Now that the film is completed and ready for release, Childers looks back on his life with equal parts hope for the future and unease about his rough past.
“I watched the movie four times and I cried every time. It’s hard for me to watch the first part of the movie because it’s all right on and it tells who I was, and I just thank God that I’m not that person today. I thank God I’m able to spend my life helping people.”
Childers doesn’t care about any sort of personal fame that the film might bring him. It simply isn’t the type of person he is. But he does hope that people walk away wanting to do more to help those in need.
“I had one purpose in doing this movie and so far I’ve had over a thousand people who have seen it at screenings that have been contacting our office and it seems like it is working and the process of making people aware is happening. I don’t want people walking out of the theatre thinking the film is about Sammy Childers. The movie’s about you. And mostly everyone who walks out of the theatre is thinking ‘I’m not doing enough. I want to do more.’ That’s what the movie’s all about.”
Childers has certainly found an ally in Jason Keller, who also asks that audiences look within themselves to do more to aid the children in Africa that Sam introduced him to.
“I know I wasn’t doing enough when I first took on this project. I think if you look at the movie right now, you’ll find that it’s extremely relevant to what is going on in Central Africa right now. Sudan might be the youngest state on our planet, but there are still mass atrocities still happening over there every single day. I think it’s imperative that we be vigilant and that we at least know what’s going on over there because if we don’t open our eyes, then another Darfur could happen. Another Rwanda could happen. These things are happening because we aren’t vigilant.”
Machine Gun Preacher opens in Toronto September 30, Montreal October 7, and Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa October 14.
Top image: Sam Childers with Gerard Butler on the set of Machine Gun Preacher. Courtesy Phil Bray/Alliance Films.