on christian film, part one

the sherwood picture: with the much anticipated (amongst Southern Baptists) film Fireproof, fast approaching, I suppose now would be a good time to share my thoughts on Christian filmmaking. To me, Christian filmmaking should be done for one or two of three primary purposes:

1: speaking to unbelieving Theatre goers. This doesn’t mean that you make films with alter calls at the end. People won’t buy that. And shouldn’t. this means to weave your message into the story, without poking the audience in the chest. Also, we have to make films that will draw secular audiences. And example: Racing the Wind, the story of how a loser NASCAR driver turned to Jesus, and won the biggest race via. Miracle, is not going to make the cut.

2: Instructing believers (and unbelievers, in some cases). This is harder. And to tell you the truth, this is the area in which Christian filmmakers often do the most damage. Back to point 1, you have to tell a story as well as a message. A good example of a good Christian movie that does this would be Gods and Generals. (and it’s also a Christian film that isn’t afraid to tell things like they are).

3: This is one that is generally stayed away from, but the third purpose would be entertaining Christians.

I am sure there are more and better reasons, but that’s as far as I see it. The question is, what are some examples of films that meet these qualifications? Well, I am going to list a few, but they’re not all ideal. Some are quite the reverse.

sherwood pictures: Flywheel, and Facing the Giants (and the upcoming Fireproof). These are arguably good movies. They are family friendly, more or less entertaining, and come with a host of good messages. When I look at Alex and Stephen Kendrick, I see two men who are striving to honour God with their vocation rather than make money and get famous. But they aren’t perfect; no man is. For one thing, they force whatever point they are trying to get across down people’s throat. For another thing, they have used the same basic story outline for both of the movies they have done. I am not positive that it is a good one. In both movies, the main character’s life is a mess, whether he be a car salesman whose business is going under, and who uses the nastiest business patterns, or a football coach who can’t win a game and can’t have children, and is plagued by financial difficulties. In the end, both turn to God for help. Again, good. And after that, everything is absolutely perfect. They win football games, sell lots of cars, and, through much prayer (again, positive), get over every difficulty to their advantage. Now, it is true that God will bless His children when they come before Him, He may not always change the wind so they can kick the super field goal. But all things considered, the Sherwood movies are very positive, though far from ideal.

getting your hands dirty: Bella has got to be one of my all time favourite examples. For one thing, it has a wonderfully written story, if not a tab bit slow. Every message, particularly the pro-life ones, are carefully weaved into the story, which is remarkably told in and of itself. God’s name is hardly even mention, though God himself is clearly seen. For another thing, the makers of the movie didn’t recoil from anything that would help the story, even though it may have been, “violent”, or “not what they want to see or hear”. that’s their problem. It’s a beautiful movie, and I highly recommend it.


  1. #1 by emmawoodhouse on September 25, 2008 - 9:23 pm

    Racing the Wind? Is that a real movie? You made it up, surely.

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