Attending our first Gideon Film Festival two years ago spawned a vision for Walk Right In Ministries to use movies as another of our tools to help people connect and grow through Christ-centered community. We are always looking for ways to help people facing challenges to experience the hope and fellowship of Christ — especially when they are feeling overwhelmed, lonely or confused in their faith.
At the Gideon, it was very fun to preview several movies over the course of just one week and discover the preponderance of quality films with valuable, family-friendly messages. Learning about the tremendous financial and marketing challenges facing Christian film industry was eye-opening and discouraging but seeing the wonderful vision behind the scenes inspired us and served to fuel our interest in sharing movies for ministry purposes.
Our second year at the Gideon Film Festival (held every summer) provided opportunity to screen two films that touched us personally because each celebrated life and relationships where disability was involved — October Baby and Jimmy. Being parents of a child with special needs and appreciating any ministry that promotes God’s goodness in disability, it was especially gratifying for us to have conversations with filmmakers who shared our heart to tell stories that honor people with special needs and highlight God’s sovereign goodness in suffering. Later, our own daughter Erin Jamieson was privileged to have one of her songs used in the movie Season of Miracles which features a boy with autism.
Now in the past 12 months, Walk Right In Ministries has had the opportunity to host public showings of four wonderful films:
OCTOBER BABY — This is a story of healing and forgiveness about a college-aged girl who responds to the revelation that she is an adopted abortion survivor. Bewildered, angered, and confused, she embarks with her oldest friend on a journey to understand her hidden past.
BEWARE OF CHRISTIANS — This is a documentary about four college friends who grew up as Bible-believing Christians in America and did all the “right” things. They soon realized that their biases and allegiances to worldly things had determined their views on Christianity. So, they travel throughout Europe examining what Jesus says about topics like materialism, sexuality, alcohol and entertainment.
JIMMY — Ian Colletti delivers the performance of a lifetime in this heartfelt family drama based on the best-selling novel by Robert Whitlow. Colletti stars as Jimmy Mitchell, a young man whose world is a place where a boy can be a man, even if he’s “special”.
SEASON OF MIRACLES — This family drama features a group of twelve year olds, their friendship with a boy who has autism and their 1974 championship little league baseball season. It is a life-inspiring story about sportsmanship, friendship, and courage in the face of adversity.
Christian filmmakers desperately need our collective support! It’s a little known fact that filmmakers must themselves pay thousands of dollars to get their movies in the theaters.
“It costs about $1,500 to print one copy of a movie on 35 mm film and ship it to theaters in its heavy metal canister. Multiply that by 4,000 copies — one for each movie on each screen in each multiplex around the country — and the numbers start to get ugly.” (LA Weekly – April 12, 2012)
This is why, with increasing frequency, faith-based filmmakers are utilizing a marketing strategy that offers licensing programs to churches who will use their own screens to bring their movies to Christian audiences.
We can support faith-based films with our prayers, by attending or hosting any public screening of quality films and by purchasing the DVDs for our private use. Consider gifting a faith-based film this Christmas or put some on your own wish list.
If you’re in the Minneapolis area and have interest in attending one of our Movie Night with Purpose, we hope you’ll get on our mailing list at [email protected] for the latest news. If you have interest in learning how you can host a Movie Night with Purpose in your area, please contact us.
If you are someone wanting to develop your talents and explore opportunities in Christian media, consider attending the next Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival in Orlando, Florida July 11-15, 2014. You’ll enjoy workshops galore by day and movie screenings by night. There are contests for feature films, documentaries, short films, screenplays, acting and more as well as a student intern program. In years past, we’ve enjoyed early screenings of films like The Grace Card, October Baby, The Shunning, Milltown Pride, Not Today and many more. The atmosphere is electric with experts and “newbies” alike mingling and praying together as family learning together how to grow and share in their crafts from production, acting and screenwriting to music. It’s quite an unusual and marvelous experience where you’ll make friends for life.
I’m so thankful God led our family to a peek behind the scenes of Christian filmmaking. Movie Nights with Purpose have given us the opportunity to introduce some very special stories to a lot of people who are appreciating the quality entertainment, enjoying casual Christ-centered fellowship and sharing in post-show discussions (optional to our audience guests).
Some great films we’re considering as features for 2014 include Not Today, Veil of Tears, Unstoppable and One More Song. Tell us which film(s) you’d like to see!
Some additional online Christian film resources: