When we started Belltower Pictures and set out to make our first film, SHOOTING THE PRODIGAL, we had four goals:
- tell a great story and do it well,
- involve a lot of folks from around the community and give them opportunities to get to know one another as they work together on a meaningful project,
- give hands-on learning opportunities for the next generation of filmmakers, and
- in the process of making the film, model the values of acceptance and inclusion that were the centerpiece of the story.
The audience will ultimately decide if we were successful with the first goal.
I think I can say that we did succeed with the other goals. We had 200 volunteers from a dozen or so churches… and a number who claim no religious affiliation whatsoever. We provided opportunities for 14 interns from universities and high schools throughout Virginia to to learn and improve their skills by working alongside seasoned professionals. The participants reported an overwhelmingly positive experience… forging new friendships, strengthening old ones, learning new skills, and experiencing a positive & collaborative film set.
Continue reading Did we succeed?
After six years in development and production, SHOOTING THE PRODIGAL is complete. I hope it is the first of many from Belltower Pictures, the non-profit film company we launched in 2012 with the mission to “entertain, inspire and tell great stories that reveal spiritual truth.”
Right now we’re sharply focused on distribution and marketing plans for the film. There will be announcements about premiere & release dates, strategic partners and other news in the coming weeks.
I will use this blog to share some of the stories from the journey. And I also want to engage you in conversation around the themes in the film, the most prominent of which are acceptance and inclusion.
Continue reading It’s a film… and a confession
A representative of a major film distributor recently told us, “Your script covers a timely subject/scenario ripe for comedy… We’re rooting for you guys to pull the rest of the finance together and make the film. The market needs more comedies.”
I wonder why there are so few comedies that deal with faith themes. Maybe we Christians take ourselves too seriously.
I think it’s time we lighten up, enjoy this life God has given us, and share that joy with everyone around us. Instead of taking ourselves so seriously, let’s take Jesus seriously. Let’s look at who he was when he walked around in human form. Let’s ask not only “What would Jesus do?” Let’s ask, as Eugene Peterson reminds us, “How would Jesus do it?”
Jesus told stories. Great ones. “The Good Samaritan.” “The Great Wedding Banquet.” And my favorite, “The Prodigal Son.”
That parable is the basis for the feature film in development by Belltower Pictures, SHOOTING THE PRODIGAL. It is a comedy: A movie about a church making a movie about the Prodigal Son.
Continue reading Why are we making this film?