Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Jason’s journey. Jason Pamer produced and co-wrote Rape For Profit the critically-acclaimed 2012 documentary praised by Huffington Post as offering a “gritty look at Seattle’s growing problem with sex trafficking.”  He then negotiated a theatrical distribution that landed the film in the top 5 in North America for dollars grossed per screen over its opening weekend. The filmmaker, who currently lives in the Seattle area with his Greek wife Garyfalia, is shooting for even greater success with his next film. The ambitious faith-themed scripted drama/documentary hybrid Hearts of Men explores what the film’s website describes as “the roots and underpinnings of sexual exploitation.” He and his partners have raised about $820,000 which is just about $100,000 shy of the film’s projected budget.

JWK: Tell me about your story and about how Hearts of Men came to be?

JASON PAMER: The last film I produced and wrote was a film called Rape for Profit. It was a film exposing sex trafficking in a major U.S.  city, specifically the demand side of the equation which involved, primarily, men. We were exposing what the men looked like and what they did and why they did it. We thought that was the end of the story (but) after we released our film theatrically and it experienced some success…Hearts of Men came to us. (The producers) had been working on the film for a few years, trying to make it. We jumped on the team in late 2013…This is to the man in the midst of the illicit affair or in the midst of the porn addiction. What is Jesus saying to you? Where is he in the room? What is his position toward you?

JWK: Who specifically came to you to work on this film?

JP:  Tony Anderson who founded Unearthed (Pictures) about five years ago. They set out to make a film called Hearts of Men. When they first set out, it was to expose the demand side of sex trafficking overseas. So, we kind of had similar timelines and focuses on the films. What he realized is this is just picking at the fruit of the tree but, as the fruit continues to get picked, it continues to grow. So, you need to get to the roots — which is the hearts of men. What we need to say to the hearts of men and what the hearts of men need to understand…is, ultimately, who God is, where is He at and what is He saying to them in the midst of their brokenness.

We chose to deconstruct The Prodigal Son story. That will be our through line for the film. That will be…the overall narrative and then they’ll be about 40 or 45-minute documentary interviews. We spent last year interviewing guys like William Paul Young, author of The Shack, Francis Chan and Timothy Keller. A bunch of different people (talking about) brokenness. Those will be weaved throughout the narrative…They’ll be kind of speaking into it in a parabolic way, not a literal way.

JWK: When is Hearts of Men coming out and how are you releasing it? 

JP:  We’re looking at a limited theatrical (release) at the end of this year with a robust global launch beginning in 2016. We’d like to do kinda like we did with our last film, Rape for Profit, which is we went to the area churches. (We turned each one into) the largest theater in the area and then we (figuratively) blew that theater up…This is a global film. It’ll be translated into as many languages as we possibly can. It will be released globally. That’s the hope. We’re right now talking to potential global partners.

JWK: Will this be like a one-night theatrical event kind of thing?

JP:  Yeah, I think initially were gonna test the waters like that. We’ll have a one-to-two night event-based theatrical (showing).

JWK: How did Brian Bird (Touched by an Angel, Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart) become attached to the project?

JP:  Brian and I had been talking about different development projects for the last few years. We actually screened our last film, Rape for Profit, with him and got his response. We just kept in touch about different projects. When Hearts of Men came, he and I just increased our dialogue frequency and he came on as one of our executive producers. He’ll be instrumental in working on the distribution of the film. So, we have a partnership on Hearts of Men and he’s ecstatic about the heart behind it and the quality behind it.

JWK: I guess to some degree it’s obvious, but what do you hope people take from the film?

JP:  I want people to understand life is much more about what He’s built us for. It’s less about…the list of things that we need to focus on not doing. It’s much more beautiful, rich and textured than that. It’s much more forward. I want people coming out of that theater and looking at their marriage and raising their kids (in a positive way). This is a faith-based film. It’s being done tastefully and creatively. It’s going to invite men into a mystery. It’s going to invite men into something so much better than porn or the illicit affair.

JWK: So, it’s not as much about what to avoid as it about what to strive for.

JP: Yeah, exactly.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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