The first film discussion I ever went to was while I was involved in student ministry. It was during the Christian Union Events week, where a group of us gathered together in a small room and watched an arty short film from Kieslowski’s Dekalog series. What followed was an in-depth discussion about what we had seen, where questions were put to the floor and everyone pitched in with their opinions and responses. Through watching a film, people discussed morals, ethics, ideas, hopes and dreams. It was a wonderful way to share our faith, engage with culture and listen to what people think.
Following on from a recent conversation about film discussions with a friend, they suggested that I share some helpful resources for those who wish to run a film discussion evening. These discussions can be a part of your youth group, CU/church event or just having a few mates round in the evening.
So here are some resources for you…
- Damaris Media – This is a really helpful website for film discussions. They provide resources of up-to-date films with guides, questions and ideas for leaders and church events. They also have a full package of information and video clips for certain films. This is a must see if you are going to host a film discussion.
- The Turnaus’ Movie Night Kit – Ted Turnau has put together a brilliant Movie night kit for those who wish to host a film discussion. I really like this, Ted goes through how to host a film night, what you might need and also a list of recommended movies to start with.
- Twenty Questions to consider when watching a film – Written by Tony Watkins. He gives us 20 questions to consider when watching any film. This is helpful for our own personal reflection, as well as shaping some of the questions that can be asked in a film discussion.
- Pluggedin – This is a christian website that review films. I don’t always agree with their outcome, but I find their review of films quite helpful, especially if I am wondering whether a film is appropriate or not. It will go through how much violence, profanity, sexual content and spiritual content there is in the film. This will be a helpful guide to see whether a film is suitable for the audience you are hosting the discussion for.
- Christ and Pop Culture – This is probably one for further reading, but I really find this website helpful when looking for a Christian perspective on pop culture. There are lots of articles that don’t just look at films but also videos games and books.
So that’s my top 5 resources for you if you wanted to host a film discussion.
The one thing I would suggest, and this is a personal recommendation, is to not show a Christian film at a film discussion, especially if you are hoping for people who aren’t Christians to come along. Most Christian films are really cheesy and pretty awful. I think there are enough good, enjoyable films out there that can be used to have brilliant discussions with.
Hopefully with the resources above, you can feel confident to pick any appropriate mainstream film and have a great discussion from it.