David Knight - 8th June 2016

John Merizalde takes the 17 year old indie prodigy Declan McKenna's Bethlehem and builds a story of blossoming love between two teenagers in a small American town where bigotry and religious zealotry hangs like a shadow over them.

Shot on 16mm, Merizalde, who hails from Georgia, sketches a world of believable characters, and captures the claustrophobia of the place, with a lightness of touch that's perfectly pitched to the song.


"When I first listened to the track, I was reminded of a small rural town in Georgia called Bethlehem, about an hour away from where I grew up. That, coupled with the themes behind the track - basically a critique against religiously-motivated violence and hate - were the initial catalyst for the idea.

"From there the story flowed naturally, inspired by images, people, and places that I'd seen growing up, or wanted to see. Despite some of the darker themes, we aimed to do something a little fun and different with this. The use of 16mm film and slow zooms were incorporated to hopefully give it a more old-school feel.

"And no, I never attended a snake church growing up... Although I do know some people that did."

PRO Credits


DirectorJohn Merizalde
ProducerKevin Staake
Production CompanyBullion Productions
Service CompanyWhitelist
Executive ProducerDrew O'Neill
Director of PhotographyKristian Zuniga
1st ACAzariah Oldacre
1st ACEdward Martinez
2nd ACOren Malik
Art DirectorJennifer Chandler
WardrobeJennifer Chandler
Hair & Make-upAmber Flores
Casting directorErin Murray
EditorChad Sarahina
ColouristDavid Torcivia
Director's RepresentationOB Management
CommissionerLaura Clayton
Other creditscast: Austin Taylor, Hannah Culwell, Caroline Granger, John Fletcher, Cameron Fraley, Chris Van Dyke Co-Producer: Jon Watts Gaffer/KG: Josh Cubas Associate Producer: Asher Emmanuel Production Assistant: Jae Desouza Film Processing & Scanning: Crawford Media Services, ATL

David Knight - 8th June 2016

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