In my absence, Matthew Welsh addresses an issue that may easily be the reason for our country’s decline in values. What do you think?
I remember walking out of the movie theater after watching Peaceful Warrior feeling a sense of peace, connection and stillness unlike any other time in my life. I had a similar experience after going to see The Passion of the Christ. I left that movie feeling like I had just had a direct experience with the Presence of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I believe some movies are capable of creating these types of transformative experiences that bring people closer to God and feeling more connected to their most authentic Self.
This is one of the reasons I moved from Indianapolis to Los Angeles to work for the William Morris Agency, the world’s largest entertainment agency, after I graduated from law school. I was hoping that I could create a position there where I would help raise awareness for these types of spiritual movies so that more agents, actors and studios would produce and promote them. Unfortunately, my understanding of Hollywood was a bit naïve and my intentions were too that year, writer Patrick Goldstein observed, “No Country is a bone-chilling tale of violence, stupidity and revenge, with a relentless, amoral killer…It is not the only acclaimed movie to have emerged from a forbidding corner of the American psyche. Many of this year’s most compelling movies—notably, two other best picture nominees, There Will Be Blood and Michael Clayton…were meditations on violence, betrayal, revenge and grand ambition run amok.”
This emphasis on darkness and violence in movies was part of the reason I became disillusioned by working in Hollywood and then felt compelled to do something about it. As a result, I created Spiritual Media Blog to raise awareness for emerging spiritual entertainment. It is difficult to define spiritual entertainment. However, a general definition I like is entertainment that acknowledges the impact of the Presence of God in our life and results in us feeling more aware of our most authentic Self. These are not necessarily rosy, upbeat and sweet films. They are movies that inspire us to ask the BIG questions in life such as:
What type of legacy do I want to leave in the world? Can I find
meaning in suffering? How can I fulfill my purpose in life?
Examples might include Field of Dreams, It’s A Wonderful Life, What
Dreams May Come and most recently The Blind Side.
How would you define “spiritual entertainment?” Just asking this question and contemplating possible answers can lead to personal insights and a deeper appreciation for cinema.There are many more spiritual movies like these being made today. However, they often do not get the attention they deserve from agents, actors and producers because most studios are afraid they will lose money or popularity by promoting these films. However, oftentimes when they take a chance on these films, they prove to be box office hits with a large audience such as The Passion of The Christ and even the metaphysical documentary What the Bleep Do We Know which had extended runs in movie theaters across the country.
It is one of my deepest hopes in life that more of these spiritual movies will be made. The genre has not quite reached a critical mass yet. However, there are organizations that are helping spiritual cinema to the forefront. For example, the Heartland Film Festival, Christian Cinema.com and Spiritual Cinema Circle are all examples of organizations that are actively helping to get these movies out to a larger mainstream audience. I believe that eventually Hollywood will “get it” too and decide to produce and promote more and more spiritual movies because deep down it feels that the collective whole now is yearning for that type of transformative experience that cinema is capable of creating.
This article was written by Matt Welsh, creator of
http://www.spiritualmediablog.com/ . Spiritual Media Blog is a news
source for emerging conscious entertainment in movies, books, TV,
music and media.