"God's Not Dead" but is the hope for quality "Christian" cinema?

As a filmmaker and as a follower of Christ, I find myself shirking any moniker of faith when a "Christian" film is released to the public. Often preachy and as nuanced as a baseball bat to the head, Christian films are made often for those who already believe...the choir per say. In doing so, Christian film actually works against itself. 

Now let me clarify that there's nothing inherently wrong with niche genre these films occupy. Many films are made for specific niches...Latino films, LGBT films, Mormon films, Bollywood, etc. As Peter Chattaway says,

"...there is nothing wrong with a Christian “niche”. Christians, like other groups of people, have special needs and interests, and sometimes they require special kinds of films that people outside our community won’t “get”.

The problem lies in the underlying motivation these films...to portray stories that are safe, tidy and sanitized.

In a discussion with some friends about the Old Testament and how rife it is with faithful yet sordid characters. We talked of how we fear the messiness of these stories of adultery, murder, betrayal, deceit and much more. Sure...these tales told to 4th and 5th graders need to be cleaned and scrubbed a bit, but why do we continue to tell these same tidy tales well into adulthood as if somehow our adult sensibilities cannot handle the "dark side" of faith? We find ourselves these very sordid characters from time to time, living the same story lines.

Do we find solace in a formula? Safety in telling stories that portray the world we want but don't ring true with the world we live in? Therein lies the dissonance for me...the stories I see and live as a person of faith vs. the films that attempt to portray people like me. How to proceed...that's the question.

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