ONE PUNK UNDER GOD an original six-part documentary series on the alternative Christian minister Jay Bakker, will premiere on Sundance Channel on Wednesday, December 13 at 9:00 pm e/p. Produced by World of Wonder, the series takes a behind-the-scenes look at the life of Bakker as he faces the professional, emotional and financial struggles of running his Revolution church in Atlanta, Georgia. The series will air on Wednesdays at 9:00pm e/p from December 13 to January 17.
Jay Bakker, the only son of former Praise The Lord leaders, Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Messner, a tattooed and pierced preacher, is not necessarily the image of an American evangelist. His resolutely maverick stance and open tolerance for alternative lifestyle choices irritate traditional religious leaders and make keeping his Church afloat challenging. But by fusing together punk and Christian values to create a non-denominational and inclusive parish, he is working to show the world just how hip and welcoming today′s churches can be.
World of Wonder principals Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey said "since we first met Jay eight years ago while filming The Eyes of Tammy Faye we have wanted to make a film about him. Thanks to the Sundance Channel′s bold vision and commitment to documentary filmmaking, and thanks also to the talents of Jeremy Simmons and Thairin Smothers we now have that opportunity."
The December schedule for ONE PUNK UNDER GOD is as follows: December 13 at 9:00pm e/p
Episode 1. In Atlanta, 30-year-old Jay Bakker follows his own path as the founder of the alternative Christian ministry Revolution; nothing about him follows the traditional Christian playbook -- from how he looks (tattooed, pierced and bespectacled in a Social Distortion t-shirt) to where and when he preaches. As he ponders the future of his twelve-year-old church, Jay consults with his wife, Amanda and with Revolution′s director, Stu Damron, a sucessful businessman. Jay′s punk-rock pastorship reflects the painful lessons learned from the downfall of his famous father, Jim, although he remains in awe of his father′s piety and preaching. Father and son have long had a troubled relationship, but the grave illness of Jay′s mother, Tammy Faye Messner, has increased Jay′s longing for reconciliation. The contradictions of Jay′s life come into relief as he travels to his childhood home retreat, Heritage USA, the now-defunct "Christian theme park" built by Jim in the 1980s. Jay decides to make the first move in reaching out to his dad.
December 20 at 9:00pm e/p
Episode 2. After speaking at the gay-affirming church Open Door, Jay embarks on a soul-searching journey to define his stance on homosexuality. Meanwhile, Jay′s efforts to get in touch with Jim Bakker finally bear fruit, news he shares during a warm visit with his mother, Tammy Faye. Jay now has in mind to pay his father a long overdue visit. In Atlanta, Jay delivers one of the most important sermons of his life.
December 27 at 9:00pm e/p
Episode 3. Jay′s strong gay-affirming stance begins to impact Revolution′s financial health, and he finds himself debating the nuances of compromise and principle with his childhood friend, also a pastor, following a speaking engagement. Amanda decides to pursue her dream of a psychology career, setting her sights on New York University′s pre-med program. While Amanda struggles to complete her application, Jay travels alone to Branson, Missouri to see his father for the first time in two years -- an emotionally charged visit that includes an appearance on Jim′s new TV show.
January 3 at 9:00pm e/p
Episode 4. Jay visits his fathers and makes an appearance on the "The New Jim Bakker Show." Upon his return to Atlanta, Jay is greeted with grim news about a Revolution donor and Stu suggests Jay try a New Testament approach to fundraising. Before Jay can decide, however, another piece of news arrives: Amanda has been accepted at NYU. With Amanda′s happiness and his marriage in the balance, Jay faces the prospect of leaving not only the city he loves, but the church that he founded seven years ago. And if Jay leaves, what will become of Revolution?
January 10 at 9:00pm e/p
Episode 5. Jay and Amanda travel to New York to see the city before making their final choice about the move. While Amanda is excited and energized, Jay worries about feeling comfortable in this intense, often overwhelming city and the potential impact on the couple′s marriage. Jay is also struggling with the prospect of moving so far from his mother, and a heart-wrenching visit to Tammy Faye in North Carolina reveals the scope of her deteriorating health.
January 17 at 9:00pm e/p
Episode 6. Jay and Amanda transition into their new lives in Brooklyn, where Jay begins the campaign to build his new ministry, Revolution NYC. The daunting task of establishing a ministry in a new city is made even more difficult as Jay continues to struggle with Tammy Faye′s declining health. Jay and Amanda take another trip to North Carolina to be with her, and the series concludes with their return to New York, where emotions run high as Jay adjusts to his new ministry and continues working to re-connect with his father, Jim Bakker.
The director and supervising producer of ONE PUNK UNDER GOD is Jeremy Simmons, whose credits include the television documentaries Sundance Channel′s "TransGeneration" (produced in association with LOGO) and MTV′s "School′s Out: The Life of a Gay High School in Texas" (both GLAAD Award nominees for Outstanding Documentary) and AMC′s "Gay Hollywood." "One Punk, Under God" is produced by Thairin Smothers and executive produced by award-winning filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, founders of film and television production company World of Wonder. As directors/producers, their credits include the documentaries Inside Deep Throat, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and Party Monster: The Michael Alig Story, as well as the 2003 drama Party Monster. Executive producers for Sundance Channel are Laura Michalchyshyn and Lynne Kirby. Ann Rose is the supervising producer.
Under the creative direction of Robert Redford, Sundance Channel is the television destination for independent-minded viewers seeking something different. Bold, uncompromising and irreverent, Sundance Channel offers audiences a diverse and engaging selection of films, documentaries, and original programs, all unedited and commercial free. Launched in 1996, Sundance Channel is a venture of NBC Universal, Showtime Networks Inc. and Robert Redford. Sundance Channel operates independently of the non-profit Sundance Institute and the Sundance Film Festival, but shares the overall Sundance mission of encouraging artistic freedom of expression. Sundance Channel′s website address is www.sundancechannel.com.