Gazowsky aims sci-fi Joseph story
“Maybe I’m just crazy,” says Richard Gazowsky, a Pentecostal pastor and showbiz convert who received a vision from God 12 years ago instructing him to start a film company, “but this is something I am not giving up.”It’s been a rocky road for Gazowsky’s San Francisco-based WYSIWYG Filmworks (pronounced “wiz-ee-wig,” which means “what you see is what you get”), as recorded in Michael Jacobs’ behind-the-scenes docu “Audience of One.” Gazowsky is an unlikely candidate to become a director. He grew up without a TV and was 40 years old before he saw his first movie on the bigscreen. After directing two low-budget features, Gazowsky realized, “If Christian films are ever going to make a dent in the Hollywood market, we’re going to have to come out with something fresh that you’ve never seen before.” So he hatched “Gravity: The Shadow of Joseph,” an ambitious sci-fi epic conceived as “‘Star Wars’ meets ‘The Ten Commandments'” to be shot on 65mm in Italy with no stars and an unexperienced crew. A European investor expressed interest in financing “Gravity,” but the deal fell through. After five days, production stalled, and Gazowsky’s $50 million-$200 million budget has yet to materialize. According to Jacobs, the pricetag was more of a statement than anything: “There’s no way he would be able to spend that money.” As for Gazowsky, the question remains, “Is he a charlatan, is he a leader, is he a con man, is he really a prophet? I don’t know,” Jacobs says. With 29 volunteer employees and a film festival to run, WYSIWYG soldiers on. “A lot of the time they’re just sitting around the church listening to Christian rock and waiting for the next miracle,” Jacobs adds.