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Jesus Camp

Documentary short list: A look at the films vying for a nom in Oscar's docu feature category

Country: United States

Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady

Topic: A group of evangelical Christian children are sent to a summer camp in North Dakota, where they’re taught to join “God’s army.” They learn about abortion, devil worship, the power of preaching and repenting their sins.

Financing: A&E Indie Films (it’s the first pic from the new TV-based unit)

Budget: Under $1 million

Shooting format: 24p video, all natural light

Why it stands out: Startling look at how — spurred by perceived threats from Islamic fundamentalism and cultural permissiveness — certain evangelical Christian leaders are girding their children to become a right-wing political force of the future.

Memorable scene: Children’s pastor Becky Fisher tells the kids that fictional character Harry Potter practices witchcraft and that, had he lived during the times of the Old Testament, he would have been put to death. “We don’t make heroes out of warlocks,” she says to the hushed campers. The films and books, according to Fisher, are part of the devil’s work and not “the real supernatural” work of God.

Distribution status: Distributed by Magnolia Pictures, the pic was released Sept. 15. It will be available on DVD Jan. 23. It had taken in more than $805,000 through November.

On the making of the film: “Both Heidi and I have worked on projects that focused on religion, and we were interested in exploring the questions of where does someone’s faith come from,” Grady says. “We thought exploring religion or faith through a child would allow us to go on an interesting journey. What seems so exotic and unusual in our film happens all the time worldwide.”