In Jesus Camp, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, directors of the acclaimed film The Boys of Baraka, introduce us to children who are growing up as evangelical Christians. Twelve-year-old Levi, who was "saved" when he was five, is a shy boy except when he is filled with the Holy Spirit. Nine-year-old Rachael is outspoken in her love for the Lord. They are home-schooled by their Christian parents and interact with their peers at church and church events. In the summer they travel to Becky Fischer's "Kids on Fire" summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, to intensify their devotion to the Lord. Fischer is a children's pastor, who specializes in tapping into the hearts and minds of kids on their level. She recognizes that this generation accesses information through video, images, and music. Intercut with scenes of the kids is the radio commentary of Mike Papantonio, a Christian who believes that the Evangelical movement has strayed from the original teachings of love that Jesus died for. He worries that the movement's position on the environment, creationism, and other fundamental tenets are short-sighted and will hurt the conservative movement in the end. And where does the government land in all this? The Evangelicals apply unceasing pressure to their elected officials, and have made great strides with Bush as their president. What kind of force will these kids be in politics and religion when they grow up? The kids of Jesus Camp are smart, empowered, speak in tongues, and are determined to change the world.
Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady also collaborated on the moving Boys of Baraka, a critically acclaimed documentary about Baltimore youth. Ewing is the coowner of the New York-based Loki Films and has covered stories ranging from Scientology to Cuban politics. The latter, was explored in her film Dissident. Grady, a former private investigator and cofounder of Loki Films, has created several movies about the issues surrounding mental illness, notably Ward 2 West. A regular contributor to Discovery Channel, A&E and Britain's Channel 4, Grady also produced TX, an eight-part VH1 series filmed entirely in a drug rehab center.