Cincinnati is the New Hollywood for Rebel Pilgrim Productions

Cincinnati, OH, June 08, 2011 --( Cincinnati may not be the first place people think of when it comes to film production, but a small upstart production company has been slowly gaining momentum. Rebel Pilgrim Productions produced its first feature film, The Road to Emmaus, PA, in 2008. Last year, the company broke out with a poker-themed comedy farce called Hitting the Nuts. The movie won the 2010 Cincinnati Film Festival audience award for Best Feature. It followed that up by winning Best Feature Film at the 2011 Derby City Film Festival in Louisville. The movie is set to screen in Las Vegas on July 16th as part of the Las Vegas Film Festival.

Joe Boyd is the President of Rebel Pilgrim Productions. Boyd says, “We couldn’t be happier for the success of Hitting the Nuts. We are working on distribution options now to get it out to a wider audience.” The company made a strategic decision after “Nuts” to adjust their focus. “We are going to focus on creating a slate of lower budget, but high quality feature films that entertain while prompting people to start meaningful conversations,” says Boyd.

This is where the story merges with Boyd’s other vocation. Boyd serves as the Teaching Pastor for Vineyard Cincinnati, a larger non-denominational church. He came to the Vineyard from Los Angeles in 2007, where he was working as a professional actor and filmmaker. He says, “My background is as a pastor. I went to Bible College at Cincinnati Christian University and started a church in my twenties in Las Vegas. Acting was a hobby that turned into a career for me in 2002 when I was cast in a nightly comedy show in Las Vegas. When The Vineyard called five years later, it just felt right to go back into vocational ministry. I had no idea that filmmaking opportunities would follow me here from Los Angeles. I often tell people that becoming a pastor in Cincinnati was the best that ever happened for my filmmaking career. One might even say that God was in it all.”

The Vineyard has had a history of “head-tilting” acts of kindness in Cincinnati from cleaning toilets for free to giving away drinks on hot days. Boyd says that movie making for the Vineyard is an evolution of that, “We just want our movies to start conversations. They aren’t Christian movies, just movies that will stir things up a little…tilt some heads. We have an agenda, but it is just to get people talking.”

This week, Rebel Pilgrim Productions launched, the website for its latest film, Fenced Off. “Fenced Off is a great example of where we are headed,” says Boyd. “It is a story about how complicated it can be to love your neighbor. It shows that despite however far we have come through the years, there is a little bit of prejudice deep in all of us.”

Fenced Off was written and directed by Brad Wise, the Creative Director at Vineyard Cincinnati. Wise will also direct A Strange Brand of Happy, the company’s biggest movie to date. It stars Grammy-award winner Rebecca St. James and is scheduled to shoot for four weeks in Cincinnati beginning in August. All of Rebel Pilgrim’s movies have been shot in Cincinnati. Boyd seems resolved for that to continue. He says, “We want these movies to come from Cincinnati. It is a slow and steady thing right now, but in the future we believe that our city can be known as an alternative place to make independent films. We don’t want to be in Hollywood. We want to be here. Our city has artists and industry professionals with stories to tell too. Let’s get them out there to the world.”

Rebel Pilgrim Productions
Joe Boyd