Wednesday, February 29, 2012
"Blue Like Jazz" stars "True Blood" star Marshall Allman as Don, a 19-year-old sophomore in Texas, who decides to escape his religious upbringing.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
This year the big winner was The Artist which is perhaps one of the most unlikely movies to win Best Picture since the surprise 1981 win for Chariots of Fires. I’m sure nobody had their money on The Artist, at least in the beginning. But as the award season rolled on, the critics and, more importantly, the Academy voters began to lock on to The Artist as their choice to take the big prizes.
The Oscars is Hollywood’s big night to connect with the movie-going public. The Academy Awards traditionally draws one of television’s largest audiences for the year. Sunday’s broadcast has a 4% increase over last year’s with a 25.5 rating and a 38% audience share. The only programs that get bigger numbers would be the Super Bowl or the season finale of American Idol.
Only one film, The Help, which made $169 million, was both a hit with the critics and the movie-going public. In fact, it was the only film nominated for Best Picture that finished in the top 25 money makers. Most of the nominees were only mildly successful in terms of box office profits. In fact, The Artist didn’t even make the top 100. Will the Oscar help The Artist? Only time will tell.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Academy Awards voters have spoken up for "The Artist," the first silent film to triumph on Hollywood's biggest night since the original Oscar ceremony 83 years ago.
The black-and-white film picked up five awards in all, including best picture, actor for Jean Dujardin and directing for Michel Hazanavicius. The last time a silent film earned the top prize was when the World War I saga "Wings" was named outstanding picture at the first Oscars in 1929.
"I am the happiest director in the world," Havanavicius said, thanking the cast, crew and canine co-star Uggie. "I also want to thank the financier, the crazy person who put money in the movie."
The other top Oscars went to Meryl Streep as best actress for "The Iron Lady," Octavia Spencer as supporting actress for "The Help" and Christopher Plummer as supporting actor for "Beginners."
Streep's win was her first Oscar in 29 years, since she won best actress for "Sophie's Choice." She had lost 13 times in a row since then. Streep also won a supporting-actress Oscar for 1979's "Kramer vs. Kramer," and has earned a total of 17 nominations.
The win puts her in a category with other three-time Oscar winners Jack Nicholson, Walter Brennan and Ingrid Bergman. Only Katharine Hepburn - with four wins - had more.
"When they called my name, I had this feeling I could hear half of America go, 'Oh, no, why her again?' But whatever," Streep said, laughing. "I really understand I'll never be up here again," she continued. "I really want to think all my colleagues, my friends. I look out here and I see my life before my eyes, my old friends, my new friends. Really, this is such a great honor but the think that counts the most with me is the friendship and the love and the sheer job we've shared making moves together."
Plummer became the oldest Oscar winner in history during the ceremony, winning for his role as an elderly widower who comes out as gay in "Beginners."
"You're only two years older than me, darling," the 82-year-old actor he crooned to his statuette at the 84th Academy Awards. "Where have you been all my life?"
Plummer and Spencer dominated the supporting actor and actress categories at previous award shows this season, and were considered virtual locks for their Oscars.
Spencer, who played a headstrong black maid in 1960s Mississippi, wept throughout her breathless speech, in which she apologized, between laughing and crying, for running a bit long on her time limit.
"Thank you, Academy, for putting me with the hottest guy in the room," Spencer said, referring to last year's supporting-actor winner Christian Bale, who presented her award.
Dujardin became the first Frenchman to win an acting Oscar. French actresses have won before, including Marion Cotillard and Juliette Binoche.
"Oh, thank you. Oui. I love your country!" said Dujardin, who plays George Valentin, a silent-film star who falls on hard times when talking films take over. If Valentin could speak, Dujardin added, "he'd say ... 'Merci beaucoup, formidable!"'
Martin Scorsese's Paris adventure "Hugo", which led contenders with 11 nominations, won five Oscars, including the first two prizes of the night, for cinematography and art direction. It also won for visual effects, sound mixing and sound editing.
The visual-effects prize had been the last chance for the "Harry Potter" franchise to win an Oscar. The finale, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," had been nominated for visual effects and two other Oscars but lost all three. Previous "Harry Potter" installments had lost on all nine of their nominations.
While "The Boy Who Lived" didn't strike Oscar gold, another beloved big-screen bunch, the Muppets, finally got their due. "The Muppets" earned the best-song award for "Man or Muppet," the sweet comic duet sung by Jason Segel and his Muppet brother in the film, the first big-screen adventure in 12 years for Kermit the frog and company.
