tothesource: You set out to make a film that might bring you fame but the process brought you to faith in Jesus. What was it about the story that had such a profound impact on you?
Brian Ivie: A few nights ago, a little 8-year-old kid asked me what my greatest mistake in life was. A little shaken up by the question, I paused before answering. But after a few pregnant moments, I told him that my greatest mistake in life was thinking I was too good to need God’s forgiveness.
So that’s really my story.
It’s the story of a normal kid seeing his spiritual brokenness in the physical brokenness of disabled kids. It’s the story of a seeker seeing God’s sacrificial love in a compassionate pastor.
It’s the story of a sinner, coming to the understanding that Christians aren’t “the perfect people,” but the ones who know they need to be saved.
In the end, Pastor Lee was living proof of a loving God to me. Not because he was some kind of hero. He wasn’t born that way. Trust me. God saved him out of a gutter of alcoholism, abuse, and rage. Before becoming a Christian, Pastor Lee didn’t care about anyone but himself. I was the same way. But when I saw what God had done in the life of this skirt-chasing, booze-guzzling dude, I saw proof of new life. The life that Jesus died for. The life that the bible promises for those who would surrender their own.
tts: Why do stories with redemptive messages resonate with people?
Ivie: All over the Internet, people keep talking about how much they love the way Pastor Lee loves those children. And my response is simple…of course you do! You were made for it.
That may sound simple, but the reality is that we were all made for God. So, when we see God’s love on display, it attracts us at the soul level. We are drawn to it. We want to splash around in it.
The same is true for redemption. We are attracted to it because we’re made for it. We love seeing happy endings and people overcoming alcoholism and the underdogs win the championship because we know the world is messed up, that we’re all broken as the drunk on the stoop, and that we’re all underdogs when it comes to death.
We have an imprint of Eden. We have eternity in our hearts. There’s this shared frustration that life shouldn’t be hopeless and that families shouldn’t fall apart and that kids shouldn’t die.
We long for redemption because we long to be with God. That’s why I always plan to put happy endings on my films. Because sin brought suffering into this world, but God suffered to take it out.
tts: If we have the best story, why aren’t we winning the culture?
Ivie: To begin with, I think that the gospel is always and will always be preached in a culture that looks somewhat if not completely adverse to its tenets.
That’s why I’m never about “winning a culture war.” Make no mistake, I do think that’s important, especially in the areas of abortion and marriage. However, culture change is always going to be the byproduct of gospel penetration in the hearts of men.
To better answer your question though, I think the media is one of the devil’s greatest weapons. I think Christians are afraid to go there, to be in Hollywood, to make movies at a high level. But sometimes we need to leave home and get into the trenches, and change culture from the inside out. Difficulties arise when we live in our cozy Christian communities and yell at the culture from the outside.
I live in Hollywood. I work with Muslims, Jews, and atheists.
And I still preach Jesus in my movies and with my life.
tts: The Dropbox proved to be just the start of a whole new enterprise devoted to worldwide concern for orphan care. How can interested churches plug in to Kindred Image’s orphan care work and what resources does Kindred Image provide?
Ivie: Pastor Lee’s organization, Kindred Image, has partnered with Focus on The Family to create what’s called “The Global Orphan Care Fund.” Through this story, we’re hoping to inspire people to be like Pastor Lee in their own neighborhoods, or simply support the “Pastor Lees” around them. We can’t all go to Korea, of course.
So the call is simple: serve where you are and embrace the difficulty and suffering of others.
tts: Will The Dropbox be available in DVD or other online formats?
Ivie: Churches can license the film for screenings post-April 17th and the DVD will be out in July, 2015.