Bloomington City Hall, the Pourhouse Cafe and other locations familiar to Bloomington natives are showcased in the film, “The Good Catholic.” The film, released Sept. 8, follows the story of a dedicated young priest played by Zachary Spicer, whose life is changed forever when he meets a woman who comes to confession one night.
The film’s cast and crew brought the movie back to Bloomington on Sept. 17 with a premiere screening at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
Writer and director Paul Shoulberg said the film’s plot is loosely based on the story of how his parents met. While Shoulberg’s father was a Catholic priest like Spicer in the film, his mother was also a nun.
Initially, the film was going to be set in his hometown, Lawrence, Kansas, but Shoulberg said it made more sense to base it in Bloomington. Fellow filmmakers John Armstrong and Zachary Spicer also have ties to Bloomington, as do many members of the crew.
“We all went to school together at IU, and we had another producer also from Bloomington. We had several people who were working on the film in different capacities from Bloomington, and it just started to make sense that we make it here,” Shoulberg said. “Here in Indiana, in the city of Bloomington, where we had a community that we were currently a part of, that we had close ties to.”
Armstrong, who was a producer for the film alongside Spicer, said the two created their production company, Pigasus Pictures specifically to make “The Good Catholic,” and that they want to continue to make movies in Indiana. The two will be producing six films in the state over the next two years.
Armstrong said there are a lot of talented filmmakers in Indiana who aren’t getting the opportunity to make films because the state offers no film-related tax incentives. He said he hopes to show the state that people want films to be made in Indiana with the release of “The Good Catholic" and the company’s other upcoming projects.
“We’re hoping that as we tour the state and talk about this, that we’ll gather support,” Armstrong said. “We want it to be predominately Indiana investors and show the state that people want this.”
The film’s Indiana theatrical release will include screenings in 12 cities throughout the state, and Armstrong said he and the other filmmakers will be touring to promote the film, engage communities and do talkbacks. Spicer said the Bloomington premiere was the most important for the cast and crew so they could give back to the community.
“We wanted to do this specifically because so many people in this community and businesses and the university made the movie possible,” Spicer said. “This movie would not have happened if we didn’t have the support of this entire community behind us. So we knew we wanted to throw the biggest party for the people here in Bloomington, and fortunately, everybody else agreed and we sold out our tickets in like two hours.”
Shouldberg said the premiere is different from others because the cast and crew will know so many people in the audience and be so familiar with the town.
“We made it here,” Shoulberg said. “We made it on this street. Over half the movie was shot not even in this city, but on this street. It’s just a very rare instance where you can sit in a theater full of people who can walk outside and actually see the place where the movie just happened, unless you’re living in New York or L.A. And if you’re living in New York or L.A. watching a movie there, you’re not sitting with a theater full of your community of people.”
"The Good Catholic," will also be screening at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 18, 20, 21, 22.