'I.Am': a new film to reach people outside of churches
March saw the completion of the 'I.Am' film, a short musical and dramatic interpretation of some of the major stories within the Bible.
Using music, song, dance, rap, drama and montage, as well as animation, it covers creation, the fall, Noah, Abraham and populating the earth, Moses, Psalms, the birth and baptism of Jesus, His temptation in the desert, death and resurrection, all in short scenes that tell the stories subtly, leaving space for reflection. Themes such as God's care of people (being our shepherd) and His holiness are also introduced.
The film is the latest initiative from Christians who, in the run up to the Olympics, organised a praise bus, picking up new bands every day, to go ahead of the Olympic Torch taking praise and worship along the route. The bus travelled over 8,500 miles in 64 days and the organisers estimate over a million people saw the bus and heard its message.
The praise bus resulted from two visions given to Christine Bonfield. The latest undertaking is the result of a further vision and instructions to "saturate the land with a beam of light".
The company behind the film, newly formed Amifilm, explain it has been set up "to assist churches to bring a glimpse of a loving, forgiving God to all people. Our vision is to enable churches to go beyond their own parameters to speak to people in today's culture through a unique, short, cutting edge, musical and dramatic film presentation."
The film package can be purchased through the Am I Film website but they ask for churches to engage with their road show first - or see the film being used by churches/organisations who have already attended a road show. If churches/organisations genuinely cannot afford it, then the film will be offered free.
Christine Bonfield explains how she saw the vision that led to this latest project: "At the end of 2012, the Lord revealed a plan to give those, who have neither time nor inclination to go to church a glimpse of His love and grace, en masse.
"The instrument would be a unique, musical, 25-minute film, shown in a setting where people would be served a drink in a pleasant environment."
After receiving confirmation, Christine and her husband contacted Allison and Arthur Humphries, who had managed the praise bus, to see if they felt drawn to the vision and would be willing to assist churches to engage with the film by taking a road show all around the UK. They were very enthusiastic.
Musician and composer David Ceredig-Evans was commissioned to write the music. At a later date, the film company Three S Films was commissioned to produce the film. The film has taken approximately six months to make.
Since the middle of March, Allison and Arthur have been running the road show around the country, briefing churches who are interested in showing the film about the vision behind it, the best places to show it and offering assistance – as well as answering questions. The team also asks churches who show the film to record the number who view it so they can know when an area is fully covered.
The aim has always been to reach people who would not set foot in church and so the organisers request that: "a different venue be found where those people feel comfortable. The list is endless but our main hope is for churches in towns to obtain empty shops for a limited time, using their charitable status… Other venues would include the work place, pubs, prisons, schools, halls, secular festivals and clubs."
The team has expressed a desire to see the film shown on rotation, if practical. "Ideally, the film would run every hour, allowing 20 minutes for change over of audience." They see the film as a stand-alone message that will impact viewers as they mull it over for themselves rather than being used as a vehicle for dialogue.
The road show is running right through until the end of May, and there is still time to request a visit to your area. It will also start again in the autumn. Anyone interested is invited to contact the organisers, email firstname.lastname@example.org