Clinton Toughill has been interested in movies and their creation for the majority of his life. After buying a camera, gaining editing skills, taking a few business classes and launching Practical Matter Films, he said he felt ready to jump into the world of movies with his first documentary: "Different Roads to Heaven."
The majority of this film focuses on interviews with religious leaders in four different Christian denominations: two Roman Catholic priests and pastors at Lutheran, Baptist and Seventh-day Adventist churches.
Each faith leader talks about religious traditions and what makes them similar to other Christian faiths and what is unique about their sect. Many of the leaders also provide back story about who they are and how they became a priest/pastor.
Toughill, who lives in Hastings, needed that first documentary topic. "Looking around (I) realized there were a lot of churches around," he recalled.
To add a fourth denomination, the Seventh-day Adventists, he and his documentary crew drove to Red Wing to interview Brian Beavers, the church's pastor.
In crafting "Different Roads to Heaven," Toughill was interested in all of the similarities between the congregations that he found throughout the interviews and highlighted many of these corresponding beliefs in the film. The most common belief was the importance of Jesus in their faith. The differences came in the more "minor" details, such as how to interpret history and historical events and the aspects of the Bible on which the traditions focus.
The documentary took Toughill and those working with him at Practical Matter Films about six months to complete. The most time-consuming aspect was finding times that the church leaders could sit down for interviews. Toughill explained that the four churches represented in the film had a lot going on: charity events, Bible studies, holiday events, regularly scheduled services, etc.
"Once we got the timing done everything went smoothly."
In keeping with the theme of the Christian faith, the documentary was released on April 19, Good Friday. The documentary is available on Amazon.