Angel Studios is considering funding a documentary series based on Rod Dreher’s bestselling book, Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents.
Dreher wrote the book after repeatedly hearing from men and women who had suffered greatly under Soviet totalitarianism. They expressed deep concerns about the growing “soft totalitarianism” in the West.
In a column at The American Conservative, Dreher defines totalitarianism as “when an authoritarian government expands its claim to power to cover every aspect of life – including the inner life of its citizens.” That inner life includes thoughts and beliefs, as the totalitarian regime works to force citizens to believe and say things that are patently false.
He argues the increasing “soft totalitarianism” in the West is different: “It is emerging within a democratic system, within the institutions of liberal democracy.” He adds that the “emerging totalitarian system” does not coerce through pain and terror but “more from manipulating our comforts, including status.”
The title of Dreher’s book comes from an essay by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, as Dreher explains in the introduction:
On the eve of his forced exile, Solzhenitsyn published a final message to the Russian people, titled “Live Not by Lies!” In the essay, Solzhenitsyn challenged the claim that the totalitarian system was so powerful that the ordinary man and woman cannot change it.
Nonsense, he said. The foundation of totalitarianism is an ideology made of lies The system depends for existence on a people’s fear of challenging the lies. Said the writer, “Our way must be: Never knowingly support lies!”
Live Not By Lies gives guidance about how to stand firm against the forces of soft totalitarianism that push people to believe and speak lies.
Angel Studios is responsible for high-quality, popular movies and online series such as The Chosen, The Wingfeather Saga, His Only Son and The Sound of Freedom. As part of its decision-making process about whether to fund the new series, the media company launched a campaign where individuals can express interest.
The studio uses crowdfunding to finance these original productions. In its announcement of the possible “docuseries,” the company noted that Dreher’s book “is a New York Times Bestseller that has sold more than 200,000 copies.”
Angel Studios explained the importance of the docuseries and what it will look like:
The battle for truth has just begun.
The survivors of Soviet Communism have a warning for us: The seeds of totalitarianism are sprouting in our society today. Live Not By Lies, based on the bestselling book of the same name, is a docuseries giving voice to the living survivors of the USSR and their fears about our future. It will be a cinematic, moving, and educational series that encourages hope and inspiration amidst our contemporary struggles.
This episodic documentary will follow Live Not By Lies author Rod Dreher to Europe and beyond, where he’ll walk us through the streets of 20th century Soviet terror and interview the men and women who survived the deadliest century the world has ever known. We will learn from their stories, in order to better equip ourselves, as people of faith, to resist the lies that constantly confront us.
The production company added:
We believe this documentary is critically important for our times. As we listen to the stories of those who have experienced totalitarianism firsthand, we will learn from their stories, in order to better equip ourselves, as people of faith, to resist the lies that constantly confront us.
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Photo Credit: Angel Studios