"Horrors!" Continued...

Issue: "New Orleans: Starting over," Sept. 24, 2005

WORLD: Shifting gears: Why make movies? How does your faith play a role in your profession?

Derrickson: I knew I wanted to be involved in the arts, but it wasn't until college that I realized that cinema is the combination of all great art forms. When I came to realize this, I knew that filmmaking would be the only thing I could do that would be totally satisfying. My faith has had the most impact on my work in that much of the work I have done has been about issues of faith. I have not felt that this was a requirement to justify my desire to make films, I just happen to be interested in issues of faith and belief more than anything else.

WORLD: What does it mean to be doing your job well as a Christian in Hollywood?

Derrickson: Many Christians who want to be filmmakers are unnecessarily burdened by guilt feelings that suggest that to work on something with no decidedly Christian or moral content may be meaningless or even unjustifiable. The truth is, God is honored by quality, and quality for the artist can be purely a matter of craft and not content. I'm not suggesting that content doesn't matter, or that a Christian is free to work on anything, I'm simply saying that the value of a person's work isn't determined by its quantity of moral or spiritual content. . . . Excellence should be the mark of the Christian in any field.

I came to this realization when I began to work within the studio system. It was then that it dawned on me that I wasn't just an artist, I was an employee working for somebody else. And any Christian employee must work to please both God and his employer.

WORLD: What are some of the greatest challenges you face to this task?

Derrickson: I think the real difficulty in Hollywood is not becoming obsessed with commercial and financial success. And it's hard to not be disrespectful sometimes. There are a lot of aggressive, hostile personalities in Hollywood, and I hate to say it, but I'm probably thought of as one of them. The business brings out my temper quite often, and as a Christian, I should be much more patient and gracious.

WORLD: Who are the biggest influences on your engagement with culture?

Derrickson: I owe a lot to Francis Schaeffer for first opening my mind to the possibility that Christians can enjoy and participate in culture. [Also] Musicians Steve Taylor and Sam Phillips. . . . Ralph Winter (producer of the X-Men films) is an influence by his outspokenness about his faith, and his astonishing work ethic. And Bono is the beacon, I suppose-the only guy who's really done it right. When it comes to Christian engagement with the culture, I think he's the gold standard.


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