Conference looks at using films for Christian outreach

The 2004 Faith and Film conference will look at how churches canuse modern movies to create opportunities for outreach. The eventis aimed at church leaders, preachers, youth workers and othersinterested in the interaction between films and Christian faith.The three-day program brings together movie professionals,academics and theologians to provide a great opportunity to learnabout movie culture and how to use it to spread the Christianfaith.

The conference will discuss recent and upcoming movies,including, The Passion of the Christ, The Village and The Matrix.Andrew Wood, convenor of the Methodist Interface group, which isco-sponsoring the event, says "we are going to be discussing theimpact of films on popular culture and how to use movies in thelocal church. We'll be looking at movies such as The Lord of theRings, The Shawshank Redemption, Harry Potter, and Big Fish, butalso upcoming titles such as Super Size Me! If you're at allinterested in using films as a way of talking about faith withthose inside and outside the church, this conference could be justwhat you need"

The event runs from 17-19 September at Collingwood College atthe University of Durham, and day tickets are available. AndrewWood says: "The Saturday program provides a fascinating overview ofthis whole area. For those who want a deeper look at the crossoverbetween movies and Christianity, there are still some places forthe whole weekend."

Anthea Cox, Methodist Co-ordinating Secretary for Public Lifeand Social Justice, says "The Faith and Film conference is anexciting opportunity to explore the dialogue there can be betweenfilm and religious experience. The conference will look not only atfilms that have a faith foundation but will also examine therelationship between mainstream film, contemporary society andchurch."

The speakers at the conference include David Wilkinson from theUniversity of Durham (author of The Power of the Force: TheSpirituality of the "Star Wars" Films), filmmaker Murray Watts (TheMiracle Maker) and actress Cathy Sara (Topsy Turvy). The ecumenicalevent is aimed at all church workers or volunteers interested inusing popular culture as part of their outreach activities. Theconference program includes a range of lectures, seminars anddiscussions.

The 2004 Film and Faith conference runs from 17-19 September.Full board and attendance packages start from £155, while ticketsfor attending one day range from £7 to £20. For more informationcall 0191 374 4405 or email filmfaith@xiancomm.org.uk