Multiplex: Media Messages Matter - Film Outreach - Nick Pollard - Cape Town 2010

Uploaded by lausannemovement on 03.10.2011

>> Thank you. A great example of media presence in the world of TV. I’ve been asked to give
you an example from my own ministry that my wife Carol and I founded, media presence in
the movie industry. We founded a ministry called Damaris which responds in many ways
to Quentin Tarantino’s famous statement ‘that cinema is the new church.’
is some truth in that. Certainly films do raise spiritual and moral questions. In many
parts of the world while attendance at church is declining, cinema attendance is growing.
And if films raise spiritual and moral questions in their minds, then how can we help them
as they leave the cinema? That’s what my wife and I sought to do by setting up Damaris.
We take the name from the last verse of chapter 17 of the book of Acts. Paul had been preaching
at Athens using illustrations from the local poets and philosophers of his day. I’m convinced
that if Paul was here today he’d be using the latest film, music and TV to illustrate
his presentation of the Gospel truth and at the end of the verse we see that a lady called
Damaris came to faith. That’s why we call this ministry Damaris. It’s about helping
people come to faith in Christ through understanding God’s unchanging Gospel in relation to the
latest films, music and TV. It’s actually just standard missiology.
Missionaries have
always asked what are the stories that are told around the fire in this culture? How
do they shape people’s beliefs and values and are there ways in which we can use the
stories to communicate the Gospel? We apply the same approach to the global media culture,
where the stories are told not around a fire but are told on a cinema screen. We sometimes
call Damaris missionary training for Christians who stay at home.
We believe that today’s
global media culture puts all of us in a multi-cultural, multimedia mission situation. So we in Damaris
work with the major film distributors to create official resources to accompany the release
of new films. And we’re quite clear to everyone that these are outreach resources. Now why
does a secular film distributor commission us to create outreach resources for Christians
to use to reach their non-Christian friends? Let me answer with an example.
I remember
sitting with the Director of Marketing and Director of Publicity of a major film distributor
that was getting ready to release this film, ”Last Chance Harvey,” with Emma Thompson
and Dustin Hoffman, and I remember saying to them, I reckon you’re pitching this film
for women age 40-plus. They said yes. I said did you know that 20% of your market are Christians
going to churches? And I said, did you know that a further 20% are friends, neighbors,
colleagues of those? So if you commission us to create outreach resources where these
Christians can invite their non-Christian friends to see the film and then talk about
the issues and think about what that tells us about spiritual/moral issues, then we can
potentially reach 40% of your market and that’s what happened.
Here is an example. We’ll
show you a film of a group of Christians from an Anglican church in Britain. We provide
publicity that enables them to invite their friends to see the film. We gear it all to
the opening weekend, which is crucial for the film companies. We provide menus and recipes
for themed food and drink. We provide competitions and trivia quizzes so that they can think
back over the film in a lighthearted way.
But all of this sets the scene for the important
focus. And we call these particular events Film and Focus and the focus is on talking
about the spiritual and moral issues raised by the film. So we provide downloadable free,
relevant clips from the film. They can watch some clips to look back at it. Interviews
with the stars. Dustin Hoffman in this place talking about the issues raised in the film
and then a full leader’s guide so they can put on the event and lead discussion about
the issues. In this case in this particular film it was issues about regret. About forgiveness,
about repentance.
Film and Focus is just one of the number of resources that Damaris
creates around films. As much as possible, we like to get the film stars themselves to
say things and to build packages around them. Here is an example from the popular actor
who many of you will know from “The Office” but also multiple films. He was a star in
the surprise box office hit “Nativity” last year. This is what he said.
>> That clip was downloaded and used by churches all over the country. That was the kickoff
to many sermons and talks when that film was out in the cinema. Here is another example
from a product which I write and present called “Pollard on Film.”
Let’s play a clip
from this and I’ll tell you a bit about this film, which is exciting here in Africa.

[Video shown]

>> Let me tell you that “Africa United” was released in the UK this coming
Friday and we’ve created a whole bunch of resources to go with it. This is a joint UK,
South Africa, Rwanda production distributed by Warner Brothers, and the company behind
“Slum Dog Millionaire,” and we have a DVD with that and other resources, and we
want to give you free so that you can make the most of that film when it comes out in
your country. There is a form you can fill in here and hand it in. The problem is, it’s
on its way still from Warner Brothers in Britain and hasn’t arrived yet. We can’t give
it to you yet, but I will tell you later how to make sure we get these to you. {italicized
portion not included on video segment}

>> Okay. Let’s look at the second part of this
“Pollard On Film.” Because you’ll see I pose a question and then follow it up.

[Video shown]
>> We’re creating these for Pathay but
we work with all the major film studios and I’m clear to them with complete integrity
that we’re about outreach resources providing appropriate contextualized mission around
the release of these major feature films.
But finally I want to share with you a burning
vision which is in my heart which is for a film about Jesus. I’ve come across some
Christian missionaries who have come up with the idea and have written a Christian, a musical
about Jesus and I think there is a huge potential there for bringing this out as a mainstream
film in all the cinemas. When I go back from here I’m going to meet with all the major
studios to pitch the film to them and see if we can get it made by Paramount, Fox, whoever
it will be to make this. I’m going to play you a little clip from it. Can I just say
you’re not going to see – you’ll see a bit of stills and some music, okay? The
final film will be full live action, okay? It is not an animation, it is full live action.
This is just a sample to give you an idea of the music.

[Video shown]

>> I have a
vision of Christians across the country going to their local cinema, watching that, coming
out singing the songs of Jesus, putting them on in their schools, putting that musical
on in their schools and their community groups