Ralph Winter is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. He’s produced many of the Star Trek films, the X-Men trilogy, Wolverine, the Fantastic Four movies, the updated version of Planet of the Apes – the list keeps going (about 25 big budget films in all). Ralph’s films have earned over $2 billion dollars for Twentieth Century Fox in the past few years making him one of the top producers in the world. In addition, many tell me Ralph is a devoted Christian – something I didn’t know until just recently.
I got to meet Ralph and several other filmmakers at the Windrider Film Forum yesterday – a film festival sponsored by my school. Fuller faculty have made nurturing the conversation between theology and art a goal of theirs, and Windrider is one of the many ways they hope to achieve it.
The festival kicked off with a discussion between Mr. Winter and Fuller’s own Chap Clark that focused largely on the intersection between faith and art as well as contemporary films and the Christian themes found therein. After their discussion ended, the floor was opened for questions from the audience. One questioner asked Ralph (who is a voting member of the Academy) if he thought The Hurt Locker should have won best picture this year. Ralph flatly said that he’d voted for Avatar and thought it should have won, but politics were involved and that’s what gave Hurt Locker the dubya (don’t worry James Cameron – everyone knows Avatar was the real winner).
After the Q & A session with Ralph and Chap we screened this movie (which is good) and met a few of the creative minds behind it after the credits rolled.
Today marks the second day of Windrider, tomorrow its conclusion. I won’t be able to go back today, but am hoping to tomorrow (and would also like to take a few members of the college group with me).
In addition to last night being a lot of fun, it was quite the educational experience. I’m already looking forward to January when I’ll be able to have similar experiences at The Sundance Film Festival.
Why would I go to Sundance? Because it’s part of a class I’m planning to take on Theology & Film. Fuller is the largest buyer of block tickets for that festival – a little known fact that I find pretty cool!
In other news, Airiel and I are hanging out with the college group tonight celebrating April’s birthday party. Looking forward to good food and even better company! 🙂
Star Trek…Christian? That’s news to me. (Maybe I’m thinking of the series, though.) What a cool experience, Wes! Keep us posted! I love this kind of stuff. 🙂
btw, I thought Hurt Locker was amazing–very individual and psychological. I didn’t see very much politics in it at all, which was one of the things I admired about it.
I agree, Hurt Locker is a great film, but I’m with Ralph – it shouldn’t have won Best Picture.
Mr. Winter said last night that Cameron has set the bar so high with Avatar people will be striving to live up to it for years to come.
Man, there I was thinking of Ralph Winter, the famous missions writer. I think he passed away, though, so I guess it’s best you didn’t shake HIS hand.
Grace and peace,
I didn’t recognize his name, but I love the Star Trek, X-Men, and Fantastic Four movies. (By the way, toethumbs is correct about the Star Trek movies and episodes…some are anti-Christian and/or anti-theistic, but others are very good.) I’ll admit it: I’m a comic book/sci-fi geek who never really lost his taste for the genre as he grew up. Sometimes I even show up at the Trek Expo in Tulsa, but never as a Klingon.
avatar best picture of the year? are you kidding me? it got all the awards it deserved in the technical aspects and what not but at the end of the day its plot was a mix of dances with wolves and fern gully. hands down picture of the year was crazy heart. jeff bridges performance wa amazing.
Sometimes a film takes several viewings to notice all that is there. I think a film such as Avatar is one such film. While I also noticed simular story lines to some of those in Dances with Wolves and I’ll take your word for it “Fern Gully” as well….if you think about it you will find that the simularities do not end there with those films.
The fact is at this point in time there are few original storylines to be had. As a writer I am always able to pick out likely inspirations that the writer or director of a film had borrowed from. Usually its just the look of a scene or a character relationship….but more of that exist then people realize. The only reason I am able to pick them out is my exposure to hundred’s of films and by talent for noticing patterns.
What is left to a film maker or a novelist or even a songwriter for that fact, these days is the same ingredients that have been around since storytelling began. How many songs have entertained you using the same three guitar chords. That’s the point I’m trying to make.
While I have yet to see the hurt locker…I know that I would be able to draw out the same kind of parallels that you did with Avatar. So what then is left is the pallet that you use and the canvass on which you paint…it is in the telling of the story that the journey is to be had and it can either be told well or not so well.
With all that said let’s give credit where credit is due. Most good storylines were originally lifted from the Bible. The truth is all artist are enfluenced and draw upon what has come before us. The stories of good vs. evil, love prevailing in the end, and everything inbetween….have all been told. They are all common themes, even the struggles and victories within the telling of your own life story up till now….is shared by many. So what would you have one do…not say anything at all. I say do not keep quiet….tell your story and let others identify their story within your own. Lets give each other hope and ecouragement in the telling of such stories for in the end all roads lead to the heart of the story…..The heart of Us!
Yeah … and Glee is a great television show :p
I still haven’t seen Crazy Heart. Need to Netflix it.