“Love Unfiltered” won the Missions Awareness Award at CWVFF 2019. Recently, Director Jim Adams took some time to share with us his journey in creating this film.
What was your background in filmmaking before directing this film?
I have essentially no background in filmmaking. This was God’s idea – something I never saw coming until I was already 64 years old.
My wife and I founded Creative Impact Ministries in 2012 for one purpose: to tell the personal stories of full-time missionaries in a way that moves the hearts of people “back home.” These missionaries tend to lose touch with their supporting partners over the years. Being “out of sight, out of mind” often results in severe underfunding, lack of passionate prayer support and a growing sense of isolation.
So we “retired” from over three decades of pastoral ministry and devoted ourselves to learning how to make what we hoped would be professional quality documentaries.
In the beginning, we had no cameras, no microphones, no lights, no computers, no experience… nothing! But with God’s favor, we raised financial support in the same way most missionaries do. I bought a Lumix GH2, some audio and lighting gear, a MacBook Pro and Final Cut. After a lot of online tutorials, we started making films at no charge to the missionaries. We make and give our films to them as a tool they can use to open doors to a partnership. We have no other purpose other than glorifying God by telling these stories.
However… receiving the Missions Awareness award (when I was 71 years old!) was a great encouragement to our small team and has given us a credibility boost with churches, sending agencies and missionaries who don’t know about us.
How did this project help you grow as a filmmaker?
Every documentary we have produced has been part of the learning process. For the first five years of Creative Impact’s existence, my wife (Lynn) and I did everything. All the writing, pre-production, logistics, camera ops, audio, lighting, post-production, etc. were done by the two of us.
Then 2017, our son Andy (an audio professional) joined our team and our audio quality improved dramatically. He also gets our gimbal shots, flies our drone and does all the post-production of audio.
Love… Unfiltered was, however, a quantum leap in our learning process. We learned to function together under often very adverse conditions to capture a lot of the action. Traveling in canoes to deliver water filters to jungle communities required a new level of coordination between two cameras.
Probably the most impactful thing in this film was that our friend from church, Doug Beiden (beidenmusic.com), joined our team and wrote an original score as a gift to the missionaries. Now I didn’t have to try to find and fit royalty-free music to the story. I cannot begin to describe what a blessing this was! I felt like I was involved in making “a real movie!”
Any moments from creating this film that impacted you personally?
This story really clarified the reason for our calling.
The Bouthilliers (missionaries) have faithfully served for over 20 years in extremely remote and dangerous locations in the Amazon Basin. They truly are heroes of the faith. But hardly anyone knows about them.
During pre-production, they shared that they felt almost completely isolated from people back home. Very few understood or appreciated what they were doing. They even felt like no one really cared. If they went home on furlough, churches would only give them a couple of minutes exposure out of obligation. They felt like an interruption to the church’s program.
But Love… Unfiltered created a renewed enthusiasm. New people joined their support team. Even some family members who had never supported them gave financial support. And some people heard God’s call to missions.
These results greatly impacted me and gave me a renewed commitment to continue this important ministry.
How did you work to honor God in the process of making this film?
Before anything else, we (Creative Impact) are ministers of Jesus Christ. We honor God by how we work together. We honor God by working hard and giving Him our best. We honor Him by showing His extraordinary work through ordinary people who have simply said yes to His call.
And because of our age and our lack of training, we clearly give all honor to “God who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we can ask or even imagine.”
Why are you passionate about the message of Love…Unfiltered?
We have a commission from Christ. We are to go into all the world (here, there, everywhere) to share the Gospel and make disciples. That is the job of the church until He returns.
The message of Love… Unfiltered is that some ordinary people can go if other ordinary people will send them.
The Great Commission should be the most important agenda item for the church.
How can people view Love…Unfiltered?
All of our films are available on our website: www.creativeimpactministries.com
Any closing comments you would like to make?
We believe that God may be calling other filmmakers to this kind of ministry. If you would like more information about using film to support Great Commission missionaries, we’d love to speak with you. Please use the contact form on our website.
Thanks so much for sharing Jim! At CWVFF, we love seeing filmmakers who are passionate about telling stories that advance the Gospel.