Alan Powell, creator, co-writer and producer of the upcoming Netflix faith-based musical "A Week Away," says Netflix couldn't be more excited for the release of its first original faith-based musical.
Powell's "A Week Away" features a slew of rearranged contemporary Christian music hits and a high-profile Hollywood cast. Some of the actors include Sherri Shepherd, David Koechner, Jahbril Cook, Kat Conner Sterling and Iain Tucker.
The idea for the movie came from Powell, a Christian singer and actor, who co-wrote the screenplay with Kali Bailey. He was inspired to write the script after chatting with his brother-in-law who runs a youth group.
Initially, there was going to be a theatrical release of the film, but Powell said Netflix acquiring the film is a dream come true.
"I want to be really clear, I'm so excited about this partnership with Netflix. This is not in any capacity a plan B," Powell told The Christian Post in a recent interview. "When you think about this movie and the tone of the movie and the vibe of the movie, I've always, truthfully, I'm not exaggerating, I've always hoped that it would find this home.
"And literally, Netflix would be the home because my desire is that this becomes similar to other brands that we love," Powell continued. "Whether it be 'High School Musicals,' characters that we grasp on to, where it's not necessarily specifically about the film, but it's about this experience and these characters and the music and all this kind of stuff."
"Netflix is arguably the biggest distributor of content in the world, so we've always wanted and hoped that it would land there," he said.
Powell recalled witnessing how much his daughters consumed musicals on Netflix. He said to have his musical on Netflix is a dream come true.
"This was always the dream. I was so excited when Netflix responded and said, 'We'd like to distribute this movie.' They're stoked about it," he said. "They're excited. They have the same kind of passion for very similar reasons that I've had for years and years. It's the perfect partnership. I'm really, really excited about it because my kids, they've seen it 37 times already, but they want to watch it all the time. That's what I want for anybody who wants to consume the movie."
The film, which was shot in Nashville, follows "troubled teen Will Hawkins (Quinn) who has a run-in with the law that puts him at an important crossroad: go to juvenile detention or attend a Christian summer camp. At first, a fish-out-of-water, Will opens his heart, discovers love with a camp regular (Madison), and a sense of belonging in the last place he expected to find it," according to Netflix.
"I just want people to be able to consume it. ... I'm really excited that people have the opportunity to just consume it as much as they want to and get something new from it every time, and listen to these songs again and learn the dances."
Powell said he'd heard reactions from people who were surprised Netflix took the film on after the streaming service ignited controversy when it refused to remove "The First Temptation of Christ," a satirical film that portrays Jesus as a homosexual. More than 1.3 million people signed a petition demanding that Netflix remove the Brazilian comedy that it aired ahead of Christmas. Some Christians even canceled their Netflix subscriptions over it.
"We've obviously been working with Netflix for a number of weeks now and getting things ready. They couldn't be more excited about the fact that it's a faith-based film. They want to be able to serve content to everyone. As long as its content they believe in, and content they think is great," Powell said.
"['A Week Away'] is going to be one of the first, if not the first faith-based movie that they have literally acquired to be a Netflix original. What an honor. Super privileged!" he exclaimed.
The filmmaker said he's always wanted to create a musical, and bringing one to the Christian movie world is something he's proud of.
"I love musicals in general, as I'm sure you can probably speculate, loving film and loving music. Musicals are my favorite, and I just remember going, 'I don't know why there's nothing in the faith-based space. There's never been a musical in a faith-based space. It doesn't make any sense to me seeing as how music is probably, and arguably, the biggest business within the Christian culture, quite honestly," Powell said.
"So I was like, 'This needs to exist.' And I began a journey of trying to make this thing happen. Fast forward seven years and here we are."
The film was directed by Roman White, a popular music video director who has worked with Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Carrie Underwood, and produced by Powell and Steve Barnett under their Monarch Media banner along with Gabe Vasquez. Executive producers listed are Vicky Patel and Corby Pons.
"A Week Away" is scheduled to stream on Netflix later this year.