Televangelists Threaten Controversial New Film 'Canaan Land' That Exposes Charismatic Movement's 'Frauds'
Contact: Mordecai Graham for Richard Rossi Productions, 818-769-7627
HOLLYWOOD, March 3, 2016 /Christian Newswire
/ -- 'Canaan Land,' a feature dramatic film telling a contemporary story of an Elmer Gantryish evangelist, is in preproduction. Written and directed by former healing evangelist Richard Rossi, the film contrasts fake healers with the true article, resulting in backlash from televangelists.
Rossi plays a con man preacher who falls in love with a female evangelist, Sister Sara. Pop star Katy Perry and actress Megan Fox, both raised Pentecostal, are rumored to be vying for the part, along with thousands of unknowns.
"The production office received messages to stop the film from going forward from big names in Pentecostal televangelism, because Rossi's film reveals tricks preachers have used to fool audiences. But for every negative message, we receive a hundred positive from people who see Rossi doing what Jesus did when he cleansed the Temple. The film isn't a remake of the 1960 film 'Elmer Gantry.' It's a new story based on Rossi's experiences," Linda Rivas, a production assistant said.
Rossi's film on female evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson won Motion Picture Council Awards, and was Academy Award considered. His recent biopic on baseball icon Roberto Clemente was praised by Pope Francis and catalyzed a campaign to consider Clemente's canonization as reported in the LA Times, Washington Post, Religion News, and Huffington Post.
Rossi wouldn't say who's upset over the film, but the GoFundMe site for the film posted a picture of healer Benny Hinn with a quote in which Hinn promises healing for money. "If you come back and make that financial pledge, God will heal your heart tonight," Hinn said.
"Hinn's statement is so manipulative I must take a stand," Rossi said. He removed the Hinn quote because he wants the focus to be on the "positive message of the film."
Followers of Hinn threatened Rossi that God would smite him with sickness. "They appear to take a cue from Hinn who said those that oppose him would be shot with a "Holy Ghost machine gun," producer Dave Taschner said.
"My film is fiction and will change names," Rossi said. "There's a redemptive ending, in which even the narcissistic evangelist running the con is confronted by unconditional love. God loves those who start out with pure hearts and get seduced by money, power, and fame. He wants them to come back to their first love."
Official Facebook: www.facebook.com/CanaanLandMovie