Filmmakers Dwight Gibson and Evan Koons visited Regent University to take questions from College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) students about their recent video series, “For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles.” Students have been watching the series which takes an artistic approach to answer the question “what is my salvation for?” The creators talked about their inspiration and mission during a CAS assembly Monday, April 6.
“We wanted to rekindle the Christian imagination,” said Koons. “Wonder and Christianity should be anonymous. That was something we felt just wasn’t. People are bored for the Lord. How is this possible? Whimsy and church should be related. There should be something there in the embodiment of the gospel that produces wonder in the world, and for me, that was the direction we had to go.”
The filmmakers examined other Christian video series before producing their own. They said they saw a lot of talking heads and wanted to take an approach with fewer words and more imagination.
“We wanted people to think and to process,” said Gibson. “When it comes to the things that influence us, there are all sorts of non-fiction books where we get facts and figures, but when it comes to metaphor, when it comes to story, it’s movies and things that we live into that we watch that actually influence us deeper.”
Gibson and Koons sought to demonstrate how faith can be lived out by using metaphors, stories and surprises. They say their creative process involved three people sitting in a room for nine months with post-it notes, music and YouTube. After picking apart and sorting through hundreds of creative works, they judged their own ideas with the metrics of “idiot” and “genius.” The “genius” ideas turned into content that examines the topic of what it means to be in the world but not of the world.
“The Church is the Body of Christ in the world,” said Koons. “Live that out. Live out His gift, know that you will suffer for it. What do we know about the body of Christ? That it was bruised and broken for the life of the world, given as a gift. My advice to you is to live into that memory and know that as we pursue that, it will look meaningless at times. It will look dark, it will look like death, but the way of Christ is the way of the cross and at the end of that is life.”
Both creators shared their advice for living out faith and being creative in Christ while taking a different view of culture.
“We are not victims,” said Gibson. “We live in a world today where everybody wants to be a victim, or we’re all presented to be victims. Yes, we all have our issues and opportunities, we all have our problems, but in Christ we are new creatures. When it comes to thinking about this, ask yourself ‘Who am I in Christ?’ and ‘What does it mean to be a new creature?'”