Industry Reviews

Church of Felons is a rare kind of work, looking bluntly at horrors of addiction while also portraying its victims with empathy and care. The stories of this film are neatly contained within a single county, but they speak to a national crisis — and shine a light on the way that addiction takes hold, creates trauma and, sometimes, can test and change one’s spirit. Lastly, I hold this film in high regard because the filmmaker, Jordan Mederich, lives in the very place that he documents. This is more than just drop-in journalism. It is a work of nuance and hard-to-get emotional honesty.

Chico Harlan, The Washington Post

“Church of Felons” gives a strong reality check of the addiction problems in Wisconsin.  The filmmakers are dedicated to taking on the challenges of addiction beyond the film and bring awareness to this extensive problem... an opportunity that went beyond our expectations.  Church of Felons resonated with the audience and the filmmaker and felons attendance generated a passionate discussion after the film. The Green Bay Film Festival is proud to have “Church of Felons” as part of their 7th annual festival and look forward to Jordan Mederich’s next endeavor.

Cyndee Sweetland, Green Bay Film Festival Director

"As communities nationwide struggle with addiction and the addicted, Church of Felons presents a light of hope in the true stories of four men, intertwining the humanity of addiction with the immortal idea of salvation. Conquering our vices remains a timeless battle. But the path to hope is clearly lit by the makers of Church of Felons, who beg you to hear that ‘all is not lost.’ Those who struggle to understand addiction’s grip are brought closer to empathy. And those afflicted by its cruelty are given reason to persevere.”

Jessica de la Cruz, Editor, Amery Free Press

The energy, hope and action surrounding Church of Felons is infectious. In a community searching for ways to help those suffering from addiction, Church of Felons brings people together in the most positive and energizing ways possible – through hope, redemption and faith. Bringing Church of Felons to St. Croix Falls has started real conversations and brought together people who are invested in making concrete changes in our community. Church of Felons shows us there is hope and that we are truly all in this together.

Kate Murtaugh, Gionis and Murtaugh Law

"The members of the East Lansing Film Festival were very grateful to be able to screen Church Of Felons. It is a film that will spark intellectual conversations for years to come. We hope to screen many more of Jordan Mederich's films. Jordan is a talented filmmaker, and Church Of Felons is a great film."

Karl Millisor, East Lansing Film Festival Director


Tagline: The Captivating True Story of Addiction, Loss, and Redemption.

Logline: The harrowing tale of four recovering addicts seeking redemption for their crimes in the unforgiving heart of addiction country.

Short Synopsis: Wisconsin is the most addicted state in America. There’s no minimum drinking age. DUI offenders get a slap on the wrist – until tragedy strikes. Those who survive are branded as felons for the rest of their lives.

Church of Felons follows four recovering addicts in a rural Wisconsin church who agree to reveal hidden truths about their criminal pasts. When they speak the unspeakable, the shockwaves reverberate from their own families through the entire Polk County judicial system.

This film questions our perception of addiction and crime in America. With twists at the end you'll never expect, you may soon begin questioning what you believe.

This small town has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and a justice system strictly bent on protecting victims. Now that they’ve cleaned up, it’s time to right their wrongs, and ask for a second chance. From meth manufacturing and distribution, to alcohol-fueled arson rampages, to vehicular homicide, these felons are begging for grace....

Are these felons lost to a life of condemnation? Can Wisconsin turn itself around?


(Right-Click > 'Save As' to download full size photos)

Church of Felons Logo

PNG logo on side

Church of Felons Logo - Web

PNG logo on side - Stacked for Web

Polk County Aerial

An aerial view of  Polk County, one of the most addicted counties in the country. Addicts are getting smarter and better at concealing drugs and evading prosecution, often only buying small amounts to distribute and consume weekly.

Chris Lyman At Crash Scene, Years Later

Chris hadn't returned to the spot of the fatal accident very often. This day during filming was a bitter -22 degrees, the camera lens literally froze over, but not before we caught an emotional retelling of the story that changed Chris' life.

Motorcycle "Freak Accident"

After a long shift at work, Chris had several drinks before driving home... a mistake he'll relive every day of his life. A tragic accident with a motorcyclist left 1 dead and a ripple effect upon dozens of others that may never be forgotten.

Church Fire

After an alcohol-fueled shooting spree, Dustin lit a Bible on fire to use as kindling, then burned this historic church building down.

Dustin at Restored Church

Dustin was legally restricted from being at the site of his crime. Right after his probation ended, we brought him back to the church, where his emotional and powerful story of destruction and restoration was told.

Bus Crash

Brian shared unauthorized pain medications with a friend, who subsequently got behind the wheel and was killed instantly in a bus crash at 60 MPH.

Meth Bust

Polk County Wisconsin Drug Task Force agents use any means necessary to prosecute continual offenders, including concussion grenades and full SWAT gear in midnight raids.

Church Of Felons Premiere Crowd

We're thankful for the community of Polk County and their support of the Church Of Felons Project. This is the line leading up to the front doors of our film premiere in Osceola WI.

Director Jordan Mederich - Headshot

Please see the Bio on the front page for more information.