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"The Godchild" - Exclusive interview with Philip Spink, director and creator of "The Godchild" movie.
Posted on May 25, 2012
“In a small Midwest boarding school, Peter, a brilliant young student, starts exhibiting amazing powers when his mysterious Godmother goes missing. As his teachers try to unravel his myster they are taken on an inspiring journey that will change their lives forever.”
WomensWeb sat down with writer and director Philip Spink, creator of “The Godchild” movie to discuss the making of the movie…and the bigger picture.
Don't forget to check out your opportunity to win a free "The Godchild" DVD at the end of this interview!
Special mention - "The Godchild" movie has been approved by the Dove Foundation for family viewing!
Philip, it's great to have a chance to sit down with you and talk about this movie. Can you tel us, why was making this movie so important?
I wanted to dwell on the nature of truth. When I was making a film in another country, I realized that even though I was thousands of miles away, it didn't change who I was. I thought that would be an interesting lesson to teach to a child who had the power to do anything, to be anywhere. The other thing is that it has very strong women characters and it's hard to find projects like these.
What message are you trying to get out to the audience?
The Truth never changes. There are a lot of arguments out there from the right and left about relativism, if there is an absolute truth - my feeling is both sides are seeing a reflection of the same thing - that we live an existence of relative truths, that exists in a grander universe of unknowable absolute truths. Both sides are valid.
How long did it take to make this movie? You wrote the script, how long did it take? How much research did you have to do?
It too about 3 months to shoot and another 6 months to edit, do the effects and sound. I didn't have a finished script when I started casting because I wanted to write the dialogue and hone the characters once I cast. As far as research, well, it was just exploring these basic questions.
What is your own belief about quantum realities? Do you think people can bi-locate?
I jokingly say people do it all the time - we're very rarely present. So we live the bulk of our lives in the past or future, someplace else either real or imagined. I definitely think there is something to stories of loved ones showing up at the foot of your bed after they die - or warning people of disaster.
Peter's ability to bi-locate is presented in a metaphysical sense - and it's interesting because it opens the story up to become mystery.
What is the significance of the nun? What does she see in the Godchild?
We have a nun, a scientist and an average man who experience the Godchild in their own way. All are correct. I think the Nun/Teacher represents people who've lost something. She's lost a lot - a son, and her faith, so she doesn't expect much for her future. She's a very strong, fearless - no-nonsense woman, actually more cynical than the scientist. She hates the idea of unexplained phenomena described as miraculous. If this was the work of a devil, I doubt if she's take one step backward. But that strength also closes her off. She sees the Godchild as something that forces her to open herself up to the universe, to find grace.
In the film, one of the teachers in the school was actually afraid of the Godchild. Why?
Well, wouldn't you be a little? The younger teacher is more naive and sees the world in traditional ways - and it's a world full of temptations, demons, mysteries. She's afraid of her own shadow and can only dream to be as fearless as the Nun.
Where was the movie filmed?
We shot in Italy, Greece, Turkey and the main drama in Canada. I wanted to take the audience to these places, to let them experience the Godchild's freedom, but also his hopeless search for his mysterious Godmother.
What was it like working with Grant Spink?
Well, he was a true pro. The best part is he didn't portray Peter as too cutesy, he kept it real. The Godchild is like any other kid looking for something. Single minded, naive and quite stubborn.
The movie is pretty cerebral, did Grant understand what it was about?
When it was cut together he got the big picture - he was only 11 when we did it so while he got the concept of bi-location and power over time and space (like any other superhero!) the themes made sense after he saw it.
Can you explain, there is the mystery of the Godmother ? What is her message to her son?
Well the entire film is a mystery about this all powerful child that has been left in the care of a boarding school run by a nun. When he starts using his incredible powers, the nun investigates and realizes he is searching for his Godmother. But the Godmother is even more a mystery. You start to understand that we are dealing with someone with powers beyond time and space -who has left the child in their care for a reason. But what can they teach the child?
So it does seem callous that the Godmother would do this - but if you knew the reason, you'd see it's part of a grand scheme. Like most things.
Can you tell us, why is the Godchild the way he is? Do you think everyone has this gift but perhaps it’s just not tapped?
The larger story of exactly who the Godchild is will be explored in another film. He is definitely another iteration of humanity, but still ignorant (after all he's a child). As far as who has these gifts - well, don't know, but - in the end, the film is a metaphor. All people have this amazing potential. We all waste time and energy by not being present, by trying to escape and we all learn in the end we can't run away from the important truths - or ourselves.
Naturally the movie has an ending, but beyond the ending what kind of life do you think the Godchild will have? What do you see his for his future?
I see the Godmother recruiting the nun as the next Godmother (that's how it works) A person who has ascended spiritually is now ready to become the teacher. The Godmother is
a group of superwomen who have certain people as their Godchildren - usually people with untapped powers. They protect and guide. It's really the story of the fairy Godmother.
Would you see this movie as a science fiction movie or a spiritual movie?
It's a sci-fi movie with a spiritual message. There is a metaphysical reason for the powers- but they aren't presented as miracles, although to most it would appear that way.
How did making this movie change you, if at all?
After years of doing movies for Sy-fy channel, Hallmark, Showtime etc. it was great to do something totally independent - to explore. The strength of the film is that it's not just one genre, and it has a strong message of love.
The movie is now available for download at TheGodChild.com – do you think there is best way for families to watch this movie? Maybe watch and then discuss it later?
Yes - we've had screenings and we've gotten response from all over the world. It's designed to raise as many questions as it answers. It's a mystery.
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About Philip Spink
Philip started as a classically trained artist and illustrator before moving into the film and television world. His extensive visual background, knowledge of special effects, art direction and skill with action on a grand scale adds to his distinct cinematic style, but it is his sensitivity to story, collaborative style and skill in working with talent that has brought him recent acclaim.
In 2009/2010 Philip finished producing and directing the children's fantasy The Godchild in Alberta.
This is coming off a busy 2009 - Completing RHI's exciting epic fantasy mini-series, KNIGHTS OF BLOODSTEEL (aka Dragons of Black Roc) for SY FY channel, airing in 2009. This 2 night miniseries, filled with dragons, swords and sorcery, stars David James Elliot, Christopher Lloyd and Nathasha Malthe.
In 2007/2008 Philip traveled to Mainland China to add authenticity to the sweeping 2 night mini-series he directed for RHI, and SPIKE TV, THE WHITE CRANE CHRONICLES (Kung Fu Killers) starring David Carradine. This dark action-noir is set in 1930's Shanghai China, and aired August 2008.
Another internationally acclaimed miniseries THE VOYAGE OF THE UNICORN in 2001 - was one of Hallmark Entertainment's highest rated 2-night miniseries. Budgeted at 15 million US, this exciting and heartwarming adventure is about a family whisked away to a fantasy world.
Philip's first feature as a writer/director was ONCE IN A BLUE MOON, a wild fantasy set in 1969. A young boy and his foster brother plan to escape their troubles by building a rocket to the moon.
Philip continues to direct commercials as well as quality family films for companies such as Showtime and Disney Cable: THE DUKE -- a winner at the International Children's Festival. RONNIE AND JULIE , BIG AND HAIRY- as well as a number of episodic television episodes and varied media projects.
THE GODCHILD is the first of several low to mid-budget features that Philip Spink Productions has planned for their new facilities in Calgary, Alberta , Canada.