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Entries in Polycarp (12)

8:00AM

Winning Awards - Part 3 (Feature Films)

At this year's Christian Worldview Film Festival, I was excited to see awards given to several films that I have had the pleasure to help with!

"POLYCARP" // camera operator, 2nd unit DP, editor, colorist
Movie Website

(Polycarp also won "Best Editing" at the 2015 Pan Pacific Film Festival)

"BOUND" // editing consultant, assistant colorist
Movie Website

8:00AM

Polycarp - Review

Article by Melinda Ledman // ChristianCinema.com


It’s always refreshing to see a film that’s thin on dialogue, but dense with meaning. Polycarp took home the top prizes at the recent Christian Worldview Film Festival, which is no surprise given its frank treatment of first century persecution. A creeping concern among Christians today, persecution of the church in America is a fast-growing fear and slow-but-steady threat. So how can we find hope? 

Polycarp is based on the life of an early church father who studied under the apostle John. A missionary turned scribe in his old age, Polycarp was the anchor of the Christian community in Smyrna. As persecution from Rome encroached on their freedoms, Polycarp and other Christians in Smyrna had to decide whether they would pursue their work in the safety of another town or stand and fight in their local community. Polycarp’s story is viewed through the eyes of a slave girl who immediately receives her freedom after being purchased. 

Three things stood out to me about this film. First, I was intrigued by the dialogue of the Polycarp character. More often than not, he quoted Bible passages as though they were ordinary speech. He didn’t use a preachy, heavy handed, “Jesus said…” style, but simply spoke sacred words in the most natural contexts. This idea wasn’t too far-fetched since his sole occupation was copying the words of the apostles, ie. what would become the New Testament. These God-breathed ideas and phrases would have made their home in his subconscious after numerous transcripts, and he could have spoken them as naturally as you or I would talk about the weather. It intrigued me how Scripture gets into the soul today, even though our culture is now so far removed from “oral tradition.” Like Polycarp, those who memorize scripture often find the Holy Spirit opening doors of conversation with others, and sacred words come naturally in the right context. 

Second, the film challenges us to be brave and true. After watching the movie, my daughter asked me a pointed question: “Would you deny God in order to keep our family safe?” What a loaded question!! Prior to watching this film, I might have said yes. I’ll be honest. When I’ve imagined a world of religious persecution (like what would I have done if I was a Jew in World War II), it always seemed more reasonable to lie to corrupt authorities in order to continue the work of Christ underground. It seemed to me that surviving to preach another day made more sense than needless martyrdom. But this film made me think much harder about that scenario. It raised questions about the internal and external ramifications of denying God, even falsely denying him. I began to consider the bigger picture of “life,” which brings me to the third point…

Polycarp reminds us that as Christians, we are part of something much larger than this temporal life. While most Christian movies today focus on the life we live right now, surviving the challenges and pitfalls of a frustrating existence on Earth, Polycarp reaches beyond the immediate. For one, it shows us that we are part of a much larger, historical story, one that reaches throughout the centuries. Many came before us and fought for the Gospel, and we too will play out our roles in the grand scale of God’s story with humanity. Second (and this is where my answer to the kids came in), our “lives” extend far beyond our time on this planet. We can’t make decisions based on the immediate ramifications of our choices. We have to look into the far, far future. What do our enemies threaten us with, death? Death is to be immediately in the presence of God. Torture? Even those who are being persecuted across the world today endure suffering with a supernatural kind of peace. The apostles of the Bible faced it with joy, singing, and even witnessing. If I am to be honest, I have only ever heard that God gives his people uncanny courage and peace when persecution comes. So, when the power-driven Quadratus fumes his greatest boast, “I wield the power of the gods in this place!” his greatest weakness is exposed. He does not understand God’s protection, provision, end-game or even the nature of the universe. And Quadratus’ threats weigh false on an eternal scale.

Perhaps that’s the vehicle of hope in this film. With today’s increasing religious restriction and a spreading dread of persecution, Polycarp argues the opposite of weakness and fear. It raises up pillars of Biblical truth instead. Quoting from the Bible, Polycarp describes how he deals with his own fear, “Perfect love casts out fear.” When he looks honestly at the God who loved and saved him in his sinful state, the God who walks with him every moment, and the God who will be waiting for him even if he should die, fear is an empty lie. Somehow we emerge from the film with a greater trust in God as our sovereign, protector, and trustworthy advocate. We emerge with gratitude for what Christ did for us, and a sense of belonging in God’s eternal story. We emerge with the courage to resist our own weakness and expose fear for the lie that it is.