"I grew up in New Zealand watching the Muppets on TV. I never dreamed I'd get to work with them," said "Man or Muppet" writer Bret McKenzie of the musical comedy duo "Flight of the Conchords," who joked about meeting Kermit for the first time. "Like many stars here tonight, he's a lot shorter in real life."
Filmmaker Alexander Payne picked up his second writing Oscar, sharing the adapted-screenplay prize for the Hawaiian family drama "The Descendants" with co-writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Payne, who also directed "The Descendants," previously won the same award for "Sideways."
Payne said he brought his mother to the ceremony, and that she had demanded a shout-out if he made it onstage. "She made me promise that if I ever won another Oscar I had to dedicate it to her just like Javier Bardem did with his Oscar. So mom, this one's for you. Thank you for letting me skip nursery school so we could go to the movies."
Woody Allen earned his first Oscar in 25 years, winning for original screenplay for the romantic fantasy "Midnight in Paris," his biggest hit in decades. It's the fourth Oscar for Allen, who won for directing and screenplay on his 1977 best-picture winner "Annie Hall" and for screenplay on 1986's "Hannah and Her Sisters."
No fan of awards shows, Allen predictably skipped Sunday's ceremony, where he also was up for best director and "Midnight in Paris" was competing for best picture.
"Rango," with Johnny Depp providing the voice of a desert lizard that becomes a hero to a parched Western town, won for best animated feature, while Iran's "A Separation" won for foreign language film. "Undefeated," a portrait of an underdog high school football team, won for documentary feature.
Billy Crystal got the ceremony off to a lively start with a star-laden montage in which he hung out with Justin Bieber and got a wet kiss from George Clooney. Back as Oscar host for the ninth time, Crystal also did his signature introduction of the best-picture nominees with a goofy song.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
"The Artist," a black-and-white movie from French writer and director Michel Hazanavicius, also picked up Spirit Awards for its star Jean Dujardin, who portrays an actor whose career collapses with the advent of the talkies, in the best actor category and Guillame Schiffman for cinematography.
The film's makers arrived in Los Angeles directly from Friday's Cesar honors in France, and had to be brought to the Spirit Awards from the airport with a police escort. But they shrugged off any jet lag to happily accept their awards.
About Sunday's Academy Awards, the world's top film honors, he admitted a touch of "stage fright ... (An Oscar) is something that we have had in our eyes for a long time, so I can't say I'm super cool.
"But today, this is important too," Hazanavicius added, pointing to his Spirit Award. "This means a lot because it ('The Artist') is a small movie. It's not expensive."
The nearest rival to "The Artist" for Spirit Awards was family drama "The Descendants," which claimed two honors: best screenplay for Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash; and best supporting actress for Shailene Woodley.
The Spirit Awards are given out by Los Angeles-based, non-profit group Film Independent, and are widely considered among the top trophies for low-budget and art house movies.
Other top Spirit Awards went to Michelle Williams for best lead actress with her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn." Williams, too, is nominated for Sunday's Oscars, but is widely considered an underdog to Viola Davis in "The Help" and Meryl Streep as former British Prime minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady."
Williams noted the low-budget nature of indie filmmaking when she accepted her Spirit Award onstage, saying the first time she had been at the show that takes place near the beach, she'd arrived in her own clothes and had done her own hair - no glitz and glamour of the Oscar red carpet.
"I still remember the feeling that in the room, unlike others, that was okay, possibly even preferred," Williams said. "I want to say thank you for supporting me and welcoming me and making me feel at home in this room, all the way back then and now, where the only thing that I own, that I'm wearing, is my dignity."
"It's taken me the longest time to realize the Spirits Awards have nothing to do with booze, so pity that," Plummer quipped about the casual atmosphere at the so-called Indie Spirits that is as much cocktail party as award show.
Film Independent also spotlights first-time filmmakers and others on the rise in the industry. In that arena, financial meltdown movie "Margin Call" picked up two trophies including best first feature film for director J.C. Chandor. Will Reiser claimed best first screenplay for cancer comedy "50/50."
