My experience at Sundance was fascinating!
We had an excellent crowd for the 1st annual "168-Dance" at St. John's Anglican Church. We showed 5 films and talked unashamedly about faith and filmmaking. Pastor/Actor Doug Folsom and Director Wes Llewellyn (UNBOUND, A GOOD DAY, CROSS WALK, THE MOMENT AFTER 1-2) were on tap to explain their films and filmmaking style. Also making an appearance were filmmakers Jeff Bartsch and Chris Roberts (Vote for the cat now at voteforthecat.com).
It was a very interesting to watch Doug Folsom show his film and tell his new congregation about his role in the 168 Film, "I Believe," in which he plays a hypocritical, self-deceiving priest who displays all manner of unsavory sins on camera, including alcoholism and inappropriate contact with women in counseling.
We had a good laugh as he told them of his heart for them and how he hoped to never disappoint them as his character had. He asked for prayer for his purity and commented on the myriad temptations that face each and every pastor, priest and teacher worldwide. Pray for your Pastors!
The foundational verse of the film was "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder." James 2:18-20.
John and Ed Priddy of the Windrider Christian Forum were very kind to allow me to set up a display at their forum at the Mountain View Church. Each year, Windrider invites college students from Christian Universities to come to Sundance, watch the films and engage the culture. They are now the largest single ticket-buying block at Sundance and I was honored to be a part of their excellent program.
Windrider showed several films and held a Q & A with the international group of filmmakers.
At Sundance proper, I saw some great films ("Sin Nombre, "Yes Men Fix the World") and some not so great films. I am happy to say that I would put the best of the 168 Films up against the Sundance Shorts ANY DAY OF THE WEEK! That made me feel good.
"168" Films, for the most part do not wallow. They do not celebrate base and debauched themes.
Many of the films at Sundance celebrate darkness and hoplessness. There are also many gay films featured prominently.
Going to Sundance truly reinforces the mandate we have: to change the world thru the media. It is so very important, for they who control the stories control the culture. And recently, darkness has held sway in the media, be it tv, film or the web.
As we wandered Main Street, my friend and I met a gay man who desperately wanted connection and to be heard. He wanted to tell his story. 50-year-old Corey's parents (from Salt Lake City, Utah) are devout Mormons and they are ashamed of him.
He told us how he'd bought a flat some years ago, and how his lover had poisoned him, trying to kill him and steal the house. Corey was in a coma for some time and though he has recovered, his thoughts are muddled and confused. He is desperate to know God, but he has much trouble discerning what is real and what is lies and distraction.
We talked to him for quite awhile and it was so beautiful that it made me tear up at one point. Absent from our interaction was any sense of baggage or judgemental attitudes on either of our parts. He accepted us for what we were, concerned humans looking out for our wounded, confused brother.
He allowed us to pray for him right there in the middle of Main Street. We prayed that he would receive clarity from the Lord in Jesus' name and that his family and he would reconcile themselves.
I gave him my card and I hope to hear from him and to encourage him to continue seeking all the time. I told him to seek and he will find, knock and the door will be opened.
Thank you Jesus for using me thus.
Pray for Corey.