A Christian film director has been left frustrated after a faith-based media company refused to promote his new film on the grounds of decency. Dave Christiano, the in-some-circles-legendary director of films including The Pretender, says a Milwaukee-based radio host rejected his latest offering because it featured a female character with a dress cut above the knee. The daily Crosstalk programme, which airs on the Wisconsin-based station Voice of Christian Youth (VCY) said that it would not promote Remember the Goal – Christiano's new athletics-based evangelistic drama – on the grounds that it was 'ungodly'.
In the film, lead actress Allee-Sutton Hethcoat wears a dress which
finishes slightly above her knee, while as a sports-based drama, it also
features a number of characters in gym kit. On his own website, Christiano says that he pointed out to Jim Schneider, the host of the programme, that a similiar Christian movie, A Thief in the Night – a film still regularly referenced and promoted on Crosstalk –
features two female characters with considerably shorter skirts than
the one worn by Hethcoat. Schneider allegedly countered that this was
different because those women were portraying non-believers, whereas
Hethcoat's character is a Christian.
This is not a spoof.
Christiano called the decision 'hypocritical – using legalistic,
man-made rules to arbitrarily determine what is godly and ungodly'. He
also suggests that Schneider is displaying blatant sexism by expressing
concern only at the exposure of female flesh, pointing out that while
Schneider was upset by the length of female athletes' shorts in Remember the Goal, he was apparently unconcerned by a topless male in tiny shorts in a previous Christiano film.
I am not making any of this up.
The director said that he has found VCY's decision not to promote the
film – which includes a clear presentation of the Christian gospel –
'impossible to swallow', and has called on his supporters to petition
the station to change its mind. He says he has already written two
strongly-worded letters to the president of the station and left four
voice messages asking a board member to contact him about this. He is
yet to receive a response.
All of this stuff really happened.
On his website, Christiano wrote: 'Sometimes disappointment comes and
you take the blow, but not this time, I just can't keep quiet on this
one.' He has published the email address and phone number of the
offending station, and is hoping they'll have a change of heart. Remember the Goal is now available on DVD and on-demand.
Martin Saunders is the Deputy CEO of Youthscape. Follow him on Twitter @martinsaunders.