Little Hope Was Arson

Little Hope Was Arson

About the Film

East Texas, affectionately referred to by locals as “the Buckle of the Bible Belt,” is home to over 1,400 churches. Life is centered around these congregations, which provide a backbone for communities to gather, worship, and practice fellowship with one another.

On New Year’s Day 2010, Little Hope Baptist Church, on the outskirts of Canton, Texas, burned to the ground. Officials concluded the fire was caused by an electrical problem in the century-old church’s wiring. But when nine more churches went up in flames over the span of just a few weeks, the rural communities of East Texas feared for the worst. MORE

With the clues beginning to point towards arson, hundreds of local law enforcement, Texas Rangers, and investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives scoured the area in what became the largest criminal investigation in East Texas history. No stone is left unturned, and even Satan himself is considered a suspect in this investigation of a community terrorized from the inside out.

Unfolding as a tense real-life whodunit, Little Hope Was Arson details the manhunt for the mysterious arsonist intent on dismantling the faith of these small towns with every burned church, as the truth becomes as damaging as the fires themselves.


The Filmmaker

Theo Love, Producer/Director

Headshot of Little Hope Was Arson director Theo Love.Theo Love is an international storyteller. Growing up as an American in Southeast Asia gave him a curiosity for culture and characters that don’t quite fit in. After traveling the globe documenting everything from villages in Tanzania to urban areas of London, Love landed in Los Angeles and launched his career as a director. In addition to his work in the documentary field, Theo is an award-winning short filmmaker and is planning his next jump into narrative features. Little Hope Was Arson is his first feature documentary. LESS

Film Credits

Directed by
Theo Love

Produced by
Trenton Waterson
Theo Love

Executive Produced by
Bryan Storkel

Cinematography by
Nate Larson

Edited by
Theo Love

Music by
Michael Lee
Austin Tirado

Additional Photography by
Luke Boney
Andrew Peters
Mark Blitch

Associate Producer
Andrew Peters

Executive Producers
Tom and Cindy Waterson
Tom and Kathy Love
Will Garroutte
Joshua Fine

Unit Production Manager
Shea Parker

Re-Recording Mixer
Stefan Macarewich

Music Supervisor
Darren Rose

Britton Foster
Jod Soraci

theCollaborate Executive
Nick Bradford

Production Assistants
Erik Tveitmoe
Joel Bollen
Rachel Pratas
Tyler Dietz
Chantel Martin

Distribution Advisory Services
Preferred Content
Submarine Entertainment

Unit Publicist
David Magdael

Unit Still Photographer
Jamie Maldonado

Featuring (in order of appearance):
Pastor Bill Parr
Benny Woods
Lee Richards
Rev. David & Peggy Mahfood
Larry Smith
Brent Davis
Christy McAllister
Brian Hoback
Rev. Roy Devisscher
Kim Bourque
Bob & Brenda Steel
David McAllister
Rev. Carlton Young
James Ellis
Dan Harrison
Greg Waldron
Brent Ratekin
David Martin


Performed by Manchester Orchestra
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing

“Fairy Battle Cry”
Written & Performed by Joseph Butterworth

“Apples and Oranges”
Written & Performed by Vadim Taver

Archival News Footage Provided By
Dan Delgado

Lindsey Ashley
Aaron Austin
Joseph Barkley
Don W. Barron
Hanna Blitch
Josh and Karyss Bollen
Jill Breitzman
Stephen Broussard
Noah Caldwell
Scott Carl
Jason Clark
Stanley E. Clark
Clear Spring Baptist Church
Jason Connell
Steve Coulter
Country Tavern
Adam Donaghey
Dover Baptist Church
Eagle Pawn
Whitney Faber
Faith Baptist Church
Paul Findley
Nick Finney
First Baptist of Ben Wheeler
First Church of Christ, Scientist
Dave Gaw
John E. Green
Brooks Gremmels
Meg Gould
Grace Community Church
Dan W. Harrison
Chrissy Holley
Don Hood
Rosalie Howerton
Mattro Jacobs
Eben Kostbar
Lake Athens Baptist Church
Eric & Susu Lee
Little Hope Baptist Church
Jessie Love
Kristen Love
Trevor Love
The Mahfood Family
Joe Malloch
Marvel Studios
Than Matanick
Cheyenne McAllister
Peter McCook
Amanda Mae Meyncke
Thomas Moresco
James R. Norrell
Old Town Knife Shop
Brandon Owens
Gov. Rick Perry
Carrinicole Pitman
The Powell Family
Prairie Creek Fellowship of Lindale
The Reed Family
Zac Riggenbach
Russell Memorial United Methodist Church
Rebekah Scott
Charles Smith
Edna Stovall
The Sumner Family
June Taylor
Misty L. Taylor
Veronica Terres
Texas Rangers
Tyland Baptist Church
Tyler Fire Department
Chadwick Turner
United Films, Inc.
Bryce VanKooten
Walter F. J. Wachter
Dave Waterson
The Wiggins Family
Julie Wiley
Kat Williams
Pam Wycoff

Filmed on Location in East Texas

This program was produced by theCollaborate & Goodnight Smoke, which is solely responsible for its content.

(C) 2012. The Burn Project I, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

This motion picture is protected under laws of the United States and other countries. Unauthorized duplication or exhibition may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution.

Has your community ever had to heal from arson or other tragedies? Would you turn in a member of your family if they’d committed a crime, as happens in the Little Hope Was Arson story? What should communities do to look out for members suffering pain and loss?
Please review our comment guidelines.
Has your community ever had to heal from arson or other tragedies? Would you turn in a member of your family if they’d committed a crime, as happens in the Little Hope Was Arson story? What should communities do to look out for members suffering pain and loss?