A symposium in Hollywood took a surprising turn yesterday, when a panel of experts spent about ten minutes bashing the evangelical film “industry.” Since the normal pattern for Hollywood insiders is to refuse even to acknowledge the existence of any such industry, observers took careful note of what was said.
The discussion began with a joke someone made about Kirk Cameron’s Fireproof, and the panel began riffing (and ripping) from there. But after a moment the discussion did develop in a serious direction.
Stefan Malarney (Hot Tub Time Machine) made the observation that Christian film makers simply refuse to pick material that is true to life. Andre Caproni (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) agreed, adding that unless we address the human condition with integrity, we are denying something essentially spiritual about ourselves. “I grew up in the church,” he said, “and so it is not surprising that I take this failure personally.” Corey Junabian (Santa With Muscles) made the observation that film underscores the importance of story in our lives. “It is ironic,” he said, “that those who claim to be in possession of ‘the greatest story ever told’ have such a hard time with this concept. Tom Smith (Sharknado) concurred, saying that stories don’t emerge simply from a pile of clichés. “It isn’t supposed to be a compost heap,’ he snorted. Angie Rodowski (Herbie: Fully Loaded) wrapped the discussion up at the end. “I don’t have much to add to what my colleagues have said,” she said. “There is a reason that nobody takes Christians in the arts seriously. And it ain’t persecution, folks.”