Newsbites: The culture and religion edition!

1. Rich Raddon has resigned from his post as director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, following a couple weeks of controversy over his financial support for Proposition 8, the California law passed earlier this month that denies marriage rights to gay couples. Raddon is Mormon, so his support for that law — and the threat of boycotts against the LAFF so long as he remained in charge of that festival — has raised a major debate over the limits of diversity, and whether religious minorities deserve the same tolerance as sexual minorities. — Hollywood Reporter, Jeffrey Wells, Karina Longworth, Dirty Harry

2. A poll commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League has found that many, if not most, Americans believe Hollywood is out of touch with them. 61% of the respondents said “religious values are under attack in this country,” while 43% said Hollywood and the media are waging an organized campaign to “weaken the influence of religious values in this country.” In addition, 49% said the United States is becoming “too tolerant in its acceptance of different ideas and lifestyles.” ADL national director Abraham H. Foxman called the results “disturbing”. — Hollywood Reporter

3. Michael Moore‘s follow-up to Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) was originally going to focus on foreign policy, but now it is zeroing in on the current financial crisis — so it may have more in common with Moore’s first big hit, Roger & Me (1989). Either way, the new film is said to have “an end-of-the-empire tone”, though some observers wonder if Moore’s films will continue to resonate with audiences, now that he won’t have George W. Bush to kick around any more. — Hollywood Reporter

4. Telefilm Canada has approved three companies — Capri Films, Keystone Pictures and Whizbang Films — for a program that will focus on developing commercially successful English-language films. (Keystone produces the Air Bud movies, and Whizbang just had a fairly big hit in Passchendaele.) The first film to be shot with money from the program is The Thaw, a horror flick produced by Vancouver-based Anagram Pictures, which previously made the zombie comedy Fido (2006). — Variety

5. Steve Taylor hopes to shoot his adaptation of Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz next summer, and to release the film in 2010. In the meantime, he has posted a video in which he discusses a scene from the script. — Donald Miller

6. Last year, Christian philosopher Douglas Wilson and outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens exchanged several e-mails as part of a debate on the merits of Christianity. This year, they published their exchange in book form, under the title Is Christianity Good for the World?. And now, their promotional tour is being turned into a documentary, the trailer for which was released a few weeks ago. — Christianity Today, Jason Morehead

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).

  • Betty

    Hey, I’ve read Is Christianity Good for the World?. I got a free advance review copy, even. (Thanks, LibraryThing!) I thought it was worth reading, but deeply unsatisfying.

    And is it just me, or is that a really lame trailer?