Finally, Iranian divorce drama "A Separation" was named best international movie, and "The Interrupters" picked up the Spirit Award for top documentary.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Christian filmmaker Tracy Trost of Trost Moving Pictures (“The Lamp,” “A Christmas Snow”) is the featured guest as Cheryl Ariaz Wicker reports on location from the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. Check back weekly for another interviews about Christian, family-friendly and redeeming movies on www.ChristianMovieConnect.com. Also, please LIKE Christian Movie Connect on Facebook
Friday, February 24, 2012
Industry insiders tell me that 10,000 new people arrive each month in Hollywood looking to break into the industry. They also tell me that approximately 10,000 people also leave every month broken and disillusioned. Somewhere in those numbers are 200 individuals who believe they have been called to go to Hollywood and transform the industry. Those Christians who work in various ministries in the industry also tell me that less than 10% have a real chance to make it in the business. Those are sad numbers. So what can you do to improve your chances? How can you have success in Hollywood both professionally and spiritually?
First, you must have a solid relationship with God. If you don’t, the media industry, especially Hollywood, will chew you up and spit you out. If you don’t know who you are in Christ, don’t ever consider pursuing a career in mainstream media. If your relationship with Christ is close and personal, you will know without any doubt if you have been called to Hollywood to pursue a career in media. Don’t move on unless this is crystal clear. A strong relationship with God will also lead you to seek fellowship and support groups who can help you in your spiritual and career development. I’ve talked to a lot of Christians who thought they could make it on there own. We all need help. There are Christians who work in Hollywood who can help and support you.
Second, you must love the people in this industry. People who work in entertainment and media whether in Hollywood or any other town, quite frankly, are different. Artists often don’t fit into the mainstream model. They are a different breed. More often, they will be more liberal in their views on politics, lifestyle choices, philosophy, and religion. You won’t find many Christians working in Hollywood and the mainstream entertainment industry. You will undoubtedly be a minority. They will talk differently, react differently and will be self-centered. Can you deal with that?
Thursday, February 23, 2012
God can use all forms of media including movies to express His glory and power. Almost anything we believe, whether about our culture, our nation, society or about ourselves can be found in our media. And, for many people, how they view God is also found in the movies. Movies express our wants, fears, hurts and desires. Media, particularly films, can shape public perception, educate, and enlighten all of us. They can offer us insight into the human condition and our desire to find truth. They challenge us to consider our life choices as well as the pathway that we are currently pursuing.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I wrote The Red Pill from the perspective of a Christian worldview. The book laid out a blueprint on how people of faith could use visual media to fulfill the Great Commission, be a witness for Christ, and build the Kingdom of God. The book makes the case that we need to train and equip future media professionals to think, work, and function as missionaries in mainstream media and entertainment.
First, if you’re ready to get off of the merry-go-round which is what I described as our contemporary American lifestyle, then you are most definitely a candidate to read The Red Pill. In the book, I write about how the media culture has created a “perceived” reality that we have accepted as normal and routine. Our lifestyles reflect this view. What the mass media culture proclaims, we accept without question, and we become a reflection of that reality.
Another good candidate to read the book is someone who believes that God has a unique plan for his or her life. We have all been called to do something in the Kingdom. The Red Pill will help you to better understand how to connect with God and how to find your calling.
If you are motivated to discover how God is at work in the world, then I believe The Red Pill is an essential read. I don’t have any question that God is at work in all human activity, and that includes the media and entertainment industry. This really isn’t a difficult book to read and understand. I make the case that God is at work in the world, and all he wants us to do is to join him in that work. He’s not a distant God but one that is intimately involved in our lives or wants to be.
There you have it. If you fall into any of these categories, then I hope you pick up a copy of The Red Pill, The Cure for Today’s Mass Media Culture. It is available online through Amazon.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Here’s one that definitely is making my list. The film is Take Shelter and it debuted back in January 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival. Take Shelter went on to win high praise not only at Sundance, but it also won the critic’s Grand Prix Prize at the Cannes International Film Festival. It received only a limited release back in the Fall. What a shame.
Take Shelter deserved to be nominated for Best Picture of the Year. If there was any justice at the Academy Awards, it would at least have gotten a nomination. If I had a vote in the Academy, it would have gotten mine. It’s just totally ridiculous that it didn’t make the cut.
We see it in our headlines every day—Global Warming, Economic Meltdown, Talk of War, Iran Obtains Nuclear Weapons, Political Unrest and Potential Terrorist Plots. The reason this film works so well is because on some level most of us believe that some looming disaster is forthcoming, whether it’s economic or environmental. And as a result, the life we now live could be a distant memory. For example, on one recent network, a new show debuted called Doomsday Preppers. The show follows the lives of average Americans who are preparing for some unknown future doomsday event. There’s no doubt that something has changed fundamentally within our society.
