Former healing evangelist Richard Rossi is appealing for funding for a film about a con man who falls in love with a charismatic female faith healer.
Rossi, who once played Elmer Gantry in a play about the fictional evangelist, said his new film Canaan land is not an attack on religion. "It is my intention in exposing the counterfeit to show the search for that which is pure, lovely, true. Defensive believers may say we shouldn't expose the counterfeit, but a counterfeit testifies that there is a truth sets us free," he said.
Production assistant Linda Rivas said: "The production office received messages to stop the film from going forward from big names in Pentecostal televangelism, because Rossi's film reveals tricks preachers have used to fool audiences.
"But for every negative message, we receive a hundred positive from people who see Rossi doing what Jesus did when he cleansed the Temple. The film isn't a remake of the 1960 film Elmer Gantry. It's a new story based on Rossi's experiences."
Rossi has previously made films on the female evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson and baseball icon Roberto Clemente.
Rossi did not say who is upset about his film, but has posted the full backstory on the GoFundMe site.
"My film is fiction and will change names," Rossi said. "There's a redemptive ending, in which even the narcissistic evangelist running the con is confronted by unconditional love. God loves those who start out with pure hearts and get seduced by money, power, and fame. He wants them to come back to their first love."