By Wesley Strackbein — July 20, 2007
Hundreds of culture changers will be gathering in San Antonio on October 22-24 to discuss a replacement industry for Hollywood as part of the Third Annual Christian Filmmakers Academy. The Academy, a project of Vision Forum Ministries, is designed to give Christian filmmakers the nuts-and-bolts skills to succeed in creating films for the glory of God.
“In the past, Christian filmmakers who have grown up with Hollywood have been prone to create culturally poisonous and financially wasteful films,” noted Doug Phillips, president of Vision Forum Ministries and founder of the Christian Filmmakers Academy. “While desiring to be different from Hollywood, they’ve tended to unwittingly default to the destructive Tinseltown trends in structuring their projects.”
“Today’s filmmakers need some historical perspective,” remarked Geoff Botkin, a seasoned filmmaker and faculty member of the 2007 Christian Filmmakers Academy. “In the late 1920s, the Hays Code committed Hollywood filmmakers to the responsibility of producing films that would be ‘directly responsible for spiritual or moral progress, for higher types of social life, and for much correct moral thinking.’
“In departing from this responsibility, the modern cinema industry has departed from both culturally uplifting and intellectually stimulating content,” Botkin explained. “Habitual movie-goers have been compromised mentally as well as morally. Almost by default, the current Hollywood industry reinforces this feeblemindedness with each studio project. Sadly, many Christian filmmakers who aspire to make superior films have sought to do so on this bankrupt foundation.”
“But a new generation of Christian filmmakers has come to the fore,” said Phillips. “The Christian Filmmakers Academy exists to help these aspiring culture changers find success outside of Hollywood as part of a rising replacement industry built on biblical presuppositions of aesthetics, morality and cultural influence.”
“Our goal is to help students recover the lost traditions that will equip them to make films that advance rather than undermine the Christian worldview ethic &mdash films with cultural, moral, and artistic integrity,” Phillips continued.
The Academy will offer more than sixteen hours of formal classroom instruction from seasoned industry professionals, personal discussion and interaction with school faculty and guest lecturers, and the opportunity to network and build professional personal relations with like-minded individuals interested in independent Christian filmmaking. Panavision and Final Draft, industry leaders in precision camera systems and script-authoring software, have returned as sponsors for this year’s event.
“We are endeavoring to give our film students the best tools and the best training available so that they can engage successfully for Christ’s glory in this critical arena of the arts,” remarked Phillips.
Classroom topics will include: an introduction to Christian philosophy of independent film, lighting techniques, camera-work, editing basics, animation, production logistics, choosing projects, making public affairs documentaries, producing a human interest short, how to direct a television multi-camera studio project, a live critique/analysis of students’ work, ideas, projects, and more.
“Hollywood elites have defined the terms of engagement in the film industry for far too long,” observed Phillips, “We reject their standards, but rather than curse the darkness, we are here to light a candle — to create an alternative industry that gives hope through films that champion the standards found in the Word of God.”
“The motion picture is one of the most influential cultural tools for shaping the thoughts and behavior of modern nations,” continued Phillips. “Movies can be used for good or ill. Any serious effort to recover coherent foundations of civil society must include an effort to replace the disintegrative cinema traditions of today’s corrupt industry, and this is where we’ve set our sights.”
Following the Third Annual Christian Filmmakers Academy, Vision Forum Ministries will host the Fourth Annual San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival on October 25-27 which features a $10,000 Jubilee Award for the top film submission. For more information on the Film Academy and Film Festival, visit www.independentchristianfilms.com.