Alabama’s Erwin Brothers devoted to Christian filmmakingcomment (0)
March 6, 2014
By Anna Keller
"Moms’ Night Out” is a laugh-out-loud comedy that Americans nationwide are sure to love. It will be released Mother’s Day weekend in May (perfect timing for a movie of this name and subject) and sheds light on just how important mothers are to families — all in a hilariously engaging way.
Perhaps the best part about this film? It’s a family-friendly — and faith-friendly — comedy that’s actually really, really funny, regardless of a viewer’s belief or background.
“We tested this film, and I’m always so nervous about that first screening,” said one of the film’s directors, Andy Erwin. “But people were rolling in the aisles and surging with laughter. The main feedback we received was, ‘Finally — someone made a good, clean comedy.’”
The movie tells the story of Allyson, a mother of young children who’s reached her breaking point and just needs a night out with other female friends. What was meant to be a relaxing evening away from children and the responsibilities that come with parenting quickly becomes a chaotic, drama-filled series of events that leads Allyson to realize just how crucial she is to her family.
Erwin also said that among the faith-based screenings, there were several pastors’ wives who came up after the film praising the way the movie had represented women in their role, especially as expressed in this movie by actress Patricia Heaton of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame.
Erwin co-directed the film with his brother, Jon — someone who he’s worked with on numerous projects including ESPN College Football Primetime as camera operators, directing music videos and commercials, and producing concerts and TV programs for platinum music artists like Amy Grant, Switchfoot and Montgomery Gentry. This interest in film is something the brothers came by honestly, said their father, Hank Erwin, a former Alabama senator.
“Before I got into politics, I was in radio and TV for 35 years, and while the boys were growing up I’d take them with me on projects and so they grew up around cameras all their lives,” Hank Erwin said. “In fact, Jon came to me when he was in junior high school and said he and Andy felt called by God to make movies, and they formed Erwin Brothers Motion Pictures that very day.”
“Moms’ Night Out” is the Erwin brothers’ sophomore feature-length film, following the movie “October Baby,” which they both wrote and directed.
“‘Moms’ Night Out’ spoke to us because it’s what Jon and I are both living right now,” Andy Erwin said. “We both have young kids and our wives are absolute superheroes.”
Andy Erwin also is thrilled with the cast they were able to secure for this movie: all actors were their top choices and along with Heaton include Sarah Drew of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Trace Adkins and Sean Astin. The film was shot in Birmingham, with church scenes taking place at First Baptist Church, Pelham, a congregation Andy Erwin describes as “very supportive.”
“Jon and I are both from Alabama and live in Birmingham now, so it was fun to film this movie in our home state,” he said.
Though the movie premieres nationwide in May, it will screen in Birmingham in early March. Andy and Jon attend The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham.
Hank Erwin is proud of his sons for showcasing their home state in this film as well.
“They could have moved to Nashville or Hollywood or Atlanta, but they chose to stay in Alabama and make their movies here because they believe in the values here in Alabama,” Hank Erwin said. “I think it has the potential to give Birmingham a boost of tourism since the movie gives us the opportunity to profile the whole area.”
Andy Erwin said he’s been encouraged by the opportunities Hollywood has given to faith-friendly communities of late and suggests that people in the faith community use their movie ticket as their vote for more films like this one.
“Hollywood is listening, and the best way to see more movies that are faith-friendly is to buy a ticket and see the film,” he said. “When we set out to make this movie the first thing we were looking for was for it to be funny, but from there we made a point to touch on values we feel are important.”