Aretha Franklin’s Live Gospel Album Finally to Reach the Cinema – “Amazing Grace”

On August 16th we will remember one year since Aretha Franklin left our world and imprinted our hearts forever. A day that will remain in history as a day we all lost a bit of soul. Imagining a world of music without such an incredible talent has in no way become any easier with time. She was not only an astounding vocalist, but a lover of many with an infectious spirit, and a timeless icon in gospel music.

Whether you are a believer in Christ or not, some performers carry a sense of godliness in them that comes from their spirit when they sing. Franklin was one of those vocalists that causes you to look to God because of the richness of the soul in everything she did and in each performance.

In 1972, at the age of thirty years old, Aretha Franklin was hosted by the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles, California for a two-night special performance. However, no one could have believed this would become the biggest selling live gospel album in history. Altogether, the production was set to be a powerful and moving expression of art and media but was left untouched (for the most part) and unseen by most of the world, until now.

The art of Reconstruction

The new film titled Amazing Grace is one of its kind. The phenomenon of mixing media and arts to produce something wonderful that has never been done before is not simply creating something that is new but rather an entire experience that has never been had. Oscar winner Sydney Pollack was brought on to direct multicamera footage of the entire two-day performance, all taking place in the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

Due to the quality and abilities of filmography from the early 1970s being much less advanced than what we consider to be ‘workable’ now, the footage sat unedited for decades. It was not until very recently that the correct digital editing technology was even created to reconstruct the footage. Producer Alan Elliot became interested in the project that was becoming more relevant as film production became more advanced.

The Worship Experience

The Guardian describes Elliot’s work on the film by Pollack to capture both the hive of musical activity and fervor or religious ecstasy that thronged through that church all those years ago. There is always a greater sense of intimacy between the artists and listeners when there is a raw visual performance, much like the experience of going to a concert versus listening in your headphones. Amazing Grace brings us directly into the intimacy of that worship experience that took place almost 50 years ago.

Overall, the project is one of its kind that has never been done before. The art of bringing an audience into such an intimate and spirit-filled experience that was had so long ago and giving it new power and strength constitutes an utter masterpiece. The film has had a gradual release, as it has been featured throughout 2018 in various film festivals across the US. It officially released in the UK last week, with additional scheduled releases in other countries throughout the summer. Check out the official trailer for Aretha Franklin’s new tribute film “Amazing Grace”

Women in the Christian Entertainment Industry

PROCLAIM19 DISCUSSES WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY

National Religious Broadcaster recently wrapped up their annual International Christian Media Convention, Proclaim 19. The convention took place in Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California from March 26-29, 2019

ChristianWomeninEntertainment

This gathering included the most talented and successful producers, organizers, directors, and musicians in the Christian entertainment industry, making for an enriching experience for all creative leaders worldwide. In addition to the amazing networking opportunities when you gather so many creative minds together in one space, you may also find yourself amongst some of the most important and necessary players in the industry. Sometimes, when it comes to ministry, things can require reaching for resources more outside of the box; the lawyers and the advertisement companies, the webmasters and travel agencies, came together to learn more about the industry in which they are all so uniquely intertwined between faith and profession.

With endless knowledge being shared at such an event as this one, there is also an opportunity to open the floor and shed light on specific issues in the industry by facilitating a healthy and educated conversation around them. One of the several panel sessions at Proclaim 19 was titled ‘Women in Entertainment’. The panel was moderated by Evy Baehr Carrol, host and director of creative content at Movieguide, and the first of its category at the annual convention.

One of the panelists, “War Room” actress Priscilla Shirer, speaks about the balance that working in the industry requires of her. For a Christian woman, this balance is not between fame and success, but rather in Priscilla’s case, it is all about prioritizing and seeking God’s face. “There are seasons to a woman’s life, and certain things the Lord calls you to prioritize in one season are going to shift in another season,” Shirer said. “Our task is to tune in and ask the Lord, ‘What will honor You in this particular season of my life? What do I need to prioritize so that my priorities align with Yours during this season?’ And I give myself to those fully.” All the panelists could agree on one thing, it takes constant turning to and relying on God’s direction and discernment when choosing what and how much to take on in the film industry.

Here is a trailer for the movie ‘War Room’:

On the other side of this unwavering devotion to remain in God’s will and continuously seek Him first is the side of the industry. With trusting in the sovereignty and omnipotence of God, producers and directors find themselves to be quite satisfied with the work but must remember just as well to hold it loosely, trust in the Lord and always be willing to let go of something for Him to take it away.

In closing words, Carrol spoke of the encouragement that came from this session and states “[God] has shown us His faithfulness and hope in the entertainment industry. This is exactly our desire at Movieguide, to help encourage women and men to make great faith-filled content in the entertainment industry and fulfill God’s purpose in their lives.”