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New Roads to Follow for Tim Ritter PDF Print E-mail
Written by Written by Joe Sherlock   
Aug 13, 2005 at 02:00 AM

DG: Can you tell us in a nutshell what RECONCILED THROUGH THE CHRIST is about?

Tim: The story follows Franklin (played by Ron A. Blair), who decides on a whim to kill his estranged wife. But on this 'road trip to destruction', as I like to call it, he picks up a hitchhiker (Prof. Tread), who gives him an incredible amount of resistance and a way out of his predicament if Franklin will only take it. RECONCILED THROUGH THE CHRIST is essentially a road movie where these two characters spar back and forth with a war of words...which rapidly turns into physical and then supernatural confrontations...

Cult director Tim Ritter is known for indie slashers like CREEP and WICKED GAMES, but his latest effort is a departure from that realm. Tim took a few moments to speak to DARK GALLERY.

DG: As evidenced by your commentary track the movie is both a typical Tim Ritter movie and a departure for you. Can you elaborate?

Tim: Well, RECONCILED THROUGH THE CHRIST starts out very much like my older traditional horror movies. We have the rather psychotic husband out for revenge and for the first twenty minutes or so it's almost like a 'Truth Or Dare' movie...but right when you think it's going to turn into a bloodbath, it's sort of interrupted and becomes something else. And after about fifteen minutes of that, it kind of becomes a horror movie again and then a supernatural piece and at last, a psychological drama of sorts! So this movie is all over the board and by the end of it, the viewer has been taken on a wild ride of darkness which finally leads to light...and hopefully people have been entertained along the way!

DG: You explain it quite well in your commentary, but the movie is a result of your research into religion and faith after a death in the family as well as 9-11. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Tim: Sure, simply put, RECONCILED THROUGH THE CHRIST is a statement of my own renewed faith in Christ. With each movie I've made, there's always been a little spin on things with what I was going through at the time or observing in life around me, this movie is just much more internal and personal than the others in terms of content. In a way, lead character Frankie's journey mirrors my own journey away from the truth and then back to it. Obviously, 'Reconciled' is fictional and entertaining, but the parallels are there. I think 9/11 and personal tragedy woke me up to the reality that none of us live forever on this earth and it really made me question a lot of personal beliefs. I had never lost faith that God was there, my problem was that I had creatively 'invented' my own version of God who was pretty much tolerant and accepting of everything I did...which is not the God of the Bible. So after reading the Bible and asking for help from God (through prayer) with simple understanding...the truth became so clear to me again in the essence of Christ that I simply had to make a movie about this revelation! Of course, none of this happened overnight---this was over a three year period or more...

DG: The digital effects in the movie are ambitious - a fire-breathing dragon, fire effects, etc. Tell us how you came to work with Todd Ponsler on that.

Tim: I came to know Todd through cyberspace and his web site, Thrae.com, which is all about low budget moviemaking. Todd's a very cool and ambitious artist himself, a writer and moviemaker, and he just happened to be getting into the CGI aspect of things when I was working on the story for RECONCILED THROUGH THE CHRIST. He sent me samples of things he was doing, like the dragon...some fire gags..and a few other things. I was blown away by the quality of what he had done, so I asked Todd if he'd be willing to collaborate with me on 'Reconciled.' He agreed and I immediately wrote all the things he was already tinkering with into the script...adding a few things to boot, such as the 'bug man' gag and the 'river of blood.' It was an exciting process, I had always wanted to try a movie with CGI stuff in it, I am a big fan of J.R. Bookwalter's 'Ozone', which was one of the first movies at this level to use CGI morph programs and such...and I saw 'Reconciled' as an opportunity to do something with this very current, cutting edge technology. We tried not to overdo it, to use the CGI to help tell the story as opposed to taking away from it...and I think for the most part, we succeeded. Todd delivered way beyond what I expected, I was blown away by his talent and enthusiasm. Same goes for the music as well...Nathaniel Scott turned in just an incredible score that really enhances the story and special effects... 'Reconciled' came out closer to exactly what I envisioned when writing it more than any other movie I've made to date because of these things, and that in itself blew me away...

DG: I assume you've gotten a wide spectrum of responses to the movie thus far?

