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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 05:11 GMT 06:11 UK
Hoover Street Revival
The Reverend Noel Jones, Bethany Church LA

The congregation of a Pentecostal church may not immediately seem like the first choice of subject for a documentary, but Bethany Church isn't any old church.

Set in the notorious Los Angeles district South Central, Sophie Fiennes film follows The Reverend Noel Jones from Christmas to Easter and takes an upbeat look at life through the congregation of Greater Bethany church.

Hoover Street Revival is directed and produced by Sophie Fiennes - sister of actors Ralph and Joseph.

  • And Sophie Fiennes was live on Breakfast this morning

    Publicity for the film describes it as unique and innovative. "it takes as its subject life, death and the word of God as experienced around Greater Bethany Community Church."

    The Pastor Noel Jones is brother of singer Grace Jones, and music plays a big part in the film.

    There are mesmerising gospel sequences with music heard sung or played in the background of the real life sequences.

    Sophie Fiennes first visited the church in 1998.

    "Greater Bethany was referred to me on account of its choirs and musicians," says Fiennes.

    "What I had not expected was the additional revelation of the preacher, Bishop Noel Jones, whose charisma, cognitive metaphysics and mesmerising vocal rhythms had me glued to my chair, even as everyone else around me stamped their feet up and down the aisles

    "This seemed to redefine what church could be, and what theatre might once have been."

    When Fiennes first approached the pastor, she had no funding and no backing from a broadcaster, but he gave permission saying he was fascinated by her ambition and intention to catch the spirit of the church.

    Filming took place in three blocks from April 2000 and she continued the search for financial backing.

    It took until the film was being edited for the funding to be finally secured.

    She managed to gain the confidence of the local community, and one member of the congregation kept an eye on her as the filming took Fiennes to some dangerous areas.

    Biography, Sophie Fiennes

    Fiennes was born in 1967, she took a foundation course in painting at the Chelsea School of Art before working on film and television projects including Peter Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.

    She's also worked as a storyboard artist, written articles and made short experimental films on super 8 film, and video.

  • Hoover Street Revival will be released in cinemas on 4 July, certificate 15

  • BBC Breakfast

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