Barbara Nicolosi Harrington Wants Good Christian Storytellers

She writes:

What is needed is a serious academy-based training program in Christendom which will become the global center of discussion and learning about dramatic story telling. Basing ourselves on the successful artist guilds which eventually produced the Renaissance, Christians today need to strategically and intelligently aid playwrights and screen storytellers in finding their power again in a 21st Century society that desperately needs the hopes, challenges, courage and wisdom that good stories are meant to give. We need to help writers to identify and hone their God-given talents. We will need to prepare them with ethics, theology and philosophy to make their stories rich and responsible. We will need to nurture in them a vocational spirituality to understand and embrace their honorable and vital role as storytellers for the family of men.

After “The Lone Ranger” and “Man of Steel” her point just gets more pointed.

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  • B.E. Ward

    So, to move this along a little bit. Anyone have a vote for their favorite film that does these things well?

    Mine is Ostrov (The Island).

    • asecularfranciscan

      The Island is one of my favorite movies of all time.

      How about Lilies of the Field?

    • Raiders of the Lost Ark

      Practically anything by the Coen Brothers, but my faves are Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, The Big Lebowski, and Intolerable Cruelty

      Most early Pixar, but especially Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, Ratatoille, and of course Up (the jury’s still out on what Disney’s full control will do to Pixar)

      The Ice Storm


      Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

      These are just the top few to roll off my brain. I find it sad that so few films that express a Catholic worldview seem to have Catholics involved in their creation. Perhaps this explains why most of these films don’t so much present a Catholic worldview as critique some aspect of contemporary culture through the lens of full human dignity.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    Don’t preach. A story is not a sermon. Tell a story.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Forget the movies. Sadly, movies are dominated by marketing and licensing departments. You could write the most wonderful movie script ever, and by the time it hits the screen, you won’t recognize it. Yes, there are still good indendent films being made — and maybe 24 people actually see them.

    All the really fantastic screenwriting is on TV these days. We’re really in the midst of the death throes of cinema unless something happens to reverse the course — and I don’t see that happening. But TV is better now than it has ever been.

    If you really want to have an impact on the culture beyond the few dozen cinephiles, write for TV or video games. That’s where the future of storytelling is.

  • Alisha Ruiss

    I heartily agree and am all for high standards…but there needs to be a balance between having such high standards that people literally feel paralyzed because they don’t yet have the means they would like to acquire and don’t have the means to acquire it since they are just trying to survive (in this group I include myself). I want to create good work. For that, I need tools, formation etc. Such things cost money. An elitist program costs money. Given the disparity of wealth, those who might most champion this happening don’t have the money to fund it.
    I don’t expect such formation to come at no cost…but at the cost of a regular university/institute program, it will never be accessible to me or many others. Frankly, I would like to see such an institute or any other formation in kind be made accessible to those who are talented and/or hardworking because what is the point if it’s only accessible to the rich, whose narrow life bias will inform their work?
    For those who think this cause important, perhaps they might consider mentoring or occasionally doing a free workshop to form writers who otherwise could not afford regular fees. I don’t like working for free as an artist or a teacher as a general rule, but there are times that sort of rule needs to be broken for the greater cause: in this case, forming storytellers. I have taught certain people for free because I was moved to do it, I cared enough about the project, or simply because I wanted more good singing in the world. So by all means, lets hope for a lottery win or a huge benefactor…but in the meantime, could we just agree that all those who do have the skills in question and do recognize this need could, in a wise, discerning manner, occasionally, for the sake of the future culture, generation and Church choose to share their knowledge freely, in case the millions never do flow in?