Tim: Response has been suprisingly good so far! I have been floored that some heavy duty reviewers have been very supportive and understanding of the work, and even emotionally moved by the movie, even if they do not agree 100% with my beliefs. I really didn't expect that, but I think a lot of viewers are very tired of the same old same old that is happening in the movie scene these days...seems it's all zombies, serial killers, vampires, remakes and sequels being recycled over and over again. It just gets very boring, to me anyway, if the moviemaker doesn't offer something new. So with this movie I simply added my own faith dilemma into the mix and it really put kind of a fresh coat of wax onto the themes and issues I have always worked with, and I think this is something more moviemakers should do, put their own heart and soul into the story. Don't just carbon copy what inspires you, put your own spin on it, especially if you're doing something with your own money. Sometimes difficult to do, I know, but it can be done! Obviously, not everyone has liked the movie, though, and I've been called 'narrow-minded' by some and attacked by others who don't agree with my faith. And some people have been so completely alienated by the movie, they won't even speak to me now! Which I find strange, because again, 'Reconciled' is simply a statement of my own faith and I am not trying to force anyone to believe the way I do, although I do recommend that honest, open-minded seekers consider my journey and look into things for themselves by reading the Bible and some of the commentaries on it that I have read. Probably the most positive responses have come from people who e-mail my website after renting RECONCILED THROUGH THE CHRIST from Netflix.com and Blockbustervideo.com---again, I am very happy that so many people seem to be getting so much out of the movie. 'Reconciled' seems to have quickly generated the most responses from viewers out of all the movies I've made! While comments about my older movies still trickle in, it's 'Reconciled' that seems to be hitting home with people and I am pleasantly surprised by that. People are taking time out to write me very long e-mails about their own experiences and beliefs, so that has been extremely rewarding.

DG: There are a couple of projects I've seen your name attached to: The Woods Are Alive and I Am Vengeance. What's the status on those?

Tim: I know 'Vengeance' has finished shooting and director Richard Anasky is deep in postproduction on the flick. He's been working on the movie for several years now, so I'm not sure when the actual release will happen. I know Anasky wants to get it as perfect as possible, and it's a very time-consuming process! 'Woods' was a spec script I wrote for director Robert (Realms of Blood) Massetti and I know he's still showing it around, trying to raise funds to shoot it. Problem is, the whole 'maniacs in the woods attacking city slickers' thing has been so overdone...I do think we have some good new twists in that script and it could be very tense and unique with Robert's directing abilities, but I don't know if it's enough to separate it from so many similarly themed movies which continue to come out, especially from a marketing standpoint! I am still very enthusiastic about both of these projects, though.

DG: Anything else you have in the works, movies, books or anything else folks might be interested in?

Tim: Well, just about all the old Twisted Illusions Entertainment movies are out on DVD now, even the original 1985 'Twisted Illusions' will see release on a sell-through label late this summer (2005), so it's exciting to see all that stuff finally out there. Beyond that, I'm simply working on promoting 'Reconciled' all over the place for the rest of the year, and then in 2006 I'll probably start some sort of new project. I'm not sure exactly what, though, and I do plan to take some time off in between 'Reconciled' and whatever is next...

DG: Having been through a couple of decades' worth of movie-making, what do you see as the biggest challenge to an aspiring moviemaker today?

Tim: Well, like I said earlier, there seems to be a real lack of originality in the movie business at large these days. Everything seems like a copy of an imitation, so doing something truly original seems to be a big challenge for us all. Getting the basic tools to make a movie seems to be easier than ever---everyone can afford a camera now and hook up a computer for editing, that's no longer the challenge it used to be. It's doing something worthwhile that is a challenge...and then getting it out into the market. And that's a double-edged sword, because the market is so oversaturated with movies big and small that it's incredible...and if you do something different and original, chances are it either won't get released or it will go unnoticed because the pipeline at large seems to want the same old thing for marketing reasons...hence all the sequels, remakes, and movies that offer nothing new. It's a really tough marketplace for the artist...it's almost like it's a no-win situation, but we have to stay strong, do our best, and keep our visions in focus when possible!

DG: Any parting words?

Tim: No, other than I wish to sincerely thank Ron Bonk of SRS Cinema for taking the chance on releasing such a 'different' movie like RECONCILED THROUGH THE CHRIST and I am really grateful that we finished the movie and we got it out there for people to find. I also wish to thank anyone who has rented or purchased 'Reconciled', my deepest appreciation is there for the continued support. Who knows what the future will bring! And to each and every person who collaborated with me on making 'Reconciled' a reality, thank you as well---I couldn't have done it without you...

DG: Thanks, Tim. Keep up with Tim at www.timritter.com.

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