The family is by no means well off. Curtis has a decent job and lives in a modest home. Family life is good, and his best friend and co-worker, Dewart (Shea Whigham), describes Curtis’s life as “the good life”. Unfortunately, all of that is about to change. Curtis starts to experience apocalyptic visions of a huge storm brewing on the horizon. It produces a brownish type of rain that may very well be toxic in nature. Neither Curtis nor the audience really know whether these visions are projections or premonitions. Is he hallucinating or losing his mind?
Take Shelter is a complex film on many levels. First, this film is unusual in its honest look at mental illness and the very things that keep us sane. Second, it plays on our fears of the unknown. In some ways, just like Curtis, we are all trying to hang onto the things that are precious to us.
Take Shelter is an utterly frightful film. There’s no blood, no explosions, and no creepy things jumping out at you. When we allow our fears to take control of us, I can think of nothing that is more frightening. Take Shelter is a “must see” film. It will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way to the surprising end. It’s one of those movies that has the ability to spark meaningful conversation.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Join host Cheryl Ariaz Wicker as Christian Movie Connect takes you to the red carpet premiere of the faith-based movie “New Hope” starring Ben Davies (the rookie cop in “Courageous” by Sherwood Pictures). Experience the excitement and glamor of the event as you meet the stars and find out what attendees had to say about the movie!
Saturday, February 18, 2012
ASHLAND — A movie written and directed by Ashland native Isaac Stambaugh will make its world debut Sunday at the Derby City Film Festival in Louisville.
The comedy, “Smells Like Community Spirit,” was one of 10 feature films accepted into the festival, which accepted a total of 56 feature and short films out of 400 submissions. It will be screened at 2:30 p.m. at the Clifton Center.
The film follows Oliver Stanton on a journey of entrepreneurship: he left corporate American and bought a bowling alley in the tiny town of Scarberry, Ohio, only to learn retail giant Mega Value Mart planned to open a new store in the middle of the town’s park. Ashland native Joe Body, who wrote and directed the movie “Hitting the Nuts,” appears in Stambaugh’s movie.
Stambaugh, a graduate of Ohio University Southern, has produced 72 episodes of the award winning program "The Zone" music video show. He has acted as producer, production manager, first assistant director and editor on Boyd’s movie as well as the feature films “Fenced Off” and “A Strange Brand of Happy” starring Grammy winner Rebecca St. James and Academy Award winner Shirley Jones.
Boyd and buddy Brad Wise raised $2,000 for the shoestring shoot.
“We looked at it like an experience to see what we could accomplish in a short amount of time and few resources,” he said. “Our goal was to get enough material that wasn’t horrible.”
He said it turned out much better than expected and he was proud of the end result, so he submitted it to the Cincinnati Film Festival. The film wasn’t selected, he made some changes and then it was accepted into the Derby City Film Festival. He’s awaiting word about the Wet Your Pants Comedy Festival in Indianapolis.
This weekend, “Smells Like Community Spirit” isn’t a finalist for an award, Stambaugh said, but will be eligible for an audience award, which is based on attendance and ratings from the audience during the festival. He will find out Monday if the film received an audience award.
Don Moore, assistant professor and director of electronic media at OUS, said Stambaugh was fully prepared for movie making when he arrived as a student there.
“What words come to mind when I think of Isaac — creativity, innovation and leadership,” Moore said. “He was an excellent student and person and he opened the door for several of our students to assist on the production. Plans are under way now for a premier to be held here on campus of this current film with portions of the proceeds coming back into the electronic media program, and for that we are truly grateful.”
For more information, visit smellslikecommunityspirit.com
Friday, February 17, 2012
You remember the movie Rocky, where Sylvester Stalone’s character, Rocky Balboa, was given a chance at the title for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. It really wasn’t about winning the fight but was about proving to himself that he had self worth, value as a person, and that he wasn’t just another bum on the street corner. His quest was to go 15 rounds with the Champ. And, if he was still standing, it would validate his life.
We’ve seen this formula repeated time and time again with other fight films such as The Wrestler, The Karate Kid, Million Dollar Baby, and The Fighter. Now comes along a new movie, The Warrior, from Director Gavin O’Connor that honors the tradition of Rocky and other great fight films. The Warrior contains more emotion, conflict, truth, reality, and honesty than you can find in ten films combined. This film is utterly gripping, blunt, and powerful. It is relentless in the telling of the human condition.
Bottom line if you are looking for a film that connects on an emotional level and offers a heavy dose of reconciliation and redemption, then The Warrior fits the bill.
