Changing the World, One Movie at a Time
- Friday, March 20, 2009
Dale Mason, Answers in Genesis, www.AnswersInGenesis.org
“Film is an effective medium for communicating a message because of its power to reach into your heart and mind. It’s absolutely incontrovertible, beyond debate, that film is an incredibly powerful tool. Most people are more likely to quote a line from a movie than they are to quote a line from a sermon. When you view a film … it reaches your sense of vision, and your sense of hearing, and your imagination as well. And it transports you into a world that the filmmaker creates, and he can define left and right, up and down, and right from wrong. And he defines all these things inside that world, and you actually enter this world; it’s like an immersing experience, and you lose track of absolute reality. And what we want to do is, we want to make films that are presuppositionally based on scripture. So that means when you enter the world of the film, it’s going to be as true to the truths of the Bible as the Lord gives us grace to make them. And hopefully while you’re in that world, you will be both entertained and edified in the sense that truth will be reinforced and exhibited through the story and will encourage you to keep pressing on in your faith, or encourage you to embrace the faith, in the real world.”
Chad Burns, Pendragon: Sword of His Father, www.PendragonMovie.com
Another important question is why the Christian filmmaking industry needs to be separate from Hollywood. After all, the Hollywood studios already have the money, talent, equipment, and resources to make high-quality films. Wouldn’t it be better to try to work within Hollywood to produce decent films?
Doug Phillips calls this the “Infiltrationist Synchronist Position,” and while he acknowledges that his own position is the minority view, he does not believe infiltrating Hollywood is an effective method to impact the world through film.
“You could go to many famous people around America who could tell you why it’s so important for Christians to get into Hollywood,” he explains. “And I’m saying, get out of Hollywood. The problem is that Hollywood … is philosophically rooted in a worldview which is in opposition to us. It is a religious enemy of Christianity ... the best that [Infiltrationists] hope to do is to make horrible films not quite so bad. Maybe if we remove a little bit of nudity, take out a couple of bad words, what a victory for the gospel. That’s not much of a victory at all … I still don’t want my children to watch those films. So you took out the junk—the film still hasn’t changed its philosophical message. It just isn’t quite as horrific as it was a minute ago. Well, that’s really nothing to aspire to.”
Curtis Bowers, an attendee at the festival, also agrees that independent filmmaking is the only way Christians can make a difference through the medium of film. “I think [independent filmmaking] is the only thing that makes sense. We’re not supposed to be yoked together with them anyway, and you’re never going to change the people until they accept Jesus Christ, and then they’ll come over to our team anyway and they’ll be with us instead of against us … for the last forty years Christians have tried it the other way and it hasn’t worked.”
Mr. Phillips explains that a “replacement industry” is needed in order for Christians to accomplish great things through the medium of film: “We are about the business of encouraging Christians to do God’s work, God’s way. That’s our mission.”
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