Polycarp is available on DVD.
For more information about the film, visit www.polycarpmovie.com or stop by their church screening page.

1:00PM

Polycarp - The Music

 It was a great privilege to work with the talented composer, Benjamin Botkin.  We can't stress enough how important it is to have the right music to bring new life and great emotional depth to the story.  Ben nailed it with Polycarp, and we think you're really going to like the music! 

We took some time to interview Ben so you folks can get an inside glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in making music for film.  

Polycarp Team: How did you get into music and composing music for films?

Ben: For as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in music to one degree or another. My first attempts at composing however, came in 2005, when I was sixteen. My dad was creating a documentary and encouraged me and my two older sisters to try our hand at writing the music. We had never done anything like that before, but we got some music software and over the space of a few months, we cobbled together something that resembled a crude documentary score. It was through that process that I was introduced to composition and film scoring, and developed a keen interest in both. As I spent time learning the tools and the trade I got various opportunities to score for various projects.

Fast forward nine years, and I still feel like I am at the beginning of my musical journey, but I am very grateful for the things I've learned, the opportunities I've had, and that I can be supporting my family doing something I love this much.

Polycarp Team: Some people may be curious about the process you go through to create music for a film. Would you describe that process for us?

Ben: The creative process usually begins with preliminary discussions with the director about this vision for the film--story arc, tone, style, mood, etc. Before I start scoring to picture, I like to have some time to conduct preliminary research on the style of film music needed [and] I like to create musical "sketches" wherein I experiment with different melodies, instrumentation and mood. These are rough, but they give the director an idea of where I'm planning to go with the music, and it gives a reference point for creative discussions. I also use this time to purchase any new software or hardware tools that I may need for the project (you really don't want to have to make any substantial upgrade or changes to your studio mid-project if you can help it).

When a locked edit of the film is created, the director and composer will have a "spotting session." During the spotting session we decide which spots in the film need music, which music, why, and exactly where it starts and stops. When this session is over I have a cuesheet with notes for every cue (individual piece of music) that needs to be written, and as I finish a cue I send it to the director for his feedback. It's very common for the director to have suggestions for changes (or even request whole re-writes on some cues), so it's important when I budget my time to set some aside for those inevitable change requests. As soon as he gives the cue a thumbs up, I will prepare the final audio files for whoever is doing the final mix of the film.

Polycarp Team: Is it challenging creating music for a period film?

Ben: It's definitely different from creating music for a modern day film, which is usually much more understated and minimal. It is often the case that period films have more strongly dramatic situations and you can justify creating more musically rich and dramatic music than usual.

Polycarp Team: With a story like Polycarp's, there is a big temptation to make it epic, bigger than life, yet this is really a story that focuses on the characters – it's a character drama. How do you avoid the temptation to make the music sound overly epic?

Ben: Joe [the director] was very good about reminding me that, though there are some epic parts in this film, the focus is primarily on the characters and what they're feeling. There were a couple occasions where I'd made the music for a scene very big and dramatic, and Joe would remind me "this is a tender moment--a quiet moment."

Polycarp Team: What drives you toward excellence?

Ben: There's a lot that could be said in answer to this, but I'll answer with a couple of verses that have been important to me:

Colossians 3:23,24 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."

1 Corinthians 10:31 "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

Polycarp Team: Where do you find inspiration for your music?

Ben: All sorts of places! Contrary to what some musicians and artists want to believe, I don't think that anyone can or does create in a vacuum. Human creativity is derivative in nature. On Polycarp, Joe Henline and I often referenced and discussed dozens of soundtracks or pieces of music that may inspire the creative direction of our project.

But ultimately, since God is the first and perfect Creator (and from whom is every good and perfect gift), all creative inspiration comes from Him. I have found that prayer and focusing on the Word sustains and inspires my creative energy like nothing else really does (whenever I get "too busy with work" to meditate on the Word or pray, my music suffers). On every project there are instances where I've prayed for a specific idea or breakthrough that I've needed and every time I can recall, the solution becomes clear soon after. There have been many times where I've looked back over those spots later and thought "wow... that music is a lot better than I'm able to write. That didn't come from me."

I think about Psalm 127:1 a lot when I'm working on projects: "Except the LORD build the house (or score), they labour in vain that build it."

Music Preview

Not many people have heard a sneak peek from the Polycarp soundtrack yet, so we decided to share a small sample of what you'll hear in the movie.  Enjoy!

If you missed the Kickstarter campaign and would like to support the production of Polycarp, you can still do so here.

