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.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more