Before he was out of his teen years, David L. Cunningham had seen the world. The son of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) founder Loren Cunningham had visited 100 countries by age 19. Those childhood treks included dining with the rich, feeding the poor, and much in between--instilling him with a desire to tell stories on the big screen.
After graduating from film school, Cunningham made some documentaries before his first indie flick, To End All Wars (2001), about World War II POWs who are abused by their captors, caught the eye of a Steven Spielberg associate. ABC then hired Cunningham to direct The Path to 9/11 (2006), a controversial TV miniseries. The film blamed the 9/11 attacks on the Clinton administration, saying it had missed the chance to take out Osama bin Laden. The Clintons complained, and ABC cut several scenes. Some attacked not just the film but also Cunningham, his faith, and his parents. Cunningham says there were even death threats.
Cunningham, now 40, is working on Day of War, a 3D film about King David and his mighty men, based on the first book in Cliff Graham's Lion of War series. Cunningham promises a "major motion picture in the vein of the Lord of the Rings."
Question & Answer
What did The Path to 9/11 experience teach you?
The fact that my faith was one of the main things used as a so-called weapon against the content was really eye-opening for me. People in Hollywood tried to blackball me. They said YWAM funded The Path to 9/11. They said my dad was a snake handler. It got crazy. But it was a great study in the collision of politics, entertainment, and faith. If you're going to be a filmmaker, you need thick skin. The challenge as a person of faith is how to have ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more