I love movies. I love eating popcorn.
These two admissions is not why I’m a filmmaker.
The other day I sat to watch a movie. Had my popcorn in hand with just the right amount of salt and surprisingly the previews were still playing. Normally I arrive a little late and miss the previews.
It was almost completely empty in the theater except for a father and son sitting in the back row and two teenage girls sitting behind me three or four rows from the back. They were right behind me so I could hear them talking during the previews.
The preview of the movie Risen came on and I got excited. I’ve seen this trailer before and was impressed with the quality and care the studio put into this faith based film. If you don’t know about this movie it’s a Christian fiction film about a Roman soldier trying to find the body of the crucified Christ. On his journey to find the body his world is changed dramatically. You can view the trailer here:
After it was over I heard one of the girls say, “that looks really good.” The other girl laughed at her prompting the girl that said it to recant a bit. “I haven’t been to church in a long time; that just looked good.”
Yes! Yes! Yes! I couldn’t contain myself, I was fist pumping in my seat (hopefully they didn’t see me acting like a little boy) and nodded my head in a cocky fashion telling myself that is why I’m a filmmaker. How many times have I had to put up with the garbage in movies to see a great story? I could easily walk out in protest but instead I put up with it, turn away sometimes at inappropriate scenes, just to get through to the story.
Well, it’s time to turn the table on the world and the domain that the devil has owned for the last 40 years. It’s time for Christian filmmakers to produce great stories. Not great sermons hidden in a movie format but great stories. This will force the viewing audience to make a choice.
Do I go to a film where a character believes and does things I don’t believe in? If the story is good enough (story arc, timely conflicts, hero, villain, etc.) the answer is YES!
I’ve witnessed this first hand running a faith based sports league in the Seattle area. Before each game the home team was required to pray. At the end of each game the away team was required to pray. No pray, no play.
Was it fair? LOL, probably not. Did I care? Nope.
After one of the football games an atheist came up to me complimenting the league. He didn’t believe in God, was flagged often for profanity, but desired to play competitive flag football. We were the best in the region, so he played, he told me that he didn’t like the prayer but knew he had to put his head down, shut up, and wait until we were done. Playing good football was enough for him to let us pray.
Same thing with our basketball league. We, a small church based league, had 32 teams with three divisions and the league had more unchurched players than those that attended church. We were a larger league than the neighboring cities (Kirkland, Bellevue) and talked about with all of the ex collegiate players in the area.
Why? Because our motive wasn’t to “church” them or convert them. Our motive was to provide the best football, basketball, softball, and volleyball leagues in the area.
When Christian film starts with the motive of producing a phenomenal story and not ‘share the gospel’ lives WILL BE changed. This is where I think the filmmakers in Atlanta have missed the boat. Their films are based around trying to communicate a message. It should always be about the product, or in this case, the story.
There is coming a day when both atheist and Christian will sit side by side in a movie theater eating just the right amount of salted popcorn watching a movie from the 28p Film Company. For no other reason than to be entertained by a great story.
I love to entertain. It’s fun (unless you are entertaining at the expense of others like Cam Newton then it’s no good) Not only is entertaining others fun it’s proven that those you are entertaining retain more information!!! Teachers, Preachers, Pastors, Worship Leaders, take note!!!!!
When the audience retains more information from a high quality faith based movie a seed planted.
When a seed is planted the Holy Spirit has the opportunity to move.
When the Holy Spirit moves lives are changed.
When individual lives are changed groups of people change.
When groups of people change they think differently and it grows like a virus.
That’s when the revolution starts.
The church God needs more filmmakers.