-Official movie website
-Facebook page
-YouTube

7:00AM

Polycarp - Teaser Trailer

We have been working on a teaser trailer for quite some time, and now it's complete! There will be a full trailer coming later, but for now, enjoy this first look into the world of Polycarp!

Please take a moment
to support the film on Kickstarter!!
http://kck.st/1rKGohh

After watching, would you do us a favor? We need this teaser to be seen by as many people as possible! This is crucial, not only to spread awareness of the film, but also to raise support for the Kickstarter campaign! Will you please help by sharing via email, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter? Thank you so much for helping to make this God-honoring, family-friendly movie possible!

Blessings,
The Producers of Polycarp

7:00AM

Polycarp - Composer

Please join us in welcoming composer Benjamin Botkin to the Polycarp team! Ben is perhaps best known for his work on the independent feature film Ace Wonder, and he recently composed music for Building the Machine, a documentary produced by HSLDA.

Benjamin is dedicated to taking the realm of music captive to the obedience of Christ. Since he started composing for film and visual media in 2005, Benjamin has composed the music for several feature, documentary, short, and promotional films. He is self-taught in composition, arrangement, and orchestration. He is privileged to serve the Lord alongside his wife, Audri, and their two little boys.

A period drama like Polycarp: Destroyer of Gods will need a rich and compelling musical score to bring the story to life, and we're happy to welcome Benjamin for this important role!

Kickstarter backers will receive the Polycarp Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for pledges at the $45 level and up (along with a Polycarp DVD and other great rewards)!

Please take a moment
to support the film on Kickstarter!!
http://kck.st/1rKGohh

You can learn more about Benjamin Botkin at his website: www.benbotkin.com

7:01AM

Polycarp - Behind the Scenes

We've been bursting with excitement, waiting for the moment when we can share a special 14 minute behind the scenes documentary on the making of Polycarp. That time has come!

Why tell the story of a little-known church father and his stand against Roman persecution in the 2nd Century? What led the young filmmaking team of Joe and Jerica Henline to choose a difficult historical setting for their first feature film? See how their vision is becoming reality in this behind the scenes glimpse of the upcoming feature film, Polycarp: Destroyer of Gods.

Join the Polycarp cast and crew to see what goes into re-creating the world of ancient Smyrna; from the idea stage, to the creation of authentic sets and costumes; all for the purpose of making a compelling feature-length movie that will honor the Lord Jesus Christ.

Please take a moment
to support the film on Kickstarter!!
http://kck.st/1rKGohh

Thank you all so much!  We could not do this without your help!

8:00AM

Polycarp - KICKSTARTER

We did the hard work of getting Polycarp through production. Now we need to raise a minimum of $25,000 to get this feature film over the finish line! The more we go beyond our $25,000 goal, the bigger the impact this movie will have. Please note that if we don't meet our fundraising goal of at least $25,000 by April 25, we won't receive a penny. Kickstarter is all or nothing. If we are not 100% successfully funded, all pledges will be cancelled.

What should audiences expect?

While not an epic action film, audiences should expect an authentic and heartfelt story that will inspire viewers of all ages.  This character-driven period drama has potential to become a timeless movie for the whole family to enjoy!

Our number one goal is to make this a God-honoring movie. We have sought to make decisions prayerfully, and with good counsel. We believe the story will communicate an important message of being willing to sacrifice all for the sake of Christ. Our prayer is that the Lord would use Polycarp: Destroyer of Gods to touch many lives around the world!

Check out the project here!!

8:00AM

Polycarp - Website

Hey folks, I've been quite busy this year working as the editor for the upcoming feature film, Polycarp!

Check out their new website, and a chance to win a free copy of the movie!

12:15PM

Polycarp - Editing

I've been really busy this year working on the upcoming historical feature film, Polycarp by Henline Productions. I was the camera operator on the film last July-Aug, and I am currently working as the editor for the film alongside the director, Joe Henline!

It's still in the developing stages, but I'm excited to see where it's going, stay tuned!

PolycarpMovie.com

8:00AM

Polycarp: Destroyer of Gods

Hey everyone, I am excited to report that filming for the upcoming feature film Polycarp: Destroyer of Gods has officially wrapped!

I was able to be part of the camera team and it was a pleasure to a part of such an amazing project and work with such a talented crew!

The camera department consisted of:
Director of Photography (DP): Jon Hedrick
Camera Op: John-Clay Burnett
1st Assistant Camera (1st AC): Alex Lerma
2nd Assistant Camera (2nd AC): Seth Rice

Here are a few pictures from production.

Be sure to check out the movie website for more updates! www.PolycarpMovie.com