Editor's note: This is the first of a four-part series about what it means to make "good, Christian movies." In this first part, the author begins by trying to define what is meant by the term.
An excerpt from a radio interview conducted by phone, July 24, 2003:
Radio Host: Welcome back to KIRO, your Christian radio station in Austin, Texas. So we have on the air a Mister David Taylor, who is with some kind of festival here in town—something like a music or film festival, isn't that right, David?
David: Yes, it's the Ragamuffin Film Festival.
Host: So that's great! That's great. Now, David, this is a family-friendly festival, isn't that right!
David: Well, uh, yeah … sure.
Host: So tell us a little about the festival, David!
—38 seconds later.
Host: Well that's great! So there you have it, folks! It's happening this summer with the Hope Chapel: a Christian film festival! Now, David, just to reassure folks out there listening, this is a family-friendly festival, that right!
David: Well … yes?
Host: There you have it! Thank you, David! Now folks, I've got to tell you about these animal rights activists who're suing Kentucky Fried Chicken for abuse of chickens! Would you believe it! I should get my gun and shoot something! That's crazy!
I hang up the phone, genuinely befuddled by the exchange. I sit at my dinner table, staring at a be-crumbed place mat, trying to figure out whether our film festival is "family-friendly" or not. With less than two minutes to catch the attention of radioland, I panicked. I said yes. But why? Was I tricked? What exactly did he mean, "family-friendly"?
Obviously, he'd had something specific in mind, perhaps something in the range of uplifting, positive, clean and inspiring. So if ...