Christian Film Gets Raw, Wins with Teens

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Sleeper “To Save a Life” earns its PG-13 rating and gets raves from teens for authenticity

Christian-themed film “To Save a Life” has taken on a life of its own, earning $3 million on just 441 screens nationwide since opening January 22. The film’s success is due in part to its authentic and sometimes raw portrayal of teenage life, according to actor Joshua Weigel, who plays Youth Pastor Chris Vaughn in the film. Weigel, an award-winning director in his own right, credits co-producers New Song Pictures and Outreach, Inc., for raising the bar in an industry that typically avoids depicting immorality in any form.

“They took a risk,” says Weigel, referring to the film’s overt portrayal of violence, suicide, and unplanned pregnancy, “and are connecting with a generation of teens who deal with these issues every day. There’s been an out-pouring of response.” In its first two weeks, “To Save a Life” was the highest rated movie in the country by fans on movie sites Flixster and Fandango.

Throughout his career, Weigel has gravitated toward projects that affect the world in a positive way, though his approach to directing is subtler than that of “To Save a Life.” Wiegel’s directing credits include Doorpost Film Project award winner “The Butterfly Circus” and 2009 finalist “Liv,” also about suicide and redemption, and short films “Snare” and "Stained,” which collectively won ten awards including Best Film at the 2007 and 2008 168-Hour Film Festivals.

“As Christian filmmakers’ commitment to technical excellence grows, so will the success of Christian movies,” says Weigel. “The purpose of filmmaking needs to be, first, to make great movies, to entertain people.”

“I want to make sure people enjoy the movie, and then hopefully there will be something they can take away from it that will affect their lives in a real way,” says Weigel. “Everybody has a message of some kind. I think you have to handle that carefully. It takes subtlety and understanding the art of filmmaking.”

View trailers for “To Save a Life” and learn more about Joshua Weigel at

About Joshua Weigel
Joshua Weigel is an award-winning film director and writer whose directorial debut “Snare” won multiple awards at the 168-Hour Film Festival in 2007. Weigel went on to co-write and direct Doorpost Film Project award winner “The Butterfly Circus” and finalist “Liv,” as well as “Stained,” winner of eight 168-Hour Film Festival awards, including Best Film and Best Screenplay. Weigel began his career as a Production Assistant and quickly advanced to the position of Art Director on national commercials, including three Super Bowl spots, one earning "Best Super Bowl Commercial of 2006." Weigel is also an actor and plays a lead role in the feature film "To Save a Life," released in theaters nationwide January 2010. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children while he continues his career in filmmaking. To find out more about Joshua Weigel, please visit

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