The Intriguing ‘Saints & Strangers’ Trailer Releases

Kevin Ott - Editor and Writer for Rocking God's House (small)

[Note: I was able to attend the red carpet premiere of this film in Beverly Hills. Check out my feature article on the event, complete with interviews and photos of the cast and filmmakers arriving on the red carpet. Also check out my new podcast episode to hear all the audio from my red carpet interviews. You can also read my official review of the film here.]

If you’ve seen the life-changing documentary (life-changing for me, at least) called “Monumental” by Kirk Cameron, which tells the real story of the Pilgrims who came to the New World, you know that the story of the Pilgrims is far more riveting, complex, and life-changing to hear and imaginatively experience than most of us learned in school.

National Geographic has thrown its hat into the Pilgrims ring and has made a high quality action/drama film (not a documentary) to answer the following questions: who were the people who came to the New World and what was the whole Mayflower story really like? This new adventure film, “Saints and Strangers,” will explore these questions when it premieres Sunday November 22 at 9pm EST on National Geographic Channel.

And from what I’ve heard so far from people connected to the production, the film seems to share at least one similar angle that Cameron took in his film “Monumental.” In that film, Cameron noted that there were two general categories of people who came to the New World:

1) people seeking religious freedom who were filled with the love of Christ and who sincerely expressed that love and peace to the people they encountered in the New World

2) people seeking personal gain and who were willing to trample on others to get it — a very different heart and mindset than the Pilgrims, and yet they too were there, discovering the New World at the same time.

As this new film puts it in some of the press materials I’ve read: the Saints wanted religious freedom, the Strangers wanted financial gain, and the Native Americans were torn between the two.

A War Within: The Two Hearts of America

I can’t help but see something poetic in the film’s juxtaposition between Saints and Soldiers. This conflicting duality is, in my opinion, a more accurate picture of American history. In today’s often anti-American, anti-patriotism culture of depressing Western self-loathing, it’s trendy in some circles to embrace an over-simplified, zealous condemnation of America.

But the truth is more complicated and more hopeful.

Yes, America has had more than its fair share of villains — of Strangers who have been ruthlessly self-centered and who used America’s prosperity and power as a means to an end. But our nation has also had Saints, and lot of ’em — people who have done marvelous and noble things and turned the tide of history for the better.

America is the most prosperous nation in human history, and one has to wonder: was it the God-focused/others-focused Saints or the self-centered Strangers who made it that way? Cameron’s “Monumental” asserts the former. As his site explains, his documentary sought to discover “America’s true ‘national treasure’ — the people, places, and principles that made America the freest, most prosperous and generous nation the world has ever known.”

Will ‘Saints & Strangers’ Echo Kirk Cameron’s ‘Monumental’?

It seems to me that “Saints & Strangers” will at least hint at the same conclusion: that it was the Saints, ultimately, who made America great, not the Strangers. (Of course, how you answer that also depends on how you define “great.”)

Either way, the trailer above, which shows off the film’s exquisite and gorgeous cinematography, has definitely peaked my interest.

It’s interesting.

Fox recently bought National Geographic, and they have been showing interesting in doing more things for the faith-based community. Whether or not “Saints & Strangers” comes to the same conclusions as “Monumental,” one thing is certain: after seeing that trailer I am definitely going to watch and find out on Nov. 22.

And make sure to check out my feature article of the red carpet premiere for this film, complete with stunning photographs of the cast and interviews. Also keep an eye out for my official review of the film, which will be published Wednesday, Nov. 18.