• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Nativity News vol. 11

    A few more bits of information on The Nativity Story. Firstly, there's a new site (which the official website links to) for Nativity resources. There's a few interesting bits up there now. Much of it has been available through the main site for a while, but this page of "partners" is new, at least, to me.

    Basically it lists all the spin-offs etc. tied in with the movie as follows:
    CCN: Church Communication Network (CCN) will broadcast a satellite event called The Nativity Story. It will air live in more than 3,300 churches nationwide in November.

    Pauline Books & Media: The Pauline Publishing House creates books, resource materials, and media and communication tools for the Catholic market. For The Nativity Story, they will create several film-related books.

    Tyndale House Publishers: Tyndale, a Christian publishing house, is producing a series of five Nativity-related books, including a novelization of the script and a full-color coffee table book. They will also have a presence at Christian bookstores nationwide.

    Word Label Group: Word Records will release two albums related to The Nativity Story; an original score album, and an "inspired-by" compilation of Christian artists singing Christmas classics.

    Lawson Falle Inventive: Lawson-Falle Cards is creating a series of Nativity-based Christmas cards. Cards will be in 7,000 retail locations in early November.

    Outreach, Inc.: Outreach, Inc. will provide church communication and outreach tools related to The Nativity Story, including direct mail postcards, bulletins, and invitations. These materials will be available to churches and small groups nationwide.
    Much of this is as you'd expect, and some of these tie-ins I've already mentioned (Photo book, Sacred songs CD. Certainly, the above confirms my hunch that this first album is not the soundtrack, but an "inspired by" compilation. That said, there are a few new innovations. I'm fairly sure, for example, that this is the first bible film to have greetings cards associated with it. It's marketing genius (although I'm not sure whether I like the idea or not). I'm also wondering about how many "official" books there are going to be. If Tyndale are producing 5 and Pauline Publishing "several" then that implies at least 8 books. And if Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was anything to go by there may well be a few evangelistic tract type books, and a few scholarly discussions of its impact and historicity. I don't think this film is going to have anything like the impact of The Passion - most of the people in my church don't know anything about it yet, so it will be interesting to see if there are many more tie-ins and whether those above sell well.

    Secondly, one of the things mentioned above is the CCN event. The web page for the event, called "Experience the Nativity" reveals it's mainly Erwin McManus (who I heard speak just before Christmas last year) interviewing some of the makers of the film. It's interesting that writer Mike Rich gets top billing, rather than director Catherine Harwicke as would normally be the case. I can't help wondering what that says about Christian responses to film, and not in a good way.

    Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention that Keisha Castle Hughes is pregnant, simply because the news broke on Friday afternoon, and was so widely spread by the time I was next able to blog on Monday that it didn't seem worth rushing it.

    Many commentators are shocked that someone with so much potential could throw it all away so easily. The fact that KCH may have already made enough to live on even if she never worked again seems to have escaped them, despite the perils of being a child star being so well known. Others are appalled at her supposed accelerated maturity already reaching this point.

    The thing with all of these comments is that they are so deeply embedded in our culture and its standards and taboos. I'm a huge proponent of women having equality, great careers, and a fulfilled life in any sphere they choose. My boss is an incredible woman to work for and I don't know anyone that could have done the phenomenal job she has done over the last ten years.

    But, the assumption I don't like in these comments is that if a woman freely chooses motherhood there is something wrong with her, or she is aiming too low. To my mid, motherhood is just as high a calling as practically any business I can think of. Furthermore, there's also an assumption in those comments that no matter how much money you have, if you have the potential to earn more, you're obliged to do so.

    That's not to say, I have no qualms about this news whatsoever. It maybe that this choice is not a free one, or wasn't even a choice as much. But it seems wrong to judge it wrong when no-one really knows the details. And when there's so much medical evidence to suggest that childbirth is better when the mother is younger, such knee-jerk condemnations seem out of place. Heck Hughes can bring her up full time until the baby is five years old, and still be only 21 with a potentially glittering career ahead of her. So I hope this works out for them, certainly we shouldn't automatically assume that this is a bad choice based solely on our prejudices.

    One further thought. Peter Chattaway wonders about life imitating art and ponders whether it will affect how this is marketed to churches. I couldn't help wondering about DeMille's The King of Kings. H.B. Warner, the actor who played Jesus in that film, allegedly had a drink problem, and so DeMille went to great lengths to try and ensure that his actor wasn't caught acting in a way contrary to the character he was portraying. Here things seemed to have worked out in the opposite way. By rights it shouldn't damage the box office potential of the film. Hughes, like Warner doesn't profess Christianity, and surely no-one actually thinks either of them could be capable of matching up to the high moral standards people assumed that Mary and Jesus lived to. The only real difference is that whereas DeMille successfully hushed up Warner's problem, the makers of this film, whether intentionally or otherwise, have not done.

    One last point, in trying to find an "appropriate" image for this last story I've realised that in none of the publicity photos, or on either of the trailers do we see Mary looking pregnant. This might just be coincidence, or it might be because often pregnant teenagers don't show as much as older women, or it might simply be so that people like me didn't have pictures to use when covering this story when it inevitably came out. I'd love to know which it was.

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    • At 9:00 pm, November 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      An anonymous tip from a friend of Keisha Castle Hughes, from Auckland NZ.

      The reason Keisha does not show any manifestations of pregnancy is simple; the girl is not pregnant.

      At no point did Keisha confirm any rumors of pregnancy, she is physically unable to become pregnant, it is all a beat up that got out of hand.

      Believe me, I know, this girl is not expecting.


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