Preacher with an Unknown God

American Culture, Religion, Civil Rights
Rob VanAlkemade
16 minutes


"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."

Photo by Fred Askew


Rob VanAlkemade

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 on-going
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.


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