An article about dropping the term “faith-based” from the film industry recently became fighting words among Evangelical filmmakers. Those who felt their films were of a higher caliber didn’t want to be grouped with the “low budget,” “bad story,” “preaching films.” Others felt it was a great label to signal niche audiences to attend films that would interest them.
The argument continued with a comparison of which films are “Christ honoring” and which are not. Further griping surrounded the idea of filmmakers taking “artistic liberty” with the subject versus honoring the “biblical cannon.” The heated words started to spin in my mind as I read each viewpoint. The result: I laughed.
This was the same argument about who was better to follow: Paul or Apollos. The answer is neither man, but instead follow their leader. Making an important decision based on one or two words, rather than a directional conversation about how to move the industry forward is ludicrous.
There are several Christian filmmaking organizations that support “faith-based” filmmakers. Each group is capable of defining these marketing terms for audiences. But until that void is filled, the distributors will continue to define things based on their lack of understanding within the niche markets reached.
But until this changes, I’ll keep laughing at the social media arguments. And, I might even suggest that those who want the “faith-based” label use it and those who don’t should come up with a more descriptive term to promote their films.