LSU film professor Joshua Overbay’s low-budget but quietly affecting As It Is In Heaven shows how much can be done with limited resources as long as all the crucial elements are in place. Shot in a scant 17 days with a crew consisting almost entirely of film students while Overbay taught at Kentucky’s Asbury University, the movie portrays the rise of a charismatic religious-cult leader and his power struggle with the son of the sect’s original “prophet.” Armed with a subtle script written by his wife, Ginny Lee Overbay, the director sidesteps easy caricatures and stereotypes to find the humanity at the core of religious fervor. Cinematographer Isaac Pletcher uses light and shadow to ratchet the tension amid the film’s bucolic rural setting. The result is an original piece of work, and one that finds its purpose in empathy and understanding.
As It Is In Heaven begins an exclusive run tonight, Oct. 3, at Zeitgeist Films. Director Joshua Overbay will be in attendance tonight only for an audience Q&A. More info here.