Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 11/20/23

The anti-nuclear war TV movie The Day After aired on ABC 40 years ago today. The director, producers and some of the actors involved in the groundbreaking film of will join together at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, Kansas (where the movie was filmed) for a theatrical showing of the upcoming as yet unscheduled PBS presentation of the award-winning documentary Television Event which recounts the making of the controversial movie as well as its cultural and political impact. The movie was viewed by over 100 million Americans, over 200 million Russians and hundreds of millions of people around the world.

The hybrid live and video panel will include The Day After director Nicholas Meyer (also known for the Star Trek movies The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country), cast member Steve Guttenberg (Three Men and a Baby) and producer Bob Papazian. Also participating will be the film’s local casting director Jack Wright, former Lawrence Mayor David Longhurst and the documentary’s director Jeff Daniels (not to be confuse with the famous actor).

The Day After is said to have made an impression on then-President Ronald Reagan who would go on to meet former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland for a meeting that would eventually result in the signing of the Intermediate Range Weapons Treaty. Talking of the agreement, Reagan, a longtime Cold War hawk, would tell Congress “To preserve our civilization in this modern age, a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Speaking of that moment, Daniels asks “Reagan finally recognized this publicly – but what about today’s leaders?,” noting that “Once again, we seem to be racing toward nuclear extinction on several fronts – with the US and Russia rehashing the saber-rattling of the 1980s and seven more countries threatening to press the red button. Yet those under age 50 seem blithely unaware of the danger. My team produced this film in the hopes of waking up the public, so we don’t sleepwalk into the apocalypse.” Daniels concludes “Television Event reminds us that, however polarized we may be ideologically, we can still come together, inform ourselves and act to prevent the obscene devastation caused by nuclear weapons.”

Next Monday Daniels and social impact producers Arthur Kanegis and Melanie Bennett will be at the United Nations for a meeting of countries that have banned nuclear weapons. They plan to offer the film as an educational tool for activists and delegates to advance their outreach work. 69 nations have already ratified the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Angel Studios has acquired worldwide rights to the feature film Bonhoeffer. The distributors of this summer’s sleeper hit Sound of Freedom are planning a November 2024 release. Speaking of the theologian and anti-Nazi dissident subject of the true story, Angel Studios President Jordan Harmon says “There has never been a time in history where we needed to be reminded of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer more than today.” The film’s director Todd Komarnicki agrees, declaring his message to be “as urgent in 2023 as it was in 1945.”
Bonhoeffer was a Berlin-based pacifist pastor and author known for his fearless – and dangerous – opposition to the Third Reich during the Nazi era.
Let us be thankful that our world survived both the Nazis and the Soviet Union as we spend time with loved one’s this Thanksgiving weekend. Meanwhile…if you’re looking for some relaxing and uplifting TV to watch with the fam, checkout these offerings on Great American Family.
My Christmas Hero (Friday, Nov. 24 @ 800 PM ET)
US Army reservist and orthopedic physician Nicole Ramsey (Candace Cameron Bure) is on a mission to honor a special fallen soldier and bring much needed healing to her own family.
A Royal Date for Christmas (Saturday, Nov. 25 @ 8:00 PM ET)
When a European Duke (Damon Runyon) arrives in the US and realizes that his bags have been lost in transit he has no choice but to be styled, and ultimately inspired, by Bella (Danica McKellar), the owner of a local boutique.
A Christmas for the Ages (Sunday, Nov. 26 @ 8:00 PM ET)
Prompted by youngest granddaughter Savannah (Natasha Bure), four generations of a family celebrate what Christmas was like in the ’40s, ’60s and ’90s. Cheryl Ladd also stars.

John W. Kennedy is a writer, producer and media development consultant specializing in television and movie projects that uphold positive timeless values, including trust in God.

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

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