Film Addresses Question: What Is God?
For his first film as an executive producer, Adam Krentzman, along with filmmaker Peter Rodger, are taking on an ageless question, “what is God?”
The inspiration for their indy documentary Oh My God, Krentzman said, came from the idea that you could have 50 people in a room “and they would all have a different perception of what God is. People fly buildings into planes in the name of God.”
To get answers, Rodger took a camera and set off for two-and-a-half years to interview people in 23 countries. “Does it matter what I believe?” Rodger asks. “Does it matter what you believe? And what is this entity that goes by the name of God, that seems to bring about so much friction, hurt and pain? So I decided to go around the world and ask people what they think.”
“We didn’t set out to make a religious movie,” says Krentzman. “People around the country and world are all kind of the same. They want peace and to live in a nice, quiet, safe environment. Extremists have hijacked religions and they give those religions a bad name—but they are a few and not the masses; generally people are good.”
One scene in the film shows a Muslim fundamentalist in an undisclosed location, interpreting part of the Koran, juxtaposed with the Imam Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at the Islamic Center of Southern California, reading the same passage. “It’s fascinating the way people can interpret the Bible or Koran to serve their purposes.”
The film also features comments from celebrities ranging from Princess Michael of Kent to Seal, Hugh Jackman, David Copperfield, Sir Bob Geldolf and Ringo Starr. “Everyone participated enthusiastically,” Krentzman said. “Though we would have liked to have had the Dali Lama as well.”
Oh My God opened the Jerusalem Film Festival in August to good reviews. Portions of the film address the Israel-Palestine conflict and Jewish and Muslim relations.
With only a $220,000 advertising budget, the film has had limited exposure and screenings (Visit omgmovie.com for information.) “But those who have seen it liked it,” said Krentzman, who attended Loyola Marymount film school and who is on the board of the Telluride Film Festival.
The film was screened this fall at the Wadsworth Theatre with critic Stephen Farber hosting a panel discussion afterward with Rodger, Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstine of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Turk, a priest and an atheist. “It was a great evening,” Krentzman said. “It got heated at times, but people stayed for an hour and a half.” The evening was filmed, to be included in the extras when the DVD is released in February.
Krentzman hopes to do similar evenings in temples, churches, mosques and with other religious groups. “We have a wonderful asset with the film, ultimately it will do quite well, but perhaps not in the traditional theatrical sense,” Krentzman said. “When you’ve made an independent film, with a limited budget, it’s hard to compete with the studios.”
Krentzman spent 18 years at CAA where a lot of what he did was funding independent films, so getting this, his first film since he left the company, made was something he knew about. They sold off the Turkish and Latin American rights and had an equity investor for the remainder.
A product of Beverly Hills, Krentzman attended Beverly Vista and Beverly High. His parents, Sandy and Paul Krentzman have lived in the City for the past 40 years. Paul Krentzman, an attorney, has served on the Parking and Traffic Commission.
“I started at CAA at 26 and it sort of ran it’s course for me,” Krentzman said. “I realized that if I never did anything else I would regret it.”
With this first film done, he has two more in pre-production. One based on a Chinese video game that will have him in Beijing until February, and an action film that will start filming early next year.