The Independent Christian Film Revolution
We live on the threshold of a revolution in independent Christian filmmaking. For the first time in more than half a century, Christians have the opportunity to change the terms of debate for this crucial medium of cultural influence by challenging the Hollywood giant. Like Davids sling before Goliaths enormous sword, the weapons of this warfare are unconventional by industry standards, but when wielded with accuracy and faith, they can strike a devastating blow to the modern pagan elites who seek to crush the very witness of God in this nation. At least four factors fuel this revolution in filmmaking:
First, America needs a permanent break from Hollywood. The need for alternatives to Babylon Central is not only recognized within the Christian community, but by typical Americans who are disenchanted with the present state of affairs. The domination of the film industry by Christ-hating, family-denigrating elites, and the general absence of family-affirming, spiritually truthful media at a time when the family is being redefined out of existence has created a vacuum in our culture. Christians with a spirit of innovation who take the field and step up to the plate with courage and wisdom have an opportunity to fill this vacuum by communicating life, hope, and beauty from Gods perspective.
Second, we can market our products without selling our souls to the enemy. In the past, the only way a film could be financially viable was by getting the blessing of the Hollywood studios that influenced the distribution process. At bare minimum, this has usually meant sacrificing the spiritual and creative integrity of the project. The growing availability of alternative distribution networks means that independent Christian filmmakers have the ability to encourage the Body of Christ and influence the culture as a whole, while generating a dollar return sufficient to finance their projects.
Third, Christians now have access to the tools. Technologies which were once primarily available only to well-funded Hollywood studios are now readily available in the consumer and prosumer markets. For less than $10,000, the independent Christian filmmaker can set up a basic digital studio capable of noteworthy productions. For less than $5,000, the Christian film student can have a working platform to make digital film shorts.
Fourth, the path to successful filmmaking is no longer the exclusive domain of humanistic film schools. Recognizing that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, many of the next generation of independent Christian filmmakers will be mastering their craft outside indoctrination centers which do not fear God centers which, consequently, are fundamentally handicapped in their ability to wisely mentor. The rise of less expensive, family-friendly, discipleship-based, diverse creative alternatives for training should be heralded with thanksgiving. The advent of viable educational alternatives is not only the wave of the future, but an event which means that Christians who are willing to think outside the box live at a time of unique opportunity.
(We must remember, of course, that the existence of inexpensive technologies, alternative distribution networks, and alternative education training models in no way ensures the creation of quality cinema by Christians. Careful thought, wisdom, and significant vision are needed to produce culture-challenging media which is not only timely and theologically sound, but retains high production values.)
The Time is Now
My own observations of the burgeoning independent film movement emerging from Americas community of entrepreneurial, creative, and spiritually committed home educators have led me to conclude that the time is ripe to aggressively encourage young men and women to use this medium to impact the culture for the glory of God. (Vision Forum Ministries is located in San Antonio, Texas, a city that boasts several budding film studios and even a new film society in the works run by home educators and dedicated to a distinctively Christian vision of filmmaking.)
The beauty of independent filmmaking is that it allows the Christian to avoid the wide path of assimilation and syncretism with the cesspool and mire of Hollywood, and it opens the door for them to take a visionary, creative, narrow path for the glory of God a path which gives them the opportunity to define the terms of debate and take the spiritual high road. Methodology is not neutral. We must approach Gods work with a vision for methodological holiness. I am reminded of Hudson Taylors wise comment: Gods work done Gods way, will never lack for Gods supply.
It is for this purpose to encourage the next generation and to promote godly independent filmmaking that Vision Forum Ministries is pleased to be supporting the Jubilee Awards and the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.
The Jubilee Award for Best Independent Christian Film
Film categories include feature, documentary, film short, promotional media, and commercial advertisements. There are no restrictions on who may submit an entry, and applicants are allowed to make multiple submissions.
Purse strings of liberal filmmakers have financed moral decadence through film for decades. They have had their day, and now is the time for a reformation in filmmaking. We at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival are endeavoring to spearhead this reformation by giving our ‘Best of Festival’ prize. The goal is to reward that filmmaker who best communicates a Christian worldview with artistic excellence through their work. Numerous other category prizes will also be awarded. Get the details here.