Why would a church become a major sponsor of a documentary film festival?
An excellent write-up by Alissa Wilkinson in this month’s issue of Christianity Today helps to demonstrate a few of the important reasons why The Crossing has been happy to partner with the True/False Film Fest for the last several years.
For those not familiar, True/False screens many of the best documentary films from all around the world each year. Not only has the Fest become a highlight of Columbia’s cultural calendar, but it’s also earned a great reputation in the larger film community in the process. Wilkinson, one of CT’s primary film critics, attended this year’s Fest and sat down for a joint interview with The Crossing’s Dave Cover and True/False co-director David Wilson.
The entire article (which also details significant Christian engagement at the Sundance Film Festival) is worth a read, but one quote in particular stuck out to me:
Listening to Cover and Wilson explain their partnership as well as their differences—they talk at length about gay marriage—I find it hard to stop smiling. Part of what makes True/False such a great festival, it seems, is a commitment to principled, civil discussion in which both parties admit their points of difference, while also finding places where they agree.
Our conversation gives me hope for both Christians and the world of filmmaking. Christians can be more than a market segment—they can be a propeller behind great art, even when it doesn’t mention Christianity, even when it focuses on, for instance, issues of ethics and justice that confront Muslim teenagers. These two worlds can work together—not on every issue, not by compromising what they believe, and not by reducing one another to economic units, but by modeling what it means to love and respect your neighbor.
To expand a bit further on what Wilkinson touches on here, partnering with True False allows us to:
1. Help make a tangible impact for the common good.
Every year, we sponsor the True Life Film, which helps raise money for those involved with the film in question—people who have often experienced significant difficulty in their lives and/or are working to overcome it. (You can see past recipients here.)
2. Support good art/creativity.
God is a masterful creator. He also appreciates what he’s made. The first chapter of the Bible demonstrates not only that, but also the fact that he’s made us in his image to do the same things. And that, in turn, is a major reason why we want to encourage and engage with creativity in many different forms. True/False is an excellent way to do just that.
3. Engage in conversations and relationships that we might not otherwise.
True/False encourages us to practice what we so often preach: that we need to respect and engage with people who don’t necessarily agree with us on every issue. Yes, we may have significant differences. But that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate, learn from, and even partner with each other on important goals (see above). We’re really glad that David Wilson and co-director Paul Sturtz have shown a great willingness to approach The Crossing this way, and we certainly want to do the same.
I’m grateful for everything that Wilkinson mentions in these two paragraphs, and I hope we can do more of it in the future, at the True/False Film Festival and in many other situations besides.