“Walking Dead” actress Ann Mahoney launches a crowdfunding campaign for upcoming faith-based comedy “Preachin to the Choir”
“I have been going to the same little church since I was two years- old, my mother is the organist, and my dad is the choir director, so I was in church every Sunday. I was raised in the United Methodist church, but I was raised by parents who really emphasized to me that we come from a place of no judgment.” Says Mahoney.
Mahoney hopes that “Preachin to the Choir” a faith-based comedy show designed for TV will dispel the myths around Christianity and show the humor that exists within the church.
“My parents never made me feel like the faith journey would be easy just because I believed in God or Jesus everything was just going to work out in my life. I want to see that reflected in entertainment that talks about Christianity.”
“Many Christians will tell you that you will at some time hear the voice of Jesus. I didn’t –until 2011 and when I did it freaked me out. It said you need to write a comedy about Christianity, and it needs to focus on the humanity of being a Christian. “Preaching to the Choir” was born in that pew on that day in 2011. As Christians, we can have our own belief systems but remain in a place of non-judgment like Christ did. Jesus ate with prostitutes and tax collectors. He ate with many people that religious folks at the time would have thought about as bad people.”
Mahoney says the project for her has two very important goals. “Two things that are important in my life. The first is to make this comedy based faith show and tell it like it is. Faith doesn’t always mean life will bring an easy journey; we need to talk about how funny church life is. I think humor is the element that is always missing in faith-based production. God is funny, and we need to show how funny we are as little humans trying to make our way through this life.”
Mahoney plays Sam Patchen in “Preachin to the Choir.”
“Sam plays a character fresh out of seminary who believes that faith is simple, her life has followed this easy path. She comes from a Christian family where everything has worked out for her, so she is coming from a place of unchallenged faith. Not to give too much away but Sam gets her first church assignment to replace a pastor at a church in New Orleans. She wants to change; she heads into that church like a bull in a china shop with her passion for faith and the church. But she quickly realizes that this church may not want to see any changes and that they have some really good ideas about faith that are more tested than hers. So the show is essentially Sam being challenged left and right about what she believes.”
Mahoney adds, “The second thing is I have wanted to be the lead on a TV show for a long time but I am not looked at as a leading lady– as I am not a typical Hollywood size two. My hope here is to put myself in this role but unlike other roles for women who are perceived as Hollywood beautiful -you will never hear Sam’s weight made fun of, you will never hear her talking about not liking her body she will be the love interest. People of all sizes are attractive and people of all sizes have amazing love lives and great things to say beyond – I don’t like my body. With all that’s happening in Hollywood, there is no time to remind the world that women can do anything and should be treated with respect. The point of this show is to look at Sam’s journey and the church Journey and all the funny stuff they do along with way.” You can be a part of this project by heading to the crowdfunding site and making a donation.
“I have single-handedly raised $150,000 for this project and my co-producer and I Kim Barnard are now talking with other investors and production companies. We are very frugal on this project. We launched our crowdfunding project on Indiegogo this week and it raised $2,000 in the first day, that is just from social media followers people are excited and if we can get it to the right people, I think it will be great.”
“ I have been working on this project for six years and I have talked to a lot of other Christians who are in the same mindset as me. We are disappointed with the direction and the press that Christianity is getting on the negative side which is full of judgmental people making declarations about what they believe and excluding people as opposed to including people which I think is what Jesus wanted us to do.
Mahoney has other cast members in mind but wants the film to be fully funded before pulling the trigger and approaching other actors.
“My hope is to shoot the second week of December or very early January because we want to edit it and have it ready to pitch by Feb. I want to be fully funded or at least 2/3rds of it I can raise the editing money when we shoot it.”
Why now? Why the urgency in this project that has taken six years in the making?
“ I don’t want to be the second faith-based comedy I want to be the first. The big thing is people keep talking about wanting more women-helmed shows in Hollywood and with everything that is happening right now if there were more women in shows more women in charge we wouldn’t have these issues. There really hasn’t been anyone in Hollywood that has said I believe in this project. I believe in Ann. I want to make it happen – we need to get to those people- I am hitting a glass ceiling even in an area that is pro-women so I think the timing of this show is very relevant.”