The Shift | FULL Interview with Writer and Director Brock Heasley | 170 – Comm Talk by Geek Devotions
Science Fiction and Faith. Two worlds that don’t tend to have a friendly crossover in cinema very often. But what if someone were to make a Faith-based Sci-fi film? What would that look like? Writer and Director Brock Heasley thinks it looks like Angel Studio’s newest film, “The Shift.” What is “The Shift?” According to their official description:
In The Shift, a dystopian drama and sci-fi thriller, one man is faced with infinite worlds and impossible choices. When Kevin Garner meets a nefarious adversary known as The Benefactor and refuses his offer of wealth and power, he must escape an alternate totalitarian reality. With survival on the line, Kevin fights to make it back to the world he knows and the woman he loves.
Dystopian sci-fi thriller drama certainly hits all the suitable markers for a film, but as I said, this doesn’t usually take place within a Christian worldview. When asked about what instigated the creation of the film, Brock said,
“Well, I’ve always been a lover of sci-fi…, but I’ve always wondered, like, why is it all these great stories that I love, all this sci-fi that I love, Star Wars, Star Trek, you know, Inception, Interstellar…my favorite movie of all time is Gattaca. Why do these things not acknowledge God that much? Why do they usually take place in a universe in which God does not exist in which people don’t really have that kind of a faith? And not to say that they all are that way.
They’re not all agnostic, but a lot of them are the majority of them are. Usually, there’s an offense taken with sci-fi and religion collide… I’m really starved for something that appeals to me on an entertainment level, the sci-fi that I love but that also speaks to my faith and my spirituality. And so combining the two really just came from the idea of I’m going to tell stories. I want to tell stories that are important to me. I’m gonna tell the stories that I want to see that I’m not seeing.”
Telling fictional stories with a faith backdrop can be tricky. Some take issue with potential theological implications by taking storytelling too far. Brock points to creative storytelling’s power when asked how he balances faith and storytelling. Using the example of Star Trek’s ability to tackle social issues that both conservative and liberal viewers are passionate about, he notes that by using sci-fi, you can lay out truths in a way that people can easily digest and open dialog about. He notes, however, that there will always be people who can’t separate the idea of using creative storytelling to illustrate spiritual principles.
But what principles are being presented through “The Shift?” Brock tells us that the movie is loosely based on the book of Job, a book about a Man who was faithful to God, yet God allowed Satan to turn his life upside down and his faith be tested. When asked why he chose this as his backdrop, Brock reflects on how he sat down to write the script. He wanted to do something that no one else had done, but amid that process, he realized that it was something he genuinely connected with. His own journey with God partially inspired some of this film. He has gone through a season where, like Job and the movie’s protagonist, he did not see God moving and did not truly understand the hardship he was going through.
Diving into the conversation about Job, Brock says, “Nobody’s really ever passed through anything like what Job passed through. But as believers, we always. We also pass through trials. Just because we believe doesn’t mean everything’s great. And that’s what Job, to me, is trying to say. It’s saying that ‘Look just because you believe. Just because you’ve achieved this faith doesn’t mean that God has done with you. It Doesn’t mean that the devil’s done with you. There is still more to learn, and there’s still more growing to do. And there’s still more understanding to have; there’s still more Empathy to achieve trial brings empathy…”
So, who is this film for? This film is for all who love sci-fi, action, and romance, be it those who are believers in Jesus or not. Not just that, but Brock tells us, “We’re finding that that women are excited about this film. Men are excited about this film. Young men are excited about this film. Everybody is able to come to it, and they’re seeing something that they are really intrigued by. And the testing we’ve done proves that out.”
So, is this a film for you? Tickets are currently on sale at many local theaters. Angel Studios has streamlined the process for moviegoers by providing a website that helps you find the film nearby. On top of that, if a local theater is not showing “The Shift.” They provide a way for you to request it for your local area. Click the following link to visit that website: www.angel.com/theshift
Check out the full length conversation between Dallas and Brock where they dive deeper into the conversation about the film and how faith plays into Brock’s writting process and life.