“…but I know what I like,” goes the oft repeated saying.
I think there’s actually a lot of wisdom contained there. A piece of art either speaks to you or it doesn’t. Art, at its most basic level, is a primal communication. It is a stylized representation of some aspect of life, with all its associated joy, wonder and pain. And it should be (especially for a Catholic) a gesture, a movement of some kind towards God. But the creative vision of the artist can be either positive or negative: he makes an artistic statement, and the souls of his audience are either lifted up or dragged down. Powerful stuff.
Today, Cinema is arguably the most influential art form in our culture. Yet it often seems the exception rather than the rule when modern film reflects the Beautiful and the True. I would like to help change that. But where do we start?
As Catholic homeschoolers, I believe we are laying the very foundation for a new Catholic Renaissance of Beauty and Truth. I see it everywhere I go: from Charleston to Minneapolis, from Manassas to Houston. In one parish after another, I have met hundreds of young Catholics who are just like those in our circles up here in Connecticut. These young people know who they are, Who made them, and where they’re headed. They are alive, confident, cheerful, curious, energetic, innocent, and optimistic. They are the future of both The Church and our civilization. They are where we start.
At Navis Pictures, we give young people like these an opportunity to make feature films.
They bring to the film set all the creativity written on their souls by God Himself. They come to work, play, laugh, and cry with little or no self-consciousness or fear – perfect natural qualities for believable acting. They eagerly throw themselves head-long into the arduous work of film-making, knowing that they are helping to create a work that will endure, that will be bigger than the sum of its parts.
Our long-term hope is that someday, some of these young people may become those powerful “movers and shakers” in Hollywood who can write the most profound scripts, direct the most beautiful films, turn in those Oscar-winning performances that will leave audiences breathless, and begin to drag our culture out of the muck of moral relativism and pride.
But until that happens, our more immediate goal is simply to tell inspiring stories with beautiful images that the entire family can enjoy together. In city after city, at conferences and screenings, I continue to meet people with whom our efforts have resonated. The children are drawn in, in a unique way, to the performances of their peers. And the adults see in these innocent faces a ray of hope for the future.
Our first film, St. Bernadette of Lourdes, was broadcast world-wide on EWTN, and our new film, The War of the Vendee, which tells the little-known story of the heroic Catholic martyrs of the French Revolution, won “Best Film For Young Audiences” from an international film festival at the Vatican. For both of these pieces of art to have garnered such recognition, given the fact that their casts are made up almost entirely of young, “untrained” actors is remarkable.
For my wife Fran and our six children (the “staff” of Navis Pictures), these achievements have proven to us that our films are more than just an “expensive hobby.”
These young people are making art that glorifies Almighty God and seeks to build up the body of Christ, and though I may not know a lot about art, I tend to think that’s a good thing.
Header Image CC mjtmail
Header Image CC Lawrence OP