The movie is basically a story about two estranged brothers and their relationship with their alcoholic and abusive father. Tommy Riordan (Tom Hardy) is fresh out of the marines where in Afghanistan his best friend was killed in action.
As the story plays out, the other brother, Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgeton), lives in Philadelphia and teaches Physics at a local high school. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart, Tess (Jennifer Morrison). Brandan and Tess along with their children face financial difficulties due to medical bills and face foreclosure.
Brandan, a former UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fighter, is forced to pick up club bouts to make ends meet; however, this doesn’t play well with school administration. Unfortunately, Brandan is suspended without pay. After a series of events, Brandan is given an opportunity to fight in Sparta as well. This sets up a classic battle as the two brothers are on a collision course. But, more importantly, they are locked in an emotional battle with each other. There is a tremendous amount of blame concerning past events that cannot be forgiven. Tommy feels that his brother deserted him and their mother when Brandon decided to elope with Tess. Both brothers are also trapped in their relationship with their father.
I have always been a fan of Nick Nolte’s work. His performance of Paddy is brilliant. In fact, this is the type of role that Nolte excels in. His gravelly voice and broken facial features fit the part perfectly along with the fact that he is a man who’s seen it all. I’m utterly convinced he is a man who desperately wants to find God.
I highly recommend The Warrior. It may surprise you how well a fight movie can be so human and compassionate.
You can find the movie on DVD and Blu-ray.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Today, we no longer live in a word-based society. We have transformed into an image-based society over the last few decades, and this has enormous implications for all of us. The world we live in today focuses on the headlines, the sound bite, and, at best, perhaps a paragraph. You remember the old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words?, Perhaps today a picture is worth 10,000, 20,000 or 100,000 words. This new reality that we all must deal with is, in part, due to a rapid development in technology that has led to an explosion of Internet usage, which is primarily an image-based medium.
I have witnessed this firsthand. Working with high school and college age students for the past 25 years, I have seen a significant decrease in the ability to focus and pay attention. I can’t count the times I have talked to students while at the same time they were playing around with their mobile media devices. It’s as if an entire generation has been infected with some sort of virus.
Focusing on images or pictures and reading a headline or two means you will only skim the surface of any issue or current affairs. We live in an increasingly complex society. Without reading and thinking, we will not be able to have the perspective, insight or knowledge to make informed decisions.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The conservative message is clear. Big government means you will lose your ability to choose for yourself as well as your freedom. Liberals believe you will lose your freedom and your ability to choose because big business will make those choices for you.
No matter who wins the argument or dictates public policy, we all have lost our freedom. In fact, freedom is only an illusion. Are we really in control of our lives? Whether it’s big government, big business, or the media conglomerates, there are forces at work within our society that have tremendous influence, power and wealth. And they are determined to stay in power.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Over the years, I have realized that media has defined the person I am today. I don‘t believe I would have become a producer, director, writer or, for that matter, the founder of two media ministries without the influence of The Waltons and The Exorcist. Perhaps, there has never been a greater contrast between two programs. But both clearly shaped the person I am today.
During the 1970s, The Waltons was one of the most successful family dramas on television. I watched it faithfully every Thursday night. I seriously doubt that I was the intended audience or demographic that the producers were aiming for. But I made a connection with The Waltons, especially the character of John Boy played by Richard Thomas. I identified with his character and his aspirations. Although we lived in different times and in different places, there were striking similarities. We were both poor with little prospects for the future. John Boy wanted to make something of his life. He wanted to be someone and go to college. I was the same age as John Boy. I could see myself in him. We were both dealing with the same struggles. I cheered for him to succeed. If he could make it, perhaps I could too. If he could dream and work hard maybe in my life anything was possible.
In the early 1970s as a teenager, I saw The Exorcist with a few of my friends. At the time, The Exorcist was a big hit. It was provocative and cutting edge. It was the rage, a must-see film. I wasn‘t sure about God. In fact, I had been to church once in my entire life. I knew nothing about the Bible. And I wasn‘t sure if God even existed. In other words, I was a nonbeliever. I did not have the opportunity or the good fortune to grow up in a Christian home. Call me a heathen.
But after seeing The Exorcist, something changed. Yes, it was the scariest movie I had ever seen in my entire life. But it was more than that. Its seemed so real. Perhaps, for the first time, I had the sense of what evil looked like, and it wasn‘t a pretty picture. I could actually feel its presence. It shook the very foundations of how I viewed everything in life. If the devil was real, there had to be a God, right? And if the devil had that much power, shouldn‘t that be something I should be concerned about? And if there was a war between God and the devil, which side did I want to be on?
