Taking Faith into the Spotlight

Narnia is among the handful of movies with a faith disposition that have received mainstream studio distribution in recent years, but a faith arts and media group called Art Within is working to make faith and family-friendly films, commonplace.

“The recent interest by Hollywood studios in producing more films that incorporate messages of faith is encouraging,” said Bryan Coley, artistic director for Art Within. “Because media and the arts have a massive influence on our worldviews, we believe that screenwriters and playwrights have the greatest opportunity to impact our culture.”

This year, Art Within spent $200,000 toward a year-long fellowship program called Art Within Labs, modeled after the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriter Lab in Utah.

The goal of the labs program is to create a retreat center outside of Hollywood that is conducive to developing and nurturing a writer’s voice.

Art Within is dedicated to developing emerging screenwriters and playwrights interested in expressing their faith through their craft.

Art Within Labs chose five writers from among more than 150 script submissions for the first year of the Lab. The writers are Bryan Belknap from Los Angeles, Calif.; Gillette Elvgren from Chesapeake, Va.; Kevin Miller from Abbotsford, British Columbia; Grant Nieporte from Pasadena, Calif.; and Nathan Scoggins from Glendale, Calif.

Since its founding in 1995, Art Within has been one of the only worked to integrate faith and art to impact contemporary culture. Working through the vehicles of theater and film, Art Within focuses on nurturing scriptwriters and screenwriters with a faith perspective and helping producers find high-quality new scripts through its development process.