A Filmmaker’s Journal
Four years ago on a June day like this we wrapped production on my first feature film as a writer-director Healing River (then titled Over-the-Rhine). Never dreaming it would take as long as it did for the film to be released–or what the world would be like when it was!–I wrote the words below. I believe them more than ever.
“Fame! I’m gonna live forever!” Those lyrics are from the title song of a once-famous movie that, ironically, most people under 30 have never heard of.
I just finished directing my first feature film, an intense, emotional drama about forgiveness and redemption. To accomplish this, I have been entrusted with an amount of money that (although tiny by Hollywood standards) is terrifyingly large. By that standard, at least, it’s the biggest event of my life.
It’s my goal as a filmmaker to impact people’s lives. But will I? How many people will remember Over-the-Rhine (Healing River) a thousand years from now? Heck, how many people will remember it five years from now?
“Fame is fleeting,” the expression goes. But fame doesn’t matter. What matters is flame. What matters is that my film (or this blog post, or what I said to that homeless guy I drove to the shelter last week) ignites a spark of truth, of healing, of transformation.
Fame fades. But flames spread. It can begin with the intolerant guy who has a reality check while watching my movie and, as a result, raises his children a little more graciously, treats that clumsy barista a little more kindly. When his children (or the barista) pass on the spark of forgiveness they’ll be passing a flame ignited by a movie they may never have heard of. And yet that flame may still be burning a thousand years from now.
So how do you ignite that kind of fire? You don’t. You go to the Source that lit the bush that “was not consumed” (Exodus 3:2) and let Him ignite it, or rather you. And then you pass it on. Again and again and again. Because fame may be fleeting. But flame—that kind of flame—
Note: Healing River premiered on Amazon Prime last month and is currently one of Amazon’s highest-rated films. According to the reviews and comments by those who’ve seen it, it has indeed lit a healing flame, and many are passing that flame on (do please add your review there if you’ve seen it). You can watch or order it now by clicking here.