Home 'Machine Gun Preacher' premieres in Richland Township
Family and friends of the Rev. Sam Childers were treated to special pre-premiere previews of “Machine Gun Preacher” at Richland Cinemas in Richland Township on Thursday.
The film stars Gerard Butler, of “300” fame, as the Reels Corner reverend who has worked for approximately a decade to provide a safe haven for war orphans in the divided African Sudan. Thursday’s special showing preceded the movie trailer, which is scheduled to premier today, and its general release, which is slated for Sept. 23.
“This doesn’t happen too often,” Richland Cinemas owner Ed Troll said of hosting the exclusive preview. “‘Slap Shot’ was the last time.”
This movie, however, is more buckshot than “Slap Shot.” More than two hours long, “Machine Gun Preacher” is the intense tale of a self-proclaimed “Pennsylvania hillbilly” whose single step in the right direction sparks an unlikely personal crusade for the enslaved children of the Sudan.
“It’s a movie that lingers,” said Childers’ family friend Jamie Soderlund, who is working with his nonprofit Angels of East Africa. “It gets under your skin, and that’s a good thing.”
Soderlund, who is a citizen of the Republic of Uganda, said the movie should raise awareness about the struggles of people across the ocean.
“It’ll be a good eye-opener for people,” she added.
Childers himself first watched the movie Thursday afternoon. He acknowledged that it has a slight Hollywood spin to it, but said he was pleased with the overall telling.
“To be honest with you, I was satisfied with what they did,” Childers said. “The truth was shown enough to make everything all right.”
His son-in-law, Justin Wirick, said the film struck a chord with him because he has visited the Sudan orphanages on mission trips several times during the past six years.
“Some of the parts really hit you. I teared up a couple of times just because the stuff in the movie has actually happened and I’ve seen pictures of it,” Wirick said. “They portrayed everything in the movie very well.”
The next showing of “Machine Gun Preacher” will be Sept. 8 at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.