Why Homeschoolers?

While acknowledging that there are a number of independent Christian filmmakers who are not necessarily affiliated with the homeschool community, Doug Phillips also believes that “The up and coming movement, in other words the next generation of filmmakers, it’s at least 75% home educators. The next wave, the next generation, is absolutely being dominated by home educators. It’s not exclusive to them, but it’s very, very strong.”

Why are homeschoolers such a massive contingent among Christian filmmakers? Mr. Phillips continues: “Home education is inherently … a freeing to the creative mind which is held captive to Christ. Home educators have the ability … to stretch themselves in ways that people who are under the bondage of a traditional humanistic model of education, a classroom model, do not have.”

John Moore, homeschool graduate and director of The Widow’s Might, adds that the interaction he had with his parents was vital to his career in filmmaking. “The whole homeschool experience revolves around a constant dialogue between parents and a child. And so you become very good at that interaction that you need with adults. Everybody talks about the need for social interaction, but in an industry, in a profession, it’s more important to understand interaction with adults and professionals than it is to understand interaction with peers.”

Also citing family life as a reason homeschoolers are admirably suited to filmmaking, Doug Phillips says, “Our families are part of what we’re doing. Our families are each pitching in. That means it’s more cost-effective, it means it’s more vision-oriented, it reinforces the essence of what family life is all about. So there’s a beautiful complement between filmmaking and the family for many people here.”

What’s the Future?

Everybody we talked to agreed that the 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival was a watershed for independent Christian filmmaking. The quality of the films was so high, and the level of dedication so remarkable, that it truly marks an epoch within the movement.

But there are obstacles ahead. Independent Christian filmmaking runs directly counter to the agenda of many in Hollywood. Not only that, but with Fireproof having recently broken all records for the top-grossing independent movie in America (Christian or otherwise), it’s clear that independently-produced Christian movies are beginning to cut into Hollywood’s profits as well.

Doug Phillips thinks it’s only a matter of time before Hollywood takes notice of what’s going on and attempts to destroy or absorb the Christian independent filmmaking movement. “I think they will do that by money, by buying Christians out, by tempting them with the golden calf,” he said. “I think they’ll tempt them with big personalities and stars and money and all sorts of things like that, and I think a lot of people will succumb. That may be part of the attrition that we’re going to have to live with as we press forward, because we live in a sinful world.”

But the future is still bright: “For those that have eyes to see and ears to hear, we are going to forge our work outside of Hollywood and we’re not going to quit . . . we are going to be indefatigable.”

Conclusion

The 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival was an enjoyable and inspiring experience. But to us, the most exciting thing was seeing families who are daring to do big things for God—and whether or not the rest of us ever touch a video camera, that’s something we can all aspire to! 

Published on March 23, 2009


Matthew Lewis is a homeschool graduate, self-taught web developer, and Jack-of-all-trades at Home School Enrichment, which he helped start with his family in 2002. You may email him at matthew@HomeSchoolEnrichment.com.

This article was originally published in the Mar/Apr 2009 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Get more great homeschooling help by downloading our FREE 8-page report entitled “The Secret to Homeschooling Freedom” by visiting http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com/resources/report.htm