Evan Koons On Why the New Faith-Based Film "Camp Manna" is Fun, Nostalgic, and Full of Teachable Moments

Evan Koons

New faith-based comedy CAMP MANNA is now available on digital platforms and DVD. The light-hearted movie promises to bring back hilarious memories of Christian Camps past. But the film also highlights the power of God to bring his work of transformation through christian camps. 

The story revolves Ian Fletcher, a 'non-believer' from Florida who is shipped off to a backwoods all-boys Christian camp by his well-meaning aunt and uncle. There, he is forced to navigate the hierarchy of the camp, lead by Camp Director Jack "Cujo" Parrish (Gary Busey) and overzealous counselors Clayton Vance (Jimmy Tatro) and Bradley Sommers (Evan Koons); find a new community of friends; and survive a biblically-themed Olympiad known as The God Games. 

We are honored to catch up with the film's producer and actor Evan Koons for this exclusive interview. 

Q: Thank you Evan for doing this interview. Congratulations on the release of CAMP MANNA, let's start off with yourself, tell us about your experience with Christian camps?

Were camps something you went to when you were growing up? I did not have a great camp experience at all. It's safe to say it was horrible, and I only went to one camp. I was a wreck the whole time. I cried every day, got humiliated at tether ball, and faked appendicitis to get sent home (which didn't work). Our cabin decided to do a 5th Grade Deep Dive into the book of Revelation every a result, I was certain I would wake up mid Apocalypse to some fiery, blood-flowing massacre. And, I think worst of all, I was terrified of the bathroom. It was like a dungeon. So, I decided not to poop for the whole week. I'm still trying to unpack what my problem is/was. I was a weird kid that summer.

Q: Can you re-call a camp you went to that really impressed upon your memory?

My counselor, Scott, was really great. We would sit out by the fire every night and talk until I was settled. I remember him as the bright point. Also, I think if you're ever in a bind, you can eat cattail roots. Maybe? I think that's true, anyway. Let me google it....Yes. You can. Apparently they taste like artichoke leaves. They're best cook, though.

Q: Let's talk about CAMP MANNA, for our readers who may not have seen it, very briefly what's the movie about?

Camp Manna is a movie about a recently orphaned kid, Ian – he's kind of an "unbeliever" – who gets shipped off to a backwoods Christian Camp to make new friends. He's in for a bit of a culture shock, though, as he experiences the antics of this particular Christian subculture. He's thrown into my character, Bradley's, cabin "The Passover Privates" (we're the camp rejects), and forced to complete in Christian themed Olympics call the God Games. All the while, I working really hard to get him saved...and everything.

Q: What were your roles in the movie?

I play Bradley, the overly enthusiastic, dorky counselor for the Passover Privates.

Q: What were a couple of memorable moments in the making of this movie?

The most memorable moments were definitely work with Gary Busey. He's a character to say the least! Unpredictable, zany, and a lot of fun. He brought a lot of energy to the set. One time before a take he shouted, "All right, let's rub to sticks of butter together and poop out a pumpkin!" Which I think is a really fun and creative way to say "Let's go! Let's do this!" The Blob scenes were also a lot of funny. And also a little scary. The blob is that giant air-filled insurance-nightmare-of-a-catapult that launches people out in to the lake. Launch people off that thing was awesome!

Q: Why should we see this movie? What can we take away from this film?

Good question. I think first and foremost, you should see it because it's fun and you'll have a good time. It's a movie that really brings back a lot of memories from our shared experiences of growing up and navigating our faith. And, if you want, I think there's some great teachable moments about F.A.I.T.H., friendship, community, forgiveness, humility, and-maybe even BAPTISM! ALSO, THE IMPORTANCE OF COMEDY IN GOSPEL AND OUR LIVES...AND HOW SILLY LIFE AND HUMANS ACTUALLY ARE...WE'RE RIDICULOUS. AND GOD STILL LOVES US! THAT'S HILARIOUS TO ME.

Q: You have been making quite a number of Christian movies, so what's next for you?

Hopefully a lot! But I try just to take whatever's given to moment. The pandemic has been difficult for us performers, but I'm constantly looking for work and auditioning for film, television and commercials. In addition, I write for corporate, commercial, and creative companies, so that's always happening, too. And when I'm not doing that, you can probably find me learning lines, memorizing poetry, and shining shoes-yes, shoe shining is my real superpower and vocation-at my stand in Grand Rapids. 

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