For Shaun Monson, celebrity is a curse and a crutch. Not his own celebrity, but the 100 famous faces who narrate his documentary Unity. The personal, new-agey exploration of existence has a red carpet full of stars reading Monson’s script about love, peace and understanding, including Jennifer Aniston, Susan Sarandon, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Goldblum, Helen Mirren, Michael Gambon and Australians Geoffrey Rush, Joel Edgerton and Rose Byrne.
Filming BBC’s Songs of Praise from a French migrant camp has been defended by the channel’s head of religion who said the programme is not just about music.
Aaqil Ahmed, the public broadcaster’s head of religion and ethics, said this Sunday’s BBC One broadcast from the camp known as the Jungle, would focus on faith not politics.
He was commenting after filming wrapped at the camp near the port of Calais where a group of would-be immigrants have thrown up a ramshackle church, providing ministry and Christian worship.
City on a Hill Studio’s THE SONG was honored by the Gospel Music Association with an “Inspirational Film of the Year” nomination at the upcoming Dove Awards. The award announcement arrives as the film prepares to make its world television debut, Friday August 14, on EPIX Network.
A music-driven romantic drama that is an authentic, redemptive story of marriage, temptation and success, THE SONG was released theatrically in September 2014 through Samuel Goldwyn, with DVD release in February 2015 through Sony Affirm.
Perhaps the most intriguing elements of the film for me were the questions raised by the ghostly Johannes’ belief that he is Jesus Christ. The seminal moment in which he attempts to resurrect Inger from the dead, and swiftly enters into a blackout once he is confronted with the truth that he is not Jesus, is without a doubt one of the starkest images, and for most of the film perhaps the truest evidence that God has deserted his children. In a universe in which people are so desperately clinging to their fundamental faith and miracles appear to have disappeared, it very much seems like the final nail in the coffin of God. And yet, the finale shows Mikkel and Johannes asking God to resurrect Inger, and the miracle happens. Whilst the ending may put off many viewers due to it’s adherence to the idea of an interventionist God, the moment is one of relief for the main characters. Don’t they deserve that, after we have witnessed their horrendous struggles?
Filmmakers have often found inspiration in the sacred stories of our religious traditions. Join us at the ICJS to watch and discuss some of the most notable films based on traditional religious texts and themes. Each screening will be followed by lively discussion with ICJS scholars and lite fare.
Noah (2014, 138 minutes, PG-13)
Evening showing: Thursday, September 10, at 7:00 p.m.
Morning showing: Friday, September 11, at 9:30 a.m.
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014, 150 minutes, PG-13)
Evening showing: Thursday, December 3, at 7:00 p.m.
Morning showing: Friday, December 4, at 9:30 a.m.
Girls camp, an annual tradition for young women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, can be an experience filled with arts and crafts, scripture scavenger hunts, hikes and a diverse group of girls building a unique bond of friendship and unity.
It’s not unlike the experience that the cast and crew of the new film “Once I Was a Beehive” had while filming the movie.
“Once I was a Beehive” follows the story of Lane Speer, a teenager who spends the first weekend of every month camping with her parents. When her father dies of cancer, she realizes how much she took those weekends for granted.
Asked if he considered himself a religious person now, Craven responded, “I don’t do anything in an organized way.” Rather, he has come to see filmmaking as the most significant way to express his beliefs and longings.
Craven said he found something in the whole process of crafting a film, from the business nuts-and-bolts to “wrestling with my inner demons and inner glimpses of light,” that was more satisfying and beneficial than anything he could have done in traditional venues of religious service.
“I think that’s … the best approach to (the) spiritual … I’m capable of,” he said.
And the filmmaker draws on religious and philosophical categories to analyze the horror-film genre of which he is an acknowledged master.
“Horror films somehow come and confront” the dark, incomprehensible side of humanity, Craven said. “They’re very much like an inoculation against a deeper and darker and more frightening reality.”
Dixie State University and the DOCUTAH International Documentary Film Festival will screen Prophet’s Prey at the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater in Springdale, Utah, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m.
The film, based on the New York Times best seller of the same name by private investigator Sam Brower, chronicles his 10-year investigation into the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints and the abuse of power by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs in the nearby towns of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale in Southern Utah where it all started. Brower will attend the 2015 festival and hold a question and answer session following the screening.
Hollywood is paying close attention to bestselling books about the afterlife, especially since last year’s film “Heaven is For Real” drew $100M at the box office.
In September, Don Piper’s best-selling true story 90 Minutes In Heaven (Revell, 2004) will hit theaters starring Kate Bosworth (“Superman”) and Hayden Christensen (“Star Wars”). The book, which has sold over 7 million copies, chronicles Piper’s death, his time in heaven, return to life, and painful recuperation. Accompanying the new film adaptation, 90 Minutes in Heaven will be available in a movie tie-in edition on Sept. 1 featuring a new preface by the author.
Miracles From Heaven (Hachette Books, 2015) by Christy Beam features the story of Annabel, a young girl suffering from a rare digestive disorder.
In one of the umpteen laugh-out-loud moments in Indian cinema, after checking on a coughing patient, a doctor informs the family, “Ab inhe dawa nahin dua ki zaroorat hai” (Now medicines can’t heal him, only prayers can). Cut to the mother or the wife praying in a puja room, temple, dargah or any other place of faith, after which, almost in all cases, the ‘dua’ works. The blind can suddenly see, a cripple starts running, lost brothers unite. The cliché has been used in film after film, even by progressive writers like Salim-Javed. In mythology and movies, it’s a given that miracles happen.