Exclusive: ‘His Only Son’ director, David Helling

Joel Searls
May 19, 2023 11:21 AM PDT
3 minute read
david helling interview

SUMMARY

His Only Son opened in theaters on March 31st, 2023 and was written, directed and produced by David Helling, a Marine Corps veteran.

His Only Son opened in theaters on March 31st, 2023 and was written, directed and produced by David Helling, a Marine Corps veteran. The film cost $250,000 to make and has grossed over $12M worldwide. The movie features Nicolas Mouwad as Abraham, Sara Seyed as Sarah and Edaan Moskowitz as Isaac. The film covered one of the most controversial moments in the Bible when the Lord God tested Abraham by commanding him to take the life of his only son Isaac. Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain of Moriah.

The story told on screen follows Abraham, Isaac and their two servants as they journey for three days to the place of offering. During the trip they encounter dangers and trials while Abraham recalls strong memories of him and his wife, Sarah, having longed for the son God promised. His Only Son answers questions about the Lord and Scripture.

The film was brought to the silver screen by Angel Studios and a YouTube interview with David Helling is listed for your enjoyment. He speaks in-depth on the YT podcast about his film, its creative process, his faith that inspired it and its success at the box office.

The movie came in third on its opening weekend behind Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and John Wick: Chapter 4, both $100M plus budgeted films. It is the "little indie that could."

Helling attended film school on his GI Bill after his service in the Marines Corps, which included a deployment to Iraq. He served in Intelligence in the Corps and during his deployment lived in one of Saddam Hussein's old bunkers, which leads to an interesting life and perspective for a filmmaker. It took him years to get the film made and has been an arduous journey that has built his faith.

Of note about the film, it received A CinemaScore audience rating, it is currently an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes critics score, holds a 96% Fresh audience score and was the first crowdfunded P&A for a theatrical motion picture in history.

Photos courtesy of Angel Studios.

The film is a gripping tale taken from Scriptures known worldwide and in different religions. We find the lead characters are portrayed in a real sense and in matters of life and death. Helling does fine work with the direction of his actors in bringing this Biblical story to life on the silver screen. The drama is real and the weight of the matter on Abraham and Sarah is felt. The director's use of remote locations, period costumes (which he sewed himself) and his Marine "can do" attitude are shown throughout the movie.

Helling even built miniatures to be used for intricate set pieces and mixed in some legit special effects to make this independent faith-based film an enlightening treat. The movie is worth the watch and may even open your eyes to what veterans are doing across the cinema and creative landscape. The movie gets a 3 out of 4 Red Star Clusters with a must-watch for those who are spiritual, curious or would like to see what a Marine can do with no budget, a lot of effort and inspiration.

Helling is on the far right. Photo courtesy of David Helling.

Through its platform, thousands of “Angel” investors choose which titles will be created, funded, and distributed. Angel Studios allows creators and audiences to form passionate communities around their creative projects, making the story behind the story as important as the final project itself. The studios’ first projects—The Chosen and Dry Bar Comedy—have earned billions of views worldwide. Learn more at Angel.com

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