These eight short films on the Beatitudes have the potential to reach an enormous audience, especially young people.
“Modern religious films often safely cater to an audience by telling stories that preach truth but are void of beauty. But stories that challenge us, mirroring our broken experiences through the lens of hope, offering timeless truths to answer today’s questions: these are the films we want to make.”
That declaration comes from the team behind 8beats, an upcoming anthology of eight short films on the eight Beatitudes. Fueled by Catholic Creatives, a network of marketers, designers, and entrepreneurs, 8beats is the brainchild of no less than 70 filmmakers from across the United States and Canada who are collaborating to bring this idea to life.
Their goal is not a “moralizing message,” but relatable characters and stories that explore “the collision” of these timeless teachings into our human experience. “As artists,” the site continues, “we want to produce short films that narrate these timeless truths to man’s modern heart — both secular and religious.”
In the campaign announcement (now available on YouTube along with the film teaser), Catholic Creatives co-founder Anthony D’Ambrosio reflects on just how ground-breaking and promising this initiative is.
“There hasn’t been a way for us to collaborate across the world with each other,” he explains. “But now, through this common mission and through this ‘digital continent’ that Pope Benedict talked about, we are able to share our information with each other, our understanding, our talents, and to be able to work in a massive way on the same project.”
Some of the most well-known Catholic filmmakers working today have signed onto the project, including Spirit Juice Studios (“Salve Regina”), Kinnane Films (Child 31), and Ecce! Films (The Humanum Series). Filming will run from September to December of this year, and the movie is already scheduled to be released in early 2018 through digital download and Blu-ray. They will also submit it to film festivals to reach a wider audience.
But even with a brilliant idea, a dream team of creatives, and a set timeline, every start-up needs supporters. 8beats is inviting you to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share the news, as well as back the project through Indiegogo to help them meet their fixed goal of $50,000 over the next two months.
“We want to make films that will shape culture, and we need you to be a part of our team,” they explain. “Whether you donate $1 or $1,000 (or more), you’ll be part of this transformative and groundbreaking project.” (If you donate just $30, you’ll be among the first to see the film after festival premieres with an exclusive film download.)
It’s difficult to think of an artistic project in recent years that has so recast evangelization with new ardor, new methods, and new expression. But besides being wildly original, this project also has the potential to reach an enormous audience, especially young people – and not through the dull finger-wagging they’re used to seeing, but through raw, relatable stories that grip the mind and feed the soul.
For 8beats, storytelling through film is clearly about more than peddling a message or a distraction; it’s about receiving and sharing in the truth about human life.
“You tell a story because a statement would be inadequate,” their conclusion reads, quoting Flannery O’Connor. “We could exhaust books with statements about the Beatitudes. But statements are not enough.”