Near the end of September 2010, two guys from Nashville launched an effort on kickstarter, “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects” to save a movie that had lost its investors. In 30 days, 4495 people donated $345,992 making the project “the largest crowd funded creative project in American history.”
That movie was Blue Like Jazz, and it opens in theaters on April 13. It is based on the best-selling book by Donald Miller, also called Blue Like Jazz, which has now sold well over a million copies, and spent more than forty weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers list. The film is directed by Steve Taylor; singer, songwriter, record producer and film director. Taylor read Miller’s book in 2005 and contacted Miller about making a movie.
The events in the film are based on Miller’s time at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, which was once selected by Princeton Review as the most godless college in America. In the film, the main character, Don (Marshall Allman from True Blood), a Baptist from Texas, suffers massive culture shock his first year on campus, and rejects almost everything he had ever believed, as he forms authentic relationships with the kinds of people he had only heard about back in Texas. He loves the intellectual freedom and having an opportunity to reinvent himself. Eventually, though, he has to ask himself if nonconformity is just the new conformity. Alone in a new place, Don is forced to decide for himself who he really is and if he believes anything, at his core, before he loses himself, again.
The film is funny, original, unconventional, true to life, and thought-provoking, without being dogmatic.
Allman explains the film like this. “Because our film deals with issue of Christianity, and we are not against Christianity, it lumps us in with Christian films. We never set out to make a Christian film, we set out to tell a good story about a kid wrestling with his Christianity.”
Blue Like Jazz was selected for the South by Southwest film festival, where it was well received. Watch the Trailer