Princess Cut is a romantic love story told from a Christian worldview. It’s currently in post-production and is set for a Valentine’s Day release. (How cool is that?) I know a number of the actors from working with them on The Good Book movie and have been following the process since the casting stage. I can’t wait to see the finished project. In the meantime, director Paul Munger gives us an inside look at the movie.
First, introduce yourself and your role with Princess Cut.
My name is Paul Munger, father of seven wonderful children, and I’ve been working in the Christian film industry for six years now. It all began when my dad and I decided to create a wildlife documentary for the homeschool market and the result was our multiple award-winning Animals in the Bible.
Since then I’ve been thankful for the privilege to work on multiple features including Hero, Alone Yet Not Alone, and The Screenwriters. Finally, it was time to launch out on my own, and Watchman Pictures was born. Specifically, I’m a writer/producer/director/editor, and these are the roles I fulfilled in the production of Princess Cut.
Tell us about your love story that inspired the movie.
Princess Cut is a romantic drama that explores the desire we all have to love and be loved. It tries to answer the questions that young people in particular wrestle with as they navigate the stormy seas of romance, such as, what does true love look like? How do I find it? My wife Sheilah and I crafted the story as we drew from our personal experiences of having our hearts broken and then restored as we learned to selflessly give of ourselves for the good of the other person.
What we’ve grown to realize is that the terms we use to label this journey towards love are not as important as the focus and end goal. Cultivating a true and lasting love takes time and hard work, but it truly is worth waiting for and working towards.
How long has this movie been in the making?
Sheilah and I were writing and refining the story of Princess Cut for over two years. Then in August of 2013 I met up with David Cook, who would eventually come on board as my Line Producer and 1st AD, and through much discussion and prayer we figured out the production timetable. Principal photography began October 23 and was completed November 15, 2013.
What has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced so far with this movie?
As is sometimes the case with independent Christian films, the vision is larger than the funding! So in that sense, the making of Princess Cut was a real test of my faith, a lesson I’m still learning every day. I can recall a specific time in production as resources were draining away, that I began to panic over a potential shortfall.
Just then, a text message from a friend encouraged me with the words of Psalm 37:7, “Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret…”. Peace flooded my soul, and literally within hours the final investments were secured. Our Sovereign God is abundantly faithful, and it has truly been remarkable watching Him get the glory to Himself in the tiniest details, most often in a time and way I would have never expected.
Share an example of God’s hand at work on this project.
One of the singular blessings to the production came in the form of a Facebook message from a total stranger. We had been planning on filming Princess Cut at my own house, but one day, out of the blue, a gentleman noticed from our Facebook post that we were filming in NC and wondered if we had considered Oak Haven, a beautiful 1300-acre farm in northern NC.
Production was mere days away, so a central location change would mean massive logistical restructuring, and a fresh start for my production designer, but I felt there was something here worth exploring. My location scouting revealed tons of production value in the spacious Victorian-styled manor and idyllic country setting. We made the change and the film is all the better for it!
How did you select your cast and crew?
In selecting the crew for Princess Cut, I was so thankful for a core of people that I had worked with on previous features whom I hold in the highest regard for their professionalism and joyful spirit. In particular, my dear friend David Cook served tirelessly as my right hand man. He also brought additional skilled members onboard to round out the team.
Casting Director Katrina Cook (no relation to David) did a fantastic job in helping me assemble a cast I just love to death. Their rock-solid performances and ease of collaboration made my directorial debut an absolute thrill. Throughout production, I can honestly say that God gave us a remarkable unity, love and perseverance to the very end, even through some long shoot days and freezing cold temps.
What is your favorite scene in the movie?
My favorite scene from Princess Cut…hmm, that’s tough! Can I have more than one? (smile) There’s so much here: a romantic suitors scene that’ll have you rolling with laughter; a tear-inducing scene as romance comes crashing down around our heroine, Grace (played superbly by Ashley Bratcher); another scene where a jealous rival tries to take revenge will have you on the edge of your seat. But I’d have to say that the scene with Clint (played by Joseph Gray) and Jim (played by Rusty Martin, Sr.) discussing Grace and romance is right up there near the top. I hope in like manner that every father will view their daughters as the precious treasures that they are.
What is your goal for The Princess Cut?
My desire for Princess Cut is that everyone who sees the film will walk away knowing a little bit more about the boundless love of Christ, and that in turn will radiate outward in love to others. When we find our identity and satisfaction in Jesus alone, then love has blossomed into maturity, and it frees us to truly love another person.