Finishing the movie

The events of the past week have had a rippling effect in our movie release plans. Last week was to be filled with media interviews and showing our trailer on TV and gearing up for a huge pastor’s conference about this movie. Now those pastors are officiating funerals and counseling grieving families. They also decided it wasn’t best to advertise too publicly that thousands of Kenya’s missions-minded pastors would all be together in one place at a certain day and time. They’ve delayed their conference a few weeks, and we’ve delayed our release to be closer to their dates. Things are finally coming together, though. After spending the past 2 months writing about 54 minutes of underscore, working with some of Kenya’s best musicians in licensing their music for the film, and pulling a couple of 80+ hour weeks in sound design and mixing, the movie is almost ready for release. Just last week we went to a major cinema in Nairobi to test our DCP, which is a special video format for the large, expensive digital projection systems that most theaters own. We decided to make our own DCP instead of sending a hard drive to LA and paying thousands of dollars to have one made for us. We honestly weren’t sure we could do it. But after a lot of trial-and-error we were able to make it work, and were totally blown away by the quality of the picture and sound. It really looked like a movie. And sounded like one. Also, if you haven’t seen the new Distant Boat website, please check that out. And the...

Westgate, terrorism, and a loving God

This past week has been an extremely bizarre and difficult one. The events at Westgate Mall and the unfolding of the story continue to shock and sadden us. It was a place where our family would sometimes go grocery shopping or out to eat. We had a date night there only a couple of weeks ago. We would nearly always take guests there, so those of you who have visited us will remember it most likely. It’s hard to imagine a place where you frequently go becoming a war zone, and now much of it is in a pile of rubble. You see photos and think, “that’s where I walked last week,” “that’s the table where I sat” or “that’s where we often park our car, now it’s destroyed.” It was an upscale place where we couldn’t afford to buy much other than food or a movie, but where we enjoyed some peace and the sense of getting away from everyday life. However, much more important than the minor losses of comfort and familiarity, we are in a city that is in mourning over the loss of many lives. Our school community lost two parents and had two students injured – both families from the middle school. Everyone knows people who were there and most know others outside of our school community who were either killed, injured and traumatized by being there. The miracles and horror stories of last week continue to be brought to light. There were no high school students from our school caught up in it. Most were on a retreat (that Lesa was on). That is...

Scoring the Distant Boat

Below you can listen to my orchestral underscore to “The Distant Boat“, which opens in a month. The biggest music project I’ve ever taken on… about 50 minutes of music in a 2 hour movie… about 2 months of work for me. (c) 2013 Andy Brown Click here to see more about The Distant Boat and the past 18 months of my life in producing this film for the African...

Preparation and trust

Faith is a balancing act, and that is a good thing. It keeps our eyes on Jesus, and our trust off ourselves. And we need to be tested in our balancing ability, so that we can be matured and completed (James 1). It’s an opportunity for joy. It’s an opportunity for obedience. 1 week from today, Kenya votes for a new president. We were brand-new, inexperienced missionaries 5 years ago, the last time Kenya had presidential election and eroded into chaos that killed 1,000 people and left 600,000 homeless. We survived a couple weeks of lockdown and emerged from the experience closer to the people of Kenya and affirmed by God that this was where He had us for a reason. Political insecurity is not rare here in Africa, and this election might not prove any different (read “Neighbors Kill Neighbors“, New York Times, 4 days ago). What is different, this time around, is that we are prepared. We’ve got 100 litres of petrol and diesel in our garage, a pantry stockpiled with food, our evacuation cash and documents in order, and the experience of having been through this before. As before, we also have a strong trust in God’s sovereignty and his plan in having us living here for such a time as this. Many NGOs and mission organizations have already pulled their personnel out of Kenya. But we realize this is the time we need to have solidarity with our African brothers and sisters, and weather whatever storm may come our way. So, would you please pray for Kenya on March 4, which also happens to be Avery’s...

The Distant Boat – trailer

The Distant Boat is a feature-length movie drama with an aim to stir the heart of the African church toward greater involvement in missions. The Distant Boat tells the fictional story of Max, a young urban Kenyan who has it all: a dream job, a best friend, and a girl he hopes to marry. In the midst of a crisis, Max is befriended by a poor Muslim fisherman named Yousef— an encounter that radically changes his life and perspective. After taking time off work to visit his family, Max shares with a wise old uncle his heart for Yousef’s people who have no church and no Christian witness. In the process Max realizes that God may be calling him to be a missionary, but the journey is fraught with obstacles. Max must be willing to risk everything: his future, his reputation, and even the love of his life, as he pursues this call. There’s ridicule from his friends, rebuke from his potential in-laws, and disappointment from his family. His church has never known a Kenyan missionary before. His pastor hardly knows where to begin. For Max, his family, friends, and church, it is a perilous journey of discovery and trust in what it means to be and send a missionary, and why it is worth the...

On directing

I used to do a fair amount of mountain climbing. When Robbie was born, Lesa and I lived in Denver, which is a good place to live for that kind of thing. By the time we moved from Colorado, I’d bagged 12 of the 14,000 ft peaks (called “fourteeners”… Colorado has 53 of them). And last year, about the time that the seeds of an idea to make our first feature-length movie were taking root, I hiked 16,000 ft Mt Kenya with Robbie. It was about 3 months later that the OFM team, and Ted Rurup (producer) in particular, tasked me with directing it. And we were about to leave on furlough for 2 months. While being up for the challenge, I realized I was woefully unprepared for what lay ahead. I wasn’t even sure what it was that lay ahead, but only that it was big. Too big to wrap my mind around. Like standing on the Colorado plains, looking west toward the mountains, it’s very hard to judge scale. I’ve done it enough times to know that something that looks from a distance like a quick scurry up a hill is actually an arduous, strenuous, lengthy climb up a huge pile of rocks. It takes preparation and forethought, planning and training. Once you start climbing, you realize how slowly the peak seems to grow, and often disappears behind smaller peaks in the foreground. You feel light headed as you pass the tree-line. A headache, or nausea might follow. Half-way up the final stretch of mountain you wonder if this will really be worth it. From the top,...
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