Along with his brother, he’s been called “Canada’s version of the Coen Brothers.”  GQ magazine dubbed them the “fabulous Lalonde brothers” and they’ve been featured in all the top magazines, as well as almost every major daily newspaper in the country.

But producer Peter Lalonde is no Hollywood profit-meister.  Much like the characters in “World at War,” the third film in his “Left Behind” saga, Peter Lalonde is on a mission.  A dedicated Christian who insists on preaching the gospel in every film he makes, Lalonde has refused to buy into the Hollywood hype about “family values” being enough.  Using private financing, and by rolling profits from each of his previous films – which include “Apocalypse,” “Tribulation,” “Revelation” and “Judgment,” as well as the first two “Left Behind” movies – into every new venture, Lalonde is staking out his territory in the ever-expanding genre of Christian filmmaking.

Crosswalk.com talked with Lalonde about “World at War” (which premieres in churches across the country on October 21 in a unique marketing strategy), what it will really take to make Hollywood sit up and recognize evangelicals as a viable audience and what Christian filmmakers need to do to succeed in showbiz.


Annabelle Robertson:  Congratulations.  People are saying that this is your best film yet – even better than your two previous “Left Behind” movies, which were very successful.

Peter LaLonde:
  This is the first film that has that real theatrical feel to it – the feeling of bigness and effects.  There’s no question that the overriding commentary we’re getting back is that it’s way better than we expected it to be.  I take it as a compliment.  There’s not a lot of money in Christian filmmaking, so you do what you can.  So when you take this to the new level.

Annabelle:  You’re pretty excited about sharing the gospel.  How did you become a Christian?

Peter:
  I became a Christian as a result of seeing “The Prodigal” in 1983 in a church.  I went back on Sunday, then again, and several weeks later I became a believer.  I attended that church for several years, then founded a ministry, which later became Cloud Ten Pictures, which made documentaries on the Bible prophecies.

Annabelle:  Yet you had no background in filmmaking?

Peter:
  When we first started, we didn’t know the meaning of “gaffer” or “grip.”  We needed 100 times the faith of two guys [to make the films we made.]  In 1999, we crossed paths with the “Left Behind” franchise, and that really has been our direction since then.

Annabelle:  You used an interesting strategy with the first “Left Behind” film.  Tell us about that.

Peter:
  Everybody had the dream of it being a huge, blockbuster movie, but producers, directors and studios all said no.  It was an unusual release, though, because we went to video first, then theatres.  We opened in 800 theatres and grossed $4.2 million.  It won “Bestselling Title of the Year from an Independent Studio” and “Sell-through Title of the Year by an Independent Studio” from the Video Software Dealer’s Association, the Academy Awards of mainstream video.  The DVD did even better.  The second film came out in 2002 and debuted on DVD number two only to “Spiderman.”