title (I always wished I'd chosen to call it "Local Messiah" as I think that would have intrigued people more, and audiences always react positively when Brian calls himself a local messiah). But I can't use the word "messiah" at all now.
So, if you have any title suggestions (or poster design suggestions, for that matter), leave them in the comments below. And I'll share the new title choice and poster design when we have it complete...