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Nov 12, 2023

This Christian film with a steampunk aesthetic is notable for its cast made up entirely of kids. Joel and Lisa Steege and their seven children create films as Little Crew Studios. Their most recent work is 2016’s THE DEFENSE OF NEW HAVEN, an adventure story set in a fictional society where masked Raiders are sowing chaos and disappearing innocent civilians. When protagonist Alec is caught in the crossfire and his younger sister goes missing, he insists on joining the CDF (City Defense Force), even though his disability makes him an unlikely fighter. Intrigue and adventure follow Alec and his new colleagues, including journeys through hidden underground tunnels and nautical battles on mini steamboats. Something genuinely impressive about the Steeges’ productions is that they construct their entire sets on their property. Parents and kids work together to create elaborate cityscapes and real bodies of water big enough to film boat scenes. Joel and Lisa Steege are so dedicated to their productions that Joel quit his job to pursue the family film business full time. The Steege children rise to the level of the production with their acting ability; they must be extremely smart and well spoken to be able to deliver such complicated lines. However, listening to kids dispense nonstop steampunk lore in a monotonous childlike timbre gets really tedious after about 15 minutes. Still, a society that truly recognizes talent and drive in the arts would automatically vote to allocate $100 million to allow the Steeges to create their magnum opus in the chibi Christian genre.

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