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Friday, March 11, 2005
DAMAH WEEKEND

Here's a heads-up about a cool thing going on in L.A. this weekend. The Damah Film Festival is making its Los Angeles debut, having been an annual event up in Seattle for the last several years.

Damah highlights short films that examine spiritual experience, giving awards for the best projects in categories determined by project length.

One of the smart decisions made by the team behind Damah, was to enlist top Hollywood filmmakers and critics as judges and seminar leaders during the festival. This has pushed the quality level of the submissions and made the event a competitive venue for lots of young filmmakers who would otherwise not have turned their attention to producing overtly spiritual projects. Smaht, as we say in New England.

Events like Damah have an indispensable role in preparing the next generation of filmmakers who want to talk about the transcendant, but who need to get their artistic and professional chops together first.

Having just completed an "overtly" Christian screenplay that I was hired to write, I suddenly have a whole lot to say about the business of putting our sub-culture stories on screen. I think we've all been thinking about it in the wrong way. The answer is not to try and soft-peddle the Christian stuff. The answer can only be to push it. If we make Christianity something in the background, we are lying about what it is. ESPECIALLY if we are telling a story about a Christian hero. If you strip God out as the primary motivator for the radical decisions Christians make, you make us into social workers, or just nice people. This is another kind of lie.

If you know what I'm talking about, you know what I'm talking about. And what I'm saying is very radical in terms of the trajectory of the thought of Christian filmmakers out here. I hardly know myself anymore on this subject.

I think this is what Ron Austin has been meaning all these years, only I couldn't hear him yet.

Anyway, check out Damah. If you can't come, pray for it.