By Abigail Loop
A former Baylor film student is bringing his first feature film to Waco’s big screen.
Will Baake, a 2010 alumnus who studied film and digital media, is the director of the upcoming film “Believe Me,” a story of college students who turn into con artists as they start a sham charity to embezzle funds. As their scam begins to unravel, the leader of the group then has important decisions to make and find out what he really believes in.
Baake, who is also the director of documentaries such as “One Nation Under God” and “Beware of Christians,” said the film will be released on Sept. 26 and will be played at Starplex Galaxy 16 movie theater in Waco for a week. The movie will also be released on iTunes and available on demand.
The film includes well-known actors such as Nick Offerman, Christopher McDonald and Alex Russell.
“When I was at Baylor, I saw a lot of organizations and charities and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be easy to blind someone?’” Baake said. “So for this movie, we see what would happen if a couple guys tried to exploit Christian culture.”
Baake said the purpose of the movie was not to try and leave audiences with a specific message, but give audiences a good story that will serve the purpose of the film.
“We hope to bring a good story that shows Christianity as a background,” Baake said. “We wanted to put the story above everything else.”
Nikki Vinyard, a 2014 Baylor alumna, is a marketing associate for the film.
Vinyard said she thinks the filmmakers’ goal for “Believe Me” was not to convert people, but to get them thinking about certain issues.
“They don’t want to force people to believe something, they just want the audience to challenge themselves,” Vinyard said.
Baake said he just wants people to see the movie, have some laughs and see what the story brings.
“We have both Christians and non-Christians in this,” Baake said. “Where we’re coming from, it’s the wrong approach to have a direct message.”
Baake said that while he’s hoping “Believe Me” will be financially successful, the story still comes first.
“We’re targeting a younger demographic who we hope will see themselves in the story of the movie.”
While the movie is screened at Starplex Galaxy 16, Bakke will also come to Baylor’s campus on Oct. 2 to speak in Baylor film classes about the movie and his experience in filmmaking and directing.
“My advice to film students is that you just start doing it,” Baake said. “We learn from doing it. I was brought up and taught that you have to go L.A. to do this, but I just honed a couple of skills.”