Last night we gathered for the world premiere of our film, SHOOTING THE PRODIGAL. Six years in the making, it is hard to describe how it felt to sit in the theater and see it on the big screen. Surreal, magical, humbling, grateful, nervous, thrilling… those are the first ones that come to mind.
Andy Edmunds, Director of the Virginia Film Office, was generous in his opening remarks. He talked about the importance of the home-grown film industry, and how our project is a good example of the kind of project his office is trying to encourage: conceived, funded, developed, produced, and distributed in Virginia.
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.
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.