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Filmmaking a 'Calling' for Gwinnett natives

WINDER - Audiences taking in the film "Dangerous Calling" should have no trouble understanding why the venue for this particular film screening was selected.

The film's producers and directors hope the historic century-old church that is now 106 West, a performing arts venue and music school in Winder, adds to the chilling effect of the thriller. In a particular scene, the film's main character ducks behind and crawls beneath pews in her desperate attempt to escape her pursuer as he chases her through a church.

Written and directed by Gwinnett natives Josh and Jeremiah Daws, the film was produced by Lawrenceville resident Nathan McGill and Vincent Vittorio, owners of Life Is My Movie Entertainment, based in Lawrenceville.

McGill selected the Winder venue for its history and choice of seating: upholstered church pews fill the sanctuary, where the film will be shown on a large screen.

"I think it's going to be a pretty cool match," McGill said. "I love it when things take place like that in screenings."

The movie, which follows Pastor Evan Burke and his wife, Nora, as they assume leadership of a small town church where one of the members may not be as righteous as he seems, was filmed at locations throughout north Georgia.

One of the first scenes in the movie was shot at the Corner Bookstore in Winder.

"There's a character that works inside a book store that kind of becomes a confidant of the main character, the pastor's wife," McGill said. "We needed a book store in Winder that looked like it was in a small town square."

Nora returns to the book store a couple times during the film, striking up a sort of friendship with the bookstore clerk, from whom she learns of one character's dark past.

"Dangerous Calling" premiered at the Rome International Film Festival in September, where the movie snagged the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature.

The Daws brothers drew on their own life experiences growing up as the sons of a pastor and a pastor's wife for the film.

"We pulled a lot from life experiences and sort of pushed it to the extreme," Josh said. "We certainly encountered our fair share of church members that were controlling and didn't really have the church's best interest at heart even though they thought they did."

But the film may not be what some expect.

"A lot of people are expecting the typical cheesy Christian film that kind of beats you over the head with the message," Josh said. "(But) it's a fun thrill ride that just happens to take place in a church."

The Daws brothers are working on scripts for their next feature and waiting to see how "Dangerous Calling" is received.

"Hopefully that will be the launching board for more films to come," Josh said.