Recently I had the opportunity to ask Steve McEveety, famed producer of such powerful and meaningful films as The Passion of the Christ, BraveHeart and We Were Soldiers what he believes the culture challenge of our time is. He answered without hesitation, "Secularism".
He said that our culture is dead set on teaching our children that they are merely "material beings," that there is nothing more to life.
McEveety is right.
Our children are simmering in a brew of emptiness that emphasizes gadgets galore, immediate gratification and pornography. It's now almost unheard for a child or teenager to be exposed to the real questions of life such as "Why am I here?", or "What happens after I die?" or "What is my purpose in life?" Educators think these topics are too heavy for children; that they are by their nature, judgmental, and thus off-limits. Hollywood doesn’t want our kids to stop and ponder such questions at all, because if they do, they just might come to the conclusion that there is a God and that there is more to life than mere entertainment.
McEveety, now with MPower Pictures, is a rare breed in Hollywood that understands that what children really crave is truth, meaning, and to know that there is something more than the latest fad. "It's real simple. We need to teach our sons and daughters that human beings are not just physical - unlike animals, we are spiritual beings. If we ignore that we are ignoring the better half of our life. If we teach our kids to ignore that, they never really live."
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Thank God that amidst a sea of trashy, simplistic and trivial films created to manipulate our kids, there is a company like MPower Pictures which has brought adults such thought provoking movies like Bella and the Stoning of Soraya M. This week MPower releases a movie designed to bring out the best in our children; a film that actually respects them as something more than animals in heat.
Snowmen is a heart-warming film that affirms that our children are of high value - that they can aspire to more than merely living to satisfy their immediate desires. It explores the taboo subject of spirituality in such a natural manner that even the youngest viewer understands how important it is while also being thoroughly entertained.
“We explore the eternal world in way that is not frightening for children," McEveety said. “And we let them know that it’s not just what you do that matters, it’s how you do it.”
The film is appropriately subtitled, “Because Every One Counts” - a message that every child needs to be reminded of. McEveety says, “The central ‘take aways’ for children are : What will your legacy be? What will you do today that says, 'I was here' tomorrow? How do you communicate what you value most?"
Snowmen is rated “PG” mainly for dealing with the reality of death. It’s a part of life we must learn to discuss with our children, and the movie approaches it in a manner that will help you open the conversation. It is also filled with the wonderful messages of redemption, forgiveness and how important true friends are.
Featuring familiar faces like the incredibly talented Christopher Lloyd (the nutty but warm and sincere inventor in Back to the Future) and Ray Liotta (from Field of Dreams and GoodFellas). There are also less familiar younger stars including Bobby Coleman as “Billy”, the lead actor who is a cancer-stricken child; Billy’s new best bud, “Howard,” charmingly played by Bobb'e J. Thompson; and the lovely Demi Peterson as “Gwen,” Billy’s female interest.
Visit www.SnowmenMovie.com to view a trailer, see a list of theatres where the film debuts on October 21, and sign up for information on the forthcoming DVD (which would make a great Christmas gift) to be released on November 29 .
Our children are smarter than we think, and they seek a deeper meaning of life than what MTV cooks up. Snowmen respects that about them. And at the same time it delightfully rejoices in their childlike antics. Pre-teens will love it for the entertainment value, the honest portrayal of their generation, and for the fact that finally someone recognizes their need to know that there is “something more”.
“That's what's so beautiful about snowmen. It confirms that there is something eternal. It makes children think about what really matters.” says McEveety.
And what matters most to Steve? "I just want to walk through the pearly gates."
What matters most to your child? Watch Snowmen with them and then have that conversation.
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