Grace

When a pastor’s son discovers that his father’s religious movement has become a dangerous and seductive cult of personality, he must shatter the only world he’s ever known to escape his father’s shadow.

The story follows Lucas Walker, an ambitious teenage boy born into his father’s alternative religious movement called “Grace.” Lucas is in charge of recruiting young men into his father’s flock but, when a rite of initiation goes terribly wrong for his newest recruit, Lucas struggles to untangle himself from his father’s cult of personality and forge his own identity.

Director’s Vision

When we’re growing up, our parents are our whole world. The sun rises and sets with them, until one day we realize that they’re fallible. All of the sudden, we start to see them as people with their own flaws and foibles. With GRACE, we set out to capture the feeling of that moment. We wanted to tell a thrilling and twisted coming-of-age story about a son’s discovery that his father is not a god.

This story is set in the world of hipster megachurches and preachers with sneakers. This is an evangelical culture of the millennial faithful that mixes social media savvy with Bronze Age religious traditions. While these churches may present a youthful face, their progressive veneer masks a patriarchal culture that evangelizes fundamentalist beliefs. There’s no amount of streetwear that can cover up what’s often going on behind the scenes: a culture of abuse, sex scandals, gay conversion therapy, tax evasion, predatory tithing, the list goes on.

Within this world, we wanted to tell the story of a young man facing a life-changing decision between community, family, and self-dependence while trying to escape his father’s shadow. The question that this film asks, most simply, is: Are we destined to become our parents? That’s a question we all struggle with and we’ll spend our lives grappling with the consequences.