For ten days each winter filmmakers and film-lovers descend upon Park City, Utah, for a movie-watching frenzy. The Sundance Film Festival has been taking place since 1978 and has evolved into one of the premier independent film festivals in the world. Our man on the scene is David Swanson, associate pastor of Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. This week he's attending Sundance with students from Fuller Seminary in conjunction with the Windrider Film Forum to explore the intersection of faith and culture.
After settling in with our host family from Mountain Vineyard Christian Fellowship, a few of us set out to explore the town. On the bus ride into Park City, we interacted with an actress from England, a film music coordinator from New York, and a bunch of high school students from L.A. Later that evening we watched War/Dance, a tragically beautiful and redemptive documentary about refugee children in Uganda.
After a quick night's sleep, we lined up for a 9:00 AM screening of Save Me, a film about a young man's journey through a Christian "ex-gay" 12-step ministry. This was a hard film to see and one I would only recommend sparingly. I left the theatre completely wrecked - my head spinning.
The film portrays the struggles of gay men convinced their behavior is sinful and the attempts to restore them by a husband and wife who believe faith in Jesus is the only way these men will experience wholeness.
One of the things that struck me about this film was how the filmmakers (some who are themselves gay as we learned during the question and answer time following the screening) portrayed the motives and stories of the conservative Christians who lead the ex-gay ministry with tenderness and grace. Is it possible that ...