ROY -- The efforts of a local filmmaker are proof that you don't have to be preaching from a podium to send a message of faith and hope.
Cal Nguyen, 42, is an independent film and television producer who is using his medium to teach about gospel principles.
“My hope is people are seeing Jesus through me,” he said.
The Roy resident's largest project is a cable television program called Day Zero. It's a show about post-apocalyptic Utah and some of the challenges in a society where some have been poisoned by radiation.
Nguyen said religious and spiritual undertones are key parts of the program. “I have had a taste of what the Lord suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane,” Nguyen said of his own faith journey, which has led him to want to share his message.
“I promised the Lord and Our Lady that we have to speak about these things.” Nguyen said he spent a good part of his life away from his Catholic faith, which has taught him the importance of the messages he now shares in his television show.
“I divinely felt that I must tell this story and use my characters,” he said. “I feel grateful I am able to share that. I wish other people will see that.”
Giving God all the credit, Nguyen said, he writes his episodes to be thought provoking, leading them to receive a faith message. He said his goal is to depict humanity and the human condition in a way that builds people's faith.
“I don't want to hammer people on the head,” he said. “You have to transition them.”
He said he has a formula for changing people's hearts to attract them to faith. “You have to have conflict,” he said. “You have to have a message of redemption and forgiveness.”
And the conflict in Day Zero often is about survival. Those people who have been affected by radiation poisoning create a lot of drama as they wreak havoc. And the choices of those people who are well-functioning are at the center of the message Nguyen seeks to share.
One episode, titled the Sacrificial Lamb, is about a person who trades their life for another's. The episode is based on the historical account of St. Maximilion Kolbe. This man took the place of someone who was to be killed by the Nazi's during World War II. Nguyen also shares his message visually by placements of Bibles on the set. “There is always a Bible in use in almost every episode,” he said.
The show plays Fridays at 1 a.m. on Tuff TV, an over-the-air station with a potential audience of 30 million homes, he said. To see a sample of Day Zero, visit http://blip.tv/dayzerotv.
Nguyen said he also has been featured in some faith-based films. He played a part in the locally made movie released this year called Wayward, the Prodigal Son and in a short film titled In Your Prayers. As a volunteer, he produced a mini-documentary this past summer on the experiences of himself and others at the Fourth annual St. Mary's men's retreat.