I had such a fun week last week! On Monday I went up to Beverly Hills to meet with some great Christian entertainment/creative types, over the city's best pizza. There were so many of us, in fact, that we broke fire code! Who would have thought that there were that many Christians in LA?? We all had a ball talking about where God is leading each of us in our careers, and how He is using the very powerful area of film to reach not only the saved...but those who five years ago wouldn't have been caught dead inside a theatrical production listed as "Christian". Our God definitely has a plan!
On Saturday I attended the Biola Media Conference, up in Studio City. Again, I was surrounded by top notch media professionals. Producers, directors, marketers and distributors for some of the most influential Christian media organizations were there. I tried to not act like the newbie I am, but inside I was having fits of excitement mixed with a sureness that THEY could see how little I knew! I felt like a guppy swimming next to the big fish in an even bigger pond! It was humbling, but yet I was left wanting to learn all I could from those big fish. I felt like "Max the Minnow", for any of you parents who have read that book to your own children.
Aside from the sheer excitement of the day, there were some interesting workshops which I attended. One of the workshops was entitled, "Viewing Film from the Eye of the Critic". Very insightful! On the panel was Brett McCraken who writes for Christianity Today, and Justin Chang who writes for Variety. You would think that these two would have perspectives that would be worlds apart. But not at all. The bottom line... It's about the story. It's about how the film touches the audience. How it draws the audience in.
For years, Christian films have been synonymous with badly acted, overtly religious and preachy messages. The story becomes secondary (or perhaps even tertiary)to the perceived altar call at the end of the movie. But things are changing in Christian film!! I am so excited to be a part...or maybe just hanging out at a sidebar, during this advent of relevant, yet well crafted film.
I will leave you with one thing. There was a question addressed to the panel, and I thought it very interesting. It was this, "Would most of the American Christian public be repulsed to see a movie (even if it is written and made using a Christian Worldview) that was as RAW with situations as UNCOMFORTABLE to view as "Precious"?? I wonder if we are ready for the real deal, or if the majority of us want to continue to be spoon-fed light hearted, "good man against bad situation" themes. I wonder...