A Brief History of Riot Studios

One Nation Under God

The first film in the history of Riot Studios. In the summer of 2008, Michael B. Allen, Will Bakke, Austin Meek, and Lawson Hopkins set out on a road trip. They pulled out a map, drew a big circle around the country, and said, “Let’s go there, there, and there, asking people questions about life and God and purpose.”

And thus, Riot Studios was born.

The boys documented their adventure into what eventually became known as One Nation Under God, an ambitious and unpolished first project that captured the hearts of audiences nationwide.

Beware of Christians

Michael B. Allen and Will Bakke parlayed the success of One Nation Under God and their now-trademark authenticity into another religious documentary. Bringing friends Alex Carroll and Matt Owen along for the ride, the four guys traveled to Europe and conducted man-on-the-street interviews about topics like materialism, charity, and relationships.

The finished product, Beware of Christians (2010), went on to selection at 17 film festivals internationally. As a result of the film’s success and Riot’s burgeoning fan base, Alex, Michael, and Will decided to hit the road once again.

The Nationwide Tour

The Beware of Christians tour, which began in 2011 and lasted for a year and a half, continued Riot Studios’ upward trajectory. This tour marked Riot’s first business partnership with Dallas-based Lascaux Films. Among others, Gary Cogill and Richard Toussaint made it possible for Riot to continue spreading the documentaries to new fans everywhere.

Visiting college campuses and churches across the country, the guys pioneered a revolutionary “name-your-own-price” model in distributing DVDs at screenings. Fans paid everything from zero to $20 dollars and Riot Studios’ commitment to sharing Beware of Christians, no matter the financial cost, engrained the studio in the minds of many as a generous, godly endeavor.

Believe Me

While on the Beware of Christians Tour, Will and Michael became inspired to write a screenplay for the first narrative Riot endeavor, Believe Me. Alex Carroll served as lead Producer on the film, which was shot in Austin, TX in the summer of 2013.

The film, co-Produced with Lascaux Films, premiered as the opening night selection of the 2014 Dallas International Film Festival, and released in theaters September 2015.