About 250 people came to U.P.’s Cineplex on Monday to see the Virgin Islands produced film Job. (Photo: GENEVIEVE GLATSKY)

For Executive Producer John Cline, the long-awaited premiere of the film Job at U.P.’s Cineplex on Monday was a “bittersweet” experience.

Mr. Cline said when he was introduced to writer and director Nate Grant eight years ago, he believed deeply in the script.

But the team faced a number of setbacks as they struggled to find financing and had to continually refine the script to bring the budget into a range where they could produce the film themselves.

They ultimately spent some $150,000 out of pocket to produce the movie Job, a modern retelling of the biblical story of the same name, Mr. Cline said.

The film, which is set in Chicago, tells the story of construction company owner Joe Brown, who is approached by a mysterious project manager, Howard Satan (pronounced “satin”), and struggles with his faith.

Although the movie was filmed primarily in Chicago with American actors, it features frequent references to the Virgin Islands, which garnered applause from the audience.

Mr. Cline said he hoped to cast local actors and film more scenes in the VI but struggled to afford the costs of moving equipment from the US and paying for actors’ airfare and lodging.

“It’s mixed feelings because I know what the original script is and what the original storyline could be if it had the right funding,” he said.

VI musicians

However, he said that most of the music score was done by musicians and producers from the VI, and Eric Christian, who led the music production for the movie, said this was a point of pride for him.

“I wanted it to be a local project,” he said of the score, which he produced with the help of Dr. Drexel Glasgow, Brent Hoyte, and local artist Jugu. “I could have done it in Florida but I chose to do it in Tortola.”

Mr. Christian likened the feeling of premiering a film 12 years in the making to giving birth.

“It’s like nine months of carrying a child and you finally felt some pangs of birth pains and so we pushed and now this is the baby and frankly it looks quite good,” he said. “And I’m proud and pleased to see how it’s turned out.”

Mr. Cline said he is already working with other scripts and hopes the revenue from this movie will fund the production of more films.

“I’m happy that we were able to produce the movie and that it’s generating a lot of interest, and that gives me hope for the future,” he added.

He said he believes part of the reason he struggled to acquire funding was because of the movie’s religious nature, which limits the potential audience.

But he thinks there is a market for faith-based films throughout the Caribbean, and Mr. Christian said they are in the process of premiering the film in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and the US Virgin Islands.

‘I’m impressed’

Some of the 250 moviegoers seemed to feel similarly after the premiere on Monday.

“I definitely liked the message about God and having faith,” said Patricia Hodge, who said she is from St. Thomas and hopes to see the movie again if there is a showing there. “It was very good. Very commendable. For a first time, I’m impressed.”

Tanika Phillip said she was proud to see the territory represented onscreen and hopes to see more films like it.

“I think it was amazing that something like that could come out of the BVI,” she said. “That was beautiful to see. I’m looking forward to the next one. It’s a proud moment.”