There are those who say that the film industry keeps repeating the same stories. To those people we would say, consider We’re the Faiths. This comedy with a faith centric perspective shows a very realistic take on life and family without any sense of whitewashing the mortal experience. With bilingual cast, the movie was filmed in English and Spanish in Mexico, where it opened in theaters in November of 2023, and will continue its theatrical run in Latin American in March of this year and will debut in the US fall of 2024. It’s anticipated that We’re The Fatihs will repeat the acclaim it received south of the U.S. as American audiences continue to expand in their embrace of both, faith films and Latin family friendly tones. This independent production boasts a visual style that equals any major studio production and marvelous performances by actors such as Juan Pablo Monterrubio from the award-nominated A Million Miles Away in which he costarred with SAG and ALMA Award-winner Michael Peña. Director Julio Roman has crafted a heartwarming and at times conflicted look at the life of a family who pastors a congregation as they face the inevitable trials and triumphs of life.

 Produced by Arturo Allen for Canzión films, We are the Faiths is intentionally rocking the boat of faith based films. Through the experiences of a family whose son follows in the footsteps of his pastor father, we witness a how the family grows in their faith learning to love and accept people that don’t believe or think like them. Director Julio Roman and producer Arturo Allen were committed to making the visual language of this film also stand out and procured famed cinematographer Alexander Vatalev to attain a signature style that amplifies the emotional tone. An independent comedy which challenges the typical message of faith-based films and was shot during the pandemic, We’re the Faiths is unique at every turn. 

 Mr. Vatalev makes use of intuitive movements and angles for a comedy, like numerous close-ups with a lot of emphasis was placed on facial expressions. However, the genius of his work is something you might only feel rather than overtly notice unless you are a DP yourself. The initial scenes of the film are more static with less camera movement but by the latter part of the story, the camera moves about with far more freedom in order to communicate the protagonist’s worldview also becoming freer. For example, in the scene in which the father [Fernando] of the family is paralyzed, the camera circles around the table, thereby forcing a future stop, and it stops precisely when his son [Josué] is struck. Moments like this allow the audience to viscerally feel that they are inhabiting Josue’s mind and emotional state. Mr. Vatalev shows a remarkable talent for transporting the viewer into a specific space which allows for a deeper connection to the characters than is commonly felt. 

 Alexander also proved himself a major asset when it came to achieving visual “trickery” in the absence of a major studio budget. This is best exemplified in one scene that involves twin sisters, played by the same actress. The cinematographer explains, “We had to shoot them with a moving camera in one shot when both sisters meet at dinner. Their simultaneous existence required a certain skill and coordination. When switching from character to character, when it is the same person, we used the method of editing along the curtain. We didn’t have the availability of Motion-control (a system that allows you to completely remember all camera movements) so I had to work like that machine, remembering the entire ballet movement of this scene in order to repeat it exactly in an hour and a half.” Watching this scene, it’s nearly inconceivable that it wasn’t manifested with cutting edge technology. The fluid nature and sense of normalcy belies the idea that it was not in fact filmed with twin actresses. In scenes like this, Alexander Vatalev shows that talent always trumps technology. 

As We’re the Faiths releases in Latin America, the team behind this extraordinary film is already wrapping up the work on their next feature film. Julio Roman, Arturo Allen, and Alexander Vatalev are collaborating on another family comedy. In the meantime, get ready for a roller coaster ride of emotions with We’re the Faiths

Writer : Basil Thomson

By Punit