This past Sunday, I helped my friend Paul Nethercott photograph an event held at International Christian Assembly (ICA). The event was both promotional for the movie Paul is working on, “2 Criminals”, as well as an outreach opportunity for the church. Shinada-san, one of the two men the movie is based on, was the special speaker for the morning.
The movie is loosely based around the story of two men who were former members of the Yakuza, Japanese organized crime families. As a result of encounters with Christian relief workers in the Tohoku area following the tsunami, both men eventually became followers of Jesus Christ and left their lives as criminals. Shinada-san was a thief and a violent criminal, but while in prison he studied the Bible and found there was redemptive power in the Word of God. He came to be called to be an evangelist and asked his crime family for a release from his obligations to them, a courageous and dangerous act.
Hearing Shinada-san speak, there is no question the man has found his true calling. He is an engaging speaker with a real story of true redemption that he loves to share with others. Few people will have experienced the life Shinada once led, but all will understand that it takes a powerful Savior in Jesus to redeem a person from such a lifestyle.
Paul’s vision for the film is not to make a “Christian film”, but a mainstream film with Christian values and themes playing a prominent role. Christian films tend to get pigeonholed and rarely seen by the audience who would most benefit from them: non-Christian film-goers. Paul hopes that a mainstream release will enable thousands, perhaps millions of Japanese to be exposed to the gospel message in a direct, yet non-threatening way.
Though no actual production has begun, there is a lot of work Paul is doing to sell the idea of the film to those who have influence over whether or not the film gets made. Once the film is funded and the actors have been cast, I hope to be involved in the actual production. In the meantime, I am using my photography to help in the promotion and pre-production phase of the film.
To find out more about 2 Criminals and learn how you can help get involved with promoting or funding the film project, please visit the film’s website. If you would like Paul to speak at your church about the film, please let me know in the comments and I will connect you with Paul.