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BC Church Produces Full-length Movie
Produced by Kyle Lawrence, a veteran TV producer at 21, the movie could be released before Christmas for television distribution.

While many Christians may object to much of what they see on television and at the movies, a CNBC church in this Fraser Valley community is doing more than complain. It is now in the final stages of completing its first full-length film.

The Scarf’s lead actors, Laura Geluch and Mikaela Martens, pose between takes.

“It’s a Christian movie, but I think it’s the kind that a non-Christian could watch,” said John Martens, pastor of The Connection and the movie’s screenwriter.

The Scarf tells the story of a teenage girl caught up in a spiritual battle between believing in UFOs and the occult or faith in Christ.

“Both of the main characters deal with a spiritual transition,” said Martens. “It’s not so obvious that it’s like a conversion, but there’s a definite spiritual change. There’s Bible verses, we talk about Jesus, and prayer is dealt with throughout the movie in a powerful way.”

“I think we can provide something that will reinforce what people want as a lifestyle,” he added. “It’s just one movie, but … it’s a way to start.”

Martens also hopes it will raise awareness of Metro Vancouver as a mission field. “We really think that Vancouver is so key in the work that God wants to do around the world. But we need more help here,” he said.

“I think he’s right on,” said Ray Woodard, church planting coach of the WestCoast Baptist Association, of which The Connection is a member.

“Oftentimes when we look at a film, [its location] becomes embedded in our minds. And so of all the places we could go, we remember a visual or a movie that points us in a given direction.”

Most of the filming took place over the summer and involved close to 200 semi-professional and amateur actors. “A lot of them volunteered their time to be in the film,” said Kyle Lawrence, the film’s director and The Connection’s minister of youth and media.

Although most were not Christians, they seemed to be comfortable with the film’s overtly Christian content. Martens recalled one man telling him “he had read the story four times and really enjoyed it. So I think there was a lot of testimony in the story itself.”

The Scarf was shot on a budget of just under $25,000, including $1,000 from the CNBC. The rest was provided by three families who wish to remain anonymous.

Kyle Lawrence, director of The Scarf, prepares to shoot a scene at a Maple Ridge high school.

Helping them to stay on budget, said Martens, was the city’s willingness to give them a “substantial break” on the number of permits they needed for on-location shooting.

“We used seven homes, over 50 vehicles—many of them antique—two schools, several parks, and many, many churches,” he said. “If we had had to pay full price, I don’t know what the cost would have been, but it would have been substantially more.”

Although only 21, Lawrence is already a veteran of Christian media. He is the producer of a TV series called Completing Kaden, which airs on English-language stations around the world.

Formerly of First Baptist Church of Arnold, Missouri, Lawrence moved to Maple Ridge in January 2007, after co-leading a youth media camp for The Connection the previous summer. He brought with him $60,000 worth of filmmaking equipment.

Lawrence hopes they can release The Scarf by Christmas. “I have a distbutor that I’ve worked with before and . . . he’s going to help us try to get television distribution on this,” he said.

Martens said they would definitely like to tackle another movie, but not right away. “We’re pretty busy as it is,” he said, “but being involved in the media and making movies is an important part of our overall strategy and dream, even if takes a little while.”

Woodard admits he was initially “a little bit worried” that this project might distract The Connection from its ministry, but no longer.

“As John began to share what his vision was for doing the movie, that it’s designed to influence, to give witness, to encourage his own congregation that they’re capable of doing something that is bigger than themselves, that made sense to me,” he said.

Originally published in Baptist Horizon, September/October 2008.

Used with permission. Copyright © 2008 Christianity.ca.

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