Welcome back to Movie Review Mondays! This week, rather than reviewing a film, I reviewed a filmmaker; one of the best in Christian film today: Dave Christiano. The name Christiano is legend to young Christian filmmakers for the duo of brothers Dave and Rich that rocketed the CFI (Christian Film Industry) standard of excellence beyond anything that had been seen before in the industry.

Dave

Dave Christiano:

Dave and Rich were a dynamic duo as a filmmaking team but several years back they both began directing their own films. Interested in the why and how all of this came about and specifically if this split off of the brothers into their own film groups effected Dave’s approach to filmmaking, I had the chance to ask him several questions about the situation last week.

Me: You and your brother Rich made films together for several years but then split to form your own film companies. Now that you’re on your own, so to speak, what is your personal mission for making films and how do you hope to accomplish that mission?

Dave: My brother Rich and I started in the Christian film industry in 1985 and
produced our first 3 films together. We then set up two separate
production companies where each brother would direct his own films, but we
continue to work together on many of the projects. We
also work together on distribution and have since the beginning. Our
personal mission is the same as it’s been since day one: produce movies
with a direct message for Jesus Christ for evangelism or Christian living.
The objective and goal have not changed and we don’t plan for it to.

Me: I’ve heard that you are taking a unique approach to distribution with your latest project. Tell me a little about that.

Dave: This new movie, “Remember the Goal”, is coming to theaters ONLY on Aug 26th. No DVD and no VOD. Just theaters. We are going back to the way it was when
we first started, which was just public performance. Back then it was
church rentals, now it is theaters. The distribution of movies has gotten
very difficult for a Christian film producer. If people want to continue
to see Christ-centered films produced, they need to support the ones that
truly are.

You may have noticed that Dave used the phrase “Christ-centered films”, but what does that really mean? Does it just mean Christian films or is there something more significant about it? What defines a Christ-centered film, and what are the necessary criteria that a film must meet to be considered centered around Christ? These were all good questions I asked and he responded with some very surprising answers. Dave’s perspective on life and particularly visual media is unique and refreshing. The more I spoke with him, the more I admired the man’s conviction and passion to make God-honoring films.

Dave: Hollywood and many in the industry have coined the phrase “faith-based”
films. Let me translate that:  it means “no Jesus and no gospel”. We use
the phrase Christ-centered as meaning a movie with a specific message to
point viewers to Jesus Christ, either for evangelism or Christian living.
But, if for Christian living, the movie is bringing Christ into the
equation and not leaving His person, name, or presence out.

I then ventured to ask how that particular concept applied to his upcoming release, “Remember the Goal”; and what, in his own words, was the “specific message to point viewers to Christ”. Or in other words, what “The Goal” was in “Remember the Goal”.

Dave: In making the movie “Remember the Goal”, I try to keep 2 things in mind:
entertain the viewer, and Lord willing, edify the viewer. The
entertainment aspect comes from a story line of how a new Coach trains and
affects her team. This movie has multiple storylines in it, 5 specific
ones, and all are relevant to teens. There are also two lessons for
parents and one coaching principle, that to me, would greatly change the
entire profession if followed. I tried to write a movie that can help
people with some biblical principles for living life. The overall message
of the movie is one Bible verse: 1 Corinthians 10:31.

“…whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

This is a life changing verse if applied to one’s life.
 It changes all you do, say, even think. And all for the better I might
add. Glorifying God gives a person real purpose in life. But it has to
be the right God. What do I mean by that? You glorify the Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, that God. The apostle Paul describes God this way many
times in the New Testament.

It is incredible for me to witness first hand the passion for the calling Christ has given this man. He makes films that make a difference. I’ve never met a Christian filmmaker who is in the industry for the money. Perhaps I’ve not been looking in the right places, but from what I’ve observed by getting to know some of these people, to be in the CFI for money you would have to be out of your mind. There isn’t a lot of money in Christian filmmaking, so these filmmakers are in it for the ministry, not the money.

Me: So, you’re releasing your film “Remember the Goal” to theaters exclusively. I know you’ve been vocal about the reasoning behind this on Facebook, but for my readers here would you just take a moment to explain why this film is being released to theaters only?

Also, being that this question is related, would you say that piracy is one of the major issues that the Christian film industry is facing?

Dave: As soon as you release it on DVD, it gets uploaded illegally to YouTube
and other illegal sites. The income loss greatly affects us.  We need
sales to survive. All businesses do. No business will survive if their
product is for free. I think everybody thinks film people make tons of
money and that it doesn’t matter. Nothing could be further from the
truth. If this doesn’t change soon, there will be no new films coming out. I am planning theaters this fall and next fall with this new movie, and then do some single night showings in between. I also don’t plan to release it on VOD, for the same reason, because the illegal sites tape them off the screen and do their thing. This could be prevented but it’s up to search engines who could make it so that people can’t get to the illegal sites, which there are many! Lastly, I do have a further plan for the movie beyond theaters, but that is something we are working on for
the future.

I know a lot of you see this issues as a very light thing and I often relegate it in my mind as: it’s illegal to upload, not to watch. However, we are stealing revenue from the filmmakers by watching their pirated films rather than purchasing or renting them. Just a reminder: if we want to continue to see wholesome Christian films being made, we need to support those films by paying $7.50 for a theater ticket, or 15 bucks for a DVD. However, as Dave mentioned, “Remember the Goal” will ONLY be appearing in theaters. I encourage you to go see it and support it. For more information on Dave Christiano and when and where you can see his new film, visit his website: fiveandtwopictures.com

As always, thanks for reading.

–the anonymous novelist

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