Part 4: Filmmaking As Manipulation?

We've been wrestling with the question of just how explicit, in the things of faith, a Christian film should be. Should it be in your face with Jesus and the gospel, or should it be more subtle?

We asked two sharp-thinking filmmakers to help us wrestle with the question. Rik Swartzwelder is an L.A. filmmaker whose short, The Least of These, won numerous awards on the film festival circuit. Atlanta's Angela Harvey is a filmmaker, writer, graphic designer, and founder of Crimson, which produces independent films, gospel tracts and greeting cards.

In an oversimplified nutshell, Swartzwelder believes Christian filmmakers should feel free to be direct with spiritual content—including the gospel—in the context of cinematic storytelling, while Harvey believes such things should be communicated in a more subtle way, if at all. With those assumptions as the starting point, we asked Rik and Angela to debate their positions in an e-mail exchange—which we're now sharing with you in a special four-part series, starting today and running through Thursday.

In yesterday's Part 3, the wide-ranging conversation further explored the purpose of film, and whether "Christian" movies are actually recruiting tools. In today's Part 4, our final installment, the debate wraps up with our filmmakers agreeing on some issues, but continuing to disagree on others …

Angela Harvey writes:

There are two more points on which we agree. We don't need to create movies solely by/for Christians or any other niche audience. And please, Lord, may we never, ever see the advent of "Christian" movie stars!

I'm not going to reiterate my definition of a you-know-what kind of film. But if you run Raising Helen or My ...

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