"That needs to be reworded," he said. "I hope that it's never 'Christian movies.' I hope it's great movies from a Christ-centered worldview. To call it Christian, I think, is like calling a T-shirt Christian."
Well that's not the way Christians have approached the idea of "redemptive storytelling," which is what Highbridge pushes as a theme for its films. God always wins in "Christian movies."
"(Asbury) is guiding kids to be Christian filmmakers making quality films that are not descending into the cheap propaganda - the cheesy stuff that Christians often do," said Brian Godawa, a screenwriter who wrote the film "To End All Wars," starring Robert Carlyle and Kiefer Sutherland. "They're deliberately avoiding the propagandist approach of much Christian art. They're deliberately avoiding preaching, and in so doing, they're embedding, they're incarnating Christianity within the story rather than pasting it on top to tell people, 'This is what you should do,' because it doesn't work that way."
"What I love even more is they're not just inculcating (faith) into the film, but they're taking it one step further, and they're inculcating it into the filmmaker so that it can come out of the filmmaker onto the screen in that way," Corwin said. "It's fundamental. I'm really pleased with the vision."
So what these Hollywood veterans are saying is that the idea of Christian storytelling isn't necessarily telling Christian stories. It's telling real stories from a Christian worldview. The country we live in now is so repelled by having Jesus jammed down their throats that anything that takes the risk of doing that isn't embraced by the public. Which is why it is crucial if Christians want to get religion into the media in an acceptable way, they have to start by being good at their art form. Godawa put it this way,
"It's a two-pronged approach that says a lot to me," he said. "They're trying to inculcate the Christian worldview in an appropriate way, but they're stressing excellence to craft. Christians in general tend to have a lower bar because they elevate the content, and they don't consider the craft as important. They don't realize that they're both equally important. What we've seen is Asbury does stress a quality craft as well as the message, and that is so needed in terms of the Christian world and teaching Christians how to engage in the culture."
It will be interesting to see whether or not Christians take that challenge of making the best movies they can make without overtly telling a God story. It's a fine line, and one that I don't think anybody's really pulled off yet, save maybe C.S. Lewis. Even "The Passion of the Christ," arguably the most successful "Christian movie" ever, thrived because of the name recognition of Mel Gibson.
It is nice to see, however, that Asbury is leading that movement.