“We burned fuel to get here today, children”, says Reverend Billy, “we’re all sinners, it’s complicated…”
Filmmaker Rob VanAlkemade follows Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping on their ten-day “Stop Big Boxes” tour of California. Their goal is to spread a message to Americans to learn to seek the unknown and to “put the odd back in God” by cutting back on consumption. During the tour, the Church conducts cash register exorcisms, (resulting in LA County jail time for the Reverend), parking lot revivals, and hypnotizing sermons, where the Reverend occasionally loses consciousness from absorbing the evil living inside congregant’s credit cards. The documentary concludes in New York City shortly after the Republican National Convention, when Billy is arrested in Times Square on Stop Shopping Day after pleading with the public to “be creative” and “slow down the shopping however you can.”
Rob VanAlkemade has been a director, producer, cinematographer, sound recordist and/or editor on a variety of broadcast and independent documentaries since 1995. Rob was DP on “Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock”, 2005; Director of “Cityfish” 1996 – present, an ongoing philosophical time capsule covering at least ten years of fishing and pondering on New York City waters; Co-Director of “Autism: An Educational Challenge”, 2000, a feature about autistic children, their families and schools, and “Manhattan International Albanians”, 2003, a short doc about Kosovar refugee teens. In 2005 Rob directed, co-produced, shot and edited the short doc “Preacher With an Unknown God”, on anti-consumerist activist Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. Rob is now Directing a feature documentary due out by Nov 2006, covering a cross-country tour of the Church of Stop Shopping as they save Christmas from the Shopocalypse.