I think stories about faith can be fascinating, but it is a difficult topic to explore without veering too far into being didactic or over-earnest. Faith is a deep, rich narrative soil, but when we’ve got people like Rick Santorum taking the discussion about religion to crazy ends on the national level, it’s easy to see why people either avoid stories about faith, or take them to extremes.

Blue Like Jazz is based upon a well-liked book, Donald Miller‘s semi-autobiographical story, and scripted by Miller, director Steve Taylor and Ben Pearson. Both the book and film follow a character wrestling with his childhood religious identity as he goes to college and finds himself among people who are not very accommodating when it comes to religious belief. Let’s see if the film treats the subject as well as fans of the book think Miller did.

The film will premiere next month at SXSW and has just found distribution. Check out the trailer below.

Here’s the new trailer, which landed on Apple today:

And this teaser is a few months old. The Playlist pointed it out in the wake of Roadside Attractions making a deal to release the film in the US just after SXSW. The site also helpfully points out that the song in the trailer is ‘Muscle’n Flo‘ by Menomena.

Even though Portland’s Reed College has a reputation as a very liberal, even self-consciously eccentric school (it is also an academic powerhouse), it is difficult to represent that on film without turning the movie into a liberal arts education cartoon. There’s an element of that in this trailer, but overall I’m now interested to see what Taylor & Co. have done with the story.

(There’s an interesting backstory here, too, as Deadline says fans of the book helped raise nearly three times a goal of $125k on Kickstarter to get the movie finished.)

Blue Like Jazz premieres on MArch 13 at SXSW, and then Roadside Attractions will have it in theaters on April 13.

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