The Waltons and The Exorcist are examples in my life of television and movies that helped change me and put me on a path toward God. Today I believe we can change the media culture and create opportunities for others in the same way that The Waltons and The Exorcist helped me as a youth to discover God.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Over the last few years, we have seen an explosion in Christian films.But has the quality increased? Many would agree that there is something lacking in the overall artistic and technical aspects. Is it the writing? The cinematography or the acting?
Perhaps if we had more money, our product would look better. Undoubtedly, the production value would increase. We’d have the time to get more shots. We’d have access to better cameras and equipment, and we could pay for better actors. Maybe, we could bring a writer or two on board to rewrite our scripts.
But I think money is only part of the answer. If we had all of the resources at our disposal, I have a feeling there would still be something lacking, something not quite right. There are many intangibles at work. First of all, are we telling the right stories? Do we really understand the filmmaking process and what films are capable of? Are we so focused on giving all of the answers, that we’re not asking the right questions? What if we focused our attention away from Christian films and concentrated more on redemptive or transformational stories?
Here are 10 guidelines that mainstream filmmakers understand about making redemptive films.
1. Your movie must have entertainment value. People watch films to be entertained. Some Christians have made entertainment a dirty word. When people watch films and television, they are relaxed and more receptive to the message contained within the story. Often, they will reexamine their lives or be challenged to be a better person.
2. Filmmaking is an art form. The art must come first. For most Christians, the message is first. Audiences will not accept this and will see it as a form of propaganda. We must recognize that the divine can be found in art. We understood this for centuries. But, somewhere along the way, we have forgotten this. Film is not a good forum for a 5-point sermon. If we make great art, it has the capacity to move the human heart.
4. Films work better with metaphors and symbolism because you keep the audience engaged in the story. This is a concept that most Christian filmmakers have failed to understand. Metaphors and symbolism help to forge connections between dissimilar objects and themes. We need to realize our audience has the intelligence to figure it out on their own. Stop telegraphing every story element or plot point. Remember, Jesus said in his parables the Kingdom of God is like….
5. Films are a great forum to ask questions. Christians love to ask questions, but unfortunately, we also love to give all the answers. We really don’t want our audience to have to think for themselves. This doesn’t work for film. Jesus used parables as his principle storytelling technique. He often asked questions, but he seldom gave they answers. It was his audience’s responsibility to find the answers.
The wonders of God can also be found in the small things of everyday life which are truly the miracles. We can find the divine patterns of life that exist in the smile of a child and the dawning of a new day. Christian filmmakers often don’t know how to depict the glorious, marvelous and small wonders of God’s grace and love which occur daily in our lives.
7. Redemptive filmmaking requires the ability to question God. We Christians have a tough time doing this. We don’t want to admit we have doubts and are sometimes confused. Perhaps, we think it is a sin to question God. But that’s not Biblical. Jacob’s name meant deceiver, but his name was changed to Israel meaning one who struggles with God. This happened after the all-night wrestling match at Peniel. We have to ask questions. Where is God when we are hurting? Why do bad things happen? As filmmakers, we have to be willing to ask these questions. If our goal is to be authentic, real and genuine, our audience is asking the same questions. Let’s face it. Christian filmmakers paint a world the way they want to see it. Mainstream filmmakers paint life’s complexities and the world as it is.
9. Filmmaking is a visual medium. The key to making great films is to think visual. How do we visually illustrate the personification of art? How do we express emotions—anger, frustration, indifference, internal struggles? Redemptive stories require expressing the intangible in a tangible, visual form.
10. Redemptive stories do not necessarily offer a convenient and tidy ending. Just as in life, there may not be a fairy tale ending as in “they lived happily ever after”. For example, in Bella, it would have been temping to end the movie with a happy and satisfying conclusion. However, both lead characters had their moments of redemption, which were more reflective of real life. Redemption is a complex process and is different for each of us.
You can be a media missionary wherever God decides to plant you. The most important thing to discover is what God is saying to you. Christian filmmakers don’t necessarily have to go to Hollywood to make redemptive films. When we, as filmmakers, forget about our agenda or what we think a Christian movie should look like, then I am convinced God will be able to speak to us. How God is at work in people’s lives is the best inspiration for making movies and media that can reflect his glory and truth. We do not need to create Christian cinema or a Christian film industry. It serves no purpose. God is already at work in the film and media industry. As always, he requires our obedience to serve his will and his interests