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  • Writer's pictureGabriel Rhenals

Blog Post #9: Retrospective - Jesus Christ Goes to Mars (2007)

Updated: Feb 19, 2023

To commemorate my start as a filmmaker 15 years ago, I am sharing a retrospective series of write-ups dedicated to my past short film work that includes brief commentary for each short film as well as a few "fun facts" about their creation.

8/16. Jesus Christ Goes to Mars (2007)

A satirical, anachronistic retelling of the aftermath of Jesus Christ's crucifixion. Starring Robert Grant and Phil Chernyak.


Short Film:

Made as a UCF film program senior thesis film... for someone else. This short film had a highly dramatic behind-the-scenes story involving the cruel bite of mental illness (not my own), the wrath of hate-filled film students, strange tearful voicemail messages, a spectacular upper-on-lowerclassman chew-out, an organized end-of-year screening walk-out and bitter group ostracization. And to some of the offending individuals (I won't name names), the flame of animosity still burns to this very day.

I won't get into too much detail about the making and completion of the film. The story is a long and turbulent one. All I'll say is that during my second semester in the film program, a fellow film student who'd had a major falling out with his friends came to me in need of a friend to help complete his senior thesis film production that had already begun but was in complete disarray. Some footage had been shot but it consisted of wholly disparate pieces. However, seeing potential in the existing footage, I took up the offer to help and drew up plans to complete the film in an attempt to spin a thick bale of hay into precious, golden metal. The journey was perilous and I lost many supposedly good friends over what was considered a disreputable alliance but, at the end of it all, I managed to create something I am still damn proud of and will likely stand by forever.

Fun Facts:

• The background elements of the crucified in the opening shots were taken from Martin Scorsese's 1988 film, The Last Temptation of Christ. Shhh...

• The chair of UCF's film school at the time reportedly considered the film one of the best he'd ever seen come out of the program.

Festivals & Awards:

• Official Selection at the 16th Annual Brouhaha Film & Video Showcase in Orlando, FL, 2007

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