Movie : The Nobody Prayer
Director : Shaun T. Pulsifer
“The Nobody Prayer” is a testament to my journey of self-discovery and acceptance. It is also a testament to the journey of my reconciliation with my faith and who I am.
We find several descriptions of a specific film, some well constructed and a few far fetched. How would be describe the movie in a sentence or two?
The Nobody Prayer is a story that is relatable to everyone regardless of who you are or your spiritual background. Everyone cries out to something greater than themselves in their most desperate moments in life.
It would be great if you tell us a little about your favorite directors and recommend a few movies that you have been inspired by, movies that you have loved and you want others to see.
My favorite director is Steven Spielberg, it was his films that inspired me to become interested in film. It was when I saw Jurassic Park in 1993 at the age of 14, I knew I wanted to become a filmmaker. Steven Spielberg shows diversity in his directing abilities as well as the films that he directs, from Jaws, to ET, and recently musicals he shows great vision and abilities to not put himself into a box. That is what I aspire to be as a filmmaker, one that doesn’t confine myself to just one genre but to be a creator in a variety of different genres.
What exactly is the Nobody Prayer? Is it the prayer that eternally stays with mankind without abandoning anyone?
The Nobody Prayer is that prayer that sits in the deepest reaches of our souls. It’s that prayer when we are at our lowest point when we feel like we can’t go on and just cry out to the universe.
The first scene in the movie is an important one. We see an individual walking in the opposite direction of a highway where cars appear to be speeding by. Could that be an indication of an individual’s moment of reckoning against the collective indifference of the world?
Very good observation. When the scene was shot it was shot in that manner due to the setting sun to get the desired lighting. Since you bring it up, I can see how that can be interpreted. This film is about that moment of reckoning against the world’s indifference to our uniqueness as individuals. Fighting against and reconciling who we are against our spiritual self and worldly self, sometimes they don’t align, but we are all on a unique journey and every day we have to fight against that collective indifference of the world.
As the protagonist appears lost, trying to communicate with God, (someone he believes must stand by him when he is abandoned by all) he looks lost, perplexed at receiving no answers from divinity. How often do you think these moments force us to reconsider our faith in something or someone?
I think it happens all the time, that is one of the greatest reasons people lose their faith in the divine. They seek answers, but they get nothing, or not the solution they seek or ultimately silence. However, from my own spiritual journey I have reconsidered my faith in something or someone many times. I have redefined it as I have grown spiritually and personally. I have found that usually in the silence I will find the answers I seek. It takes a willingness to step outside ourselves and the structure of our belief systems to discover the answers and truth that we seek in something or someone bigger than us.
How potent do you think are these moments generally, that would rattle us at such catastrophic proportions?
I believe it varies by each person. I find that when the Universe, God, Goddess, or whatever form of a higher power that works for you speaks quietly at first but gets louder and louder if we continue not to listen. Usually when the divine gets so loud that we can’t ignore it, that is usually when it becomes catastrophic and sometimes forces major changes in our lives, one’s that are out of our control.
How would you define faith? Can faith be treated as something sacrosanct or should it be scrutinized every second to re-establish its strength of it?
I think that faith is something that should be scrutinized and questioned regularly. Blind faith can lead you down paths that the Universe may not have necessarily led you down. My faith continues to grow and change, I have the foundation, but the structure continues to be redefined on a regular basis. The Universe/God created us to be creative and curious beings, I chose to believe and have faith that They didn’t want us to become stagnant in our Faith but to have to evolve and grow.
In the movie, the protagonist confesses that he has been abandoned by society including the church officials. How important do you think are these organizations like the church for the individuals who encounter these moments of doubt, anxiety, and loss?
As this story revolves around my experience, I have always felt that these organizations should be there in those times of need. In their teachings they preach that Jesus would be there for those people, however the modern church has become tainted. If they don’t agree with something they turn their back on whatever it is. Such as myself, I chose to be open with who I am as a gay man, and constantly I would get pushed out because the church didn’t agree with who I am. It got too much for me to handle that I cried out to God to reconcile who I am with the Divine. Which is the origin of The Nobody Prayer. In the real events of this story, I was in Tucson laying on a picnic table staring up at the stars crying out very much the same way as the protagonist of the film did.
Towards the end of the movie, we see that the protagonist receives a phone call. Despite the potency of faith and belief, despite the profundity of transcendental sensations, how important do you think is the knowledge that there is/are someone out there in the world looking out for me, that someone likes me exactly the way I am?
We all seek acceptance in this world, and for us to have that safety net that one individual who accepts everything that we are is essential to our existence. We all hve close friends and friends whom we have made our families because we feel accepted by them, but we still don’t show our full selves to them, but with a transcendental sensation or experience we can shed all our walls and be embraced by a divine being that accepts everything including all our scars They see us as beautiful and perfect. Sometimes we just need that perfect acceptance to continue in this world.
The lines encourage the protagonist to not give up on life. Do you think there is a sense of reassurance within the belief that our sufferings are known somewhere, that one must know how bravely we fought these obstacles?
I like to think that there is a degree of reassurance that our struggles are known somewhere out there beyond this realm. Having an outlet to vent those struggles and sufferings is important for our wellbeing. In our modern age with the internet, it has become more commonplace for people to showcase how bravely they fought through the obstacles they have gone through and overcome. But having that divine presence knowing as well as cheering us on is more important than faceless people from around the world, because they may praise you for getting through it, but there is still that nagging feeling you’re being judged, but with the Divine knowing and cheering we don’t need to feel like we’re being judged just loved.
You confessed that you faced a similar moment, where you questioned you beliefs. What was the fear like and if I may, how did you get the better of it? Did you choose to look at the sunny side?
The fear was intense, I felt that I had to choose myself over my faith, which provided no comfort. I struggled for a long time to get to where I was at the time and to five up the progress to make others happy just didn’t sit right with me. But I was ready to give up my faith for myself. For a long time, I walked alone in this world uncertain if there was anything beyond, and when the day came, I chose to believe my life was forever changed, and because of that experience I felt I couldn’t let my faith go. So, when I had my experience with God, like the protagonist’s experience I knew that faith isn’t defined by a church or any organization, it’s defined by us, by who we are and our experiences. Our relationship with God and the Universe is unique to us and no one can tell me what that relationship looks like or how I live my life. When that awareness came flooding over me, I was able to look at the sunny side and move forward with my life. Now I am not going to lie and say it has been easy since that moment, because I have certainly had moments where that faith and acceptance has been challenged. But I just push forward and remind myself that I am loved and accepted for all that I am by something that is greater than myself.