Communicating Truth in the 21st Century

by Jody Godoy '05

On Saturday, September 28, students and faculty gathered in Wilden Hall of Business and Management for the Fall Festival of Film and Media. The festival celebrated the advent of Azusa Pacific’s new Cinema and Broadcast Arts (CBA) Program and consisted of plenary and breakout sessions pertaining to media, filmmaking, and the role of Christians in the entertainment industry.

The breakout sessions titled “How to Be Successful Making Spiritual Content Films” featured Howard Kazanjian, whose experience includes producing Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Kazanjian, who is also on APU’s Board of Trustees and helped create the CBA program, spoke about the intrinsic appeal of films with spiritual content and the present need for more Christian filmmakers. Kazanjian talked about his former experiences and successes, and said that his continuing goal is “to mold society for the better” by making films “with uplifting content and great messages.”

During a plenary session, students engaged in discussion with Craig Detwiler, screenwriter and instructor at the LA Film Studies Center; Monica Ganas, Ph.D., associate professor of Communication Studies at APU; and Brad King, independent filmmaker and founder of Epiphany Films. The conversation centered on the issues facing Christian filmmakers in today’s world.

One of the questions addressed at the festival was how Christians should approach making and viewing R-rated media. “There is a long and biblical precedent” of God speaking through “R-rated truth, rather than a G-rated lie,” said Detwiler. This is “common grace,” he said, the idea that “God can speak through any means.” For Ganas, the issue involves “having the mind of Christ.” Often, she said, Christians are “of the world and not in it,” when the opposite should be true.

The discussion brought up many of the ideas central to the Cinema and Broadcast Arts Program. According to David Weeks, Ph.D., dean of APU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the goal of the program is to create a “generation of young Christians who are intelligent consumers of and contributors to this industry which has a profound impact on our lives.”