Monday, April 25, 2011
Re-Imagine Hope For Hollywood
Sat April 9th 2011
I attended a conference at Ecclesia called Re-Imagining Hope with theologian, author and film buff Dr. Johnston from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of 3 books on faith and film, (Reel Spirituality, Useless Beauty etc.) and he does many seminars on the Christian faith as it is depicted in Hollywood films. He encouraged us faithful writers, entertainers and artists to keep our faith by showing clips of pivotal and hopeful scenes in many notable films (like the nun's letter scene in About Schmidt), so that we could re-imagine hope For Hollywood not only for ourselves as entertainers but for our viewers, too.
He used quotes from the hopeful book of Ecclesiastes and how it relates to us today. Then he encouraged us to seek the hope of the Lord that results from the drama and the reality in our performances and products. After that he did a Q&A where I confessed that I like to write escapism films because drama and reality is just too real(lol). Many actors asked how to keep hope alive as a Christian in Hollywood when you are asked to play parts and do certain things on film that are contrary to your faith. Fuller gave the example of Renee Russo (a born-again Christian) and how she handled her role and its required nudity in the movie, The Thomas Crown Affair.
Then we grabbed lunch and we attended break out sessions with other Christian writers, directors, producers, actors and comedians in our respective disciplines. My first choice was the writer's group but the visual artist group was my second choice but everyone got their first choices.
The writer's group had paid TV staff writers and novelists and it was very informative. Then we had a wrap up session with Dr. Johnston and any last questions or concerns were addressed. Johnston announced the Reel Spirituality conference for 2011 called Death Of The Critic with a panel of 8 film critics, producers, ministers and professor Johnston, all weighing in on faith and the rise of millions of film critics via the internet and what it means to the industry. They will also provide lunch and screen an award winning short.
Reel Spirituality Conference
Sat April 2nd 2011
Fuller Theological Seminary
Time: 8 - 2:30 pm