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Understanding Christian Filmmaking

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 11/10/2010

Christian filmmaking can be very challenging for any filmmaker. It is a combination of filmmaking and spreading the word of God.

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    Filmmaking Christian filmmaking is different from any other type of filmmaking. Given the aim of Christian filmmaking of preaching the Gospel, Christian filmmakers are tasked to convey the messages of love, faith and forgiveness without their audience losing interest on their films. There are several things that Christian filmmakers should remember in making their films.

    While Mel Gibson is highly credited for making a successful foray into Christian filmmaking with his movie on the last few days of Jesus Christ, it does not mean that Hollywood has had a good track record in coming up with Christian movies. For the most part, Hollywood has only focused on historical dramas involving biblical characters.

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    Defining the Audience

    Cinema Christian filmmakers should know who their target audience is in making Christian movies. The audience of Christian movies could be fellow Christians or the rest of the world which has still to know Christ. These major groups of audience can still be made up of other demographics like single adults, children, couples, and individuals of other beliefs like Muslims and atheists.

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    Style and Approach

    Frame After defining the audience, Christian filmmakers can then decide on the style and approach to their films. If their audience is Christian viewers, their movies should then be focused on strengthening the values, faith and belief in their God. If the audience is non-Christian, a different style is adapted, one which would introduce Christianity and its values while at the same time, not offending the beliefs and perspectives of other religions. Christian filmmakers should also make sure that while their films are evangelistic in nature, the style and approach of the film would not necessarily alienate viewers who have other beliefs or perspectives in religion.

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    Uphold Christian Values

    Christian Values Most Christian filmmakers today fail to exhibit the values, beliefs and perspectives of Christians in an effort to come up with a more commercially appealing movie. But this defeats the purpose of Christian filmmaking itself, which is to spread the teachings of Christ through filmmaking. Christian filmmakers should not fall for the trap of coming up with watered down movies that fail to give a truthful picture of Christ, His teachings, and what a model Christian lives by.

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    Christian filmmaking is about more than simply telling a story. It's also about spreading the word of God through film. Learn more about how to get into the field of Christian filmmaking here.
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    Make Compelling Storylines

    Story As in any other film genre, Christian films need a compelling storyline in order to be successful in sending out its message to its audience. Christian filmmakers can uphold Christian values by coming up with good storylines. They should be in control of every facet of production, from storyboard creation to choosing of actors to distribution. This way, they can ensure that they have control over the stories told in the film. Christian filmmakers should also have compelling storylines that emphasize on universal truths like triumph of good over evil. It also helps to use storylines suggesting Christian teachings like Jesus being the Way, and the forgiveness He brings to everyone. After all, a Christian film isn’t really one if it fails to underscore the teachings of Jesus Christ.

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    Christian Film Festivals and Trainings

    Film Festival There are also Christian Film Festivals created to gather Christian filmmakers to present their creative films. These film festivals include Christian Film Festival of America, Sabaoth International Film Festival, Christian Youth Film Festival, Real Life Film Festival, Phoenix Christian Film Festival and San Antonio Film Festival, among others.

    Professional filmmakers are also active in supporting interested and budding filmmakers in the making and understanding Christian films in the form of a Summer Camp. The Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp is a week-long hands-on filmmaking workshop hosted every summer in Southwest Colorado. The camp is not just a plain lecture about Christian films, but students are provided with hands-on experience in running a camera, applying camera techniques, indoors and outdoors shooting, lighting strategies, production process, scheduling, planning, location scouting, film directing and experience the different aspects of filmmaking including the technical, Gospel promotion and proper communication between the film director and director of photography.

    Upcoming Rocky Mountain Cristian Filmmakers Camp is scheduled on June 12-18, 2011. To join the camp, simply download their registration form available for the first 12 students only.

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    Image Credits

    Filmmaking: / Supplied by Karl Binder -

    Cinema: / Supplied by Salvatore Vuono -

    Frame: / Supplied by Salvatore Vuono -

    Christian Values: / Supplied by Graur Razvan Ionut -

    Story: / Supplied by Simon Howden -

    Film Festival: / Supplied by Francesco Marino -