Since Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” entered into that rare list of the highest grossing films in history, it has opened a window of opportunity for other Christian film companies to pass through.
One such company is Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks which was launched 10 years ago and has produced quality Christian programming. On April 9th, 2002 everything changed. I felt a mandate from God that we must be the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath, as Moses commanded Israel in ancient times. This meant that our company would have to seek excellence regardless of cost, said Richard Gazowsky, the president of WYSIWYG.
WYSIWYG is seeking a leadership role in their current production Gravity-The Shadow of Joseph. This film has 5 technical innovations reportedly never before used on any feature film. The filming will be done with a mixed format of 70mm film and 70mm digital camera equipment with a custom designed CMOS chip that will push the technology into new frontiers (This cameras specs are still under wraps.) One of Hollywoods leading 70mm 3-D film makers, Tim Thomas, who is also a born-again believer and President of Paradise FX said WYSIWYG is talking fantasy here, Tinkerbell and fairy land, but the amazing thing is that its becoming real. I was blown away!
Christian films have had the reputation of being B-quality productions and usually focusing on two main subjects, the end times and evangelistic testimony. The element that has changed is that the craft of professional cinema storytelling has been applied to a biblical story by Mel Gibson. Many believe that a new standard will be set in movie audience attendance when the storytelling techniques that have usually been reserved for standard blockbusters are used on Christian family-friendly stories.
We are also pushing our creative edge when it comes to story development by actually shooting our movie, Gravity-The Shadow of Joseph twice, Richard continued. We are first shooting an animatic version of the complete three hour film, then testing this on focus groups before principal photography begins.
This is a new age in film making and the paradigm that has driven Hollywood for years has changed. Years ago the major studios were run by movie makers who loved movies, but these days they are run by accountants who are primarily concerned about protecting their jobs and secondly, about the bottom line. This is wonderful because they have taken their eyes off the ball and have allowed a huge window of opportunity to open for Christian film makers. In the next two years I predict there will be a flood of new companies approaching this genre and in fifteen years it will shake down to being once again the big three except this time you will not see current industry leaders among them.
This action-adventure film billed as, Star Wars meets the Ten Commandments is planned for release in theaters in 2007. Principal photography is to be done in Albarabello, Italy and San Francisco.
The 6th Annual Christian WYSIWYG Film Festival
The 6th Annual Christian WYSIWYG Film Festival is scheduled for October 18-22, 2005 in San Francisco. Their purpose is to showcase the best in wholesome, family cinema entertainment. The festival features a diverse cross section of the industry from feature films to independent short subject entries. In addition there are workshops and networking opportunities for directors, actors and filmmakers and the festival is open to the public as well.