Faith + Works Lecturer 2019-2020
Sacred Subjects: The Sacred Nature of Representation
On February 6, professorScott Christopherson shared his perspective as a documentary filmmaker on the relationship between spirituality and representation. “Representing human beings is an extremely difficult and complex process,” said Christopherson. “There’s a lot at stake when documentary subjects allow themselves to be vulnerable. When I’m vulnerable as a director and in my own daily communion with God, my ability to represent someone deepens.”
“As I’ve prayed for help in representing them, I’ve found creative energy, even creative revelation. Representing someone isn’t perfect, but sometimes there’s a truth revealed through that imperfect representation.”
Review a re-cap of Christopherson's lecture here.
FAITH + WORKS LECTURE SERIES
Scott first traveled abroad as a volunteer in Thailand for his church from 2001 to 2003. While there, Scott became fluent in the Thai language and developed a great love for the Thai people and culture. Scott worked as a Thai language instructor for two years afterward. Scott has since become fluent in the Lao and Hmong languages. This foundation of fluency in three languages and cultures has provided Scott access and inspiration for his filmmaking endeavors in the region. In 2004, Scott traveled to Thailand to create a series of short documentaries on the influence of American pop culture on Thai communities. Thematically, Scott followed characters who cleaved to traditional Thai culture and juxtaposed them with others who have adopted Western cultural practices. The documentaries highlighted a variety of individuals: a guitar shop owner who chronicled the influence of rock and roll in Thailand, a Theravada Buddhist monk, a tattoo artist, and a Bangkok taxi driver.
After a devastating tsunami hit Thailand, Scott and his colleagues Chris Coy and Andrew Coy started a non-profit organization called the Thai Film Fund (thaifilmfund.org), dedicated to helping the people in Khao Lak, the hardest hit area in Thailand. The Thai Film Fund provided people in this area with the opportunity to document their own stories in three ways—through children’s photography, a mobile video storytelling booth, and workshops that empowered individuals to tell their own stories through film. One man named Saksan, after learning the basics of filmmaking in the Thai Film Fund’s workshop, produced a stunningly poetic film about a family who lost their citizenship documents in the tsunami and were unable to obtain any governmental aid. Helping these individuals find their voice through film inspired Scott to pursue teaching documentary as a profession.
While living in San Francisco Scott integrated the use of new media and the internet as a freelance filmmaker for several companies. He shot, directed, and edited over 20 short films for Project Runway’s website.
Scott is excited about using cinema as a tool for social change that can impact communities. He is increasingly interested in exploring the relationships of urban and rural landscapes in all parts of the world.
When Scott isn’t working or filming, he is spending time with his lovely wife and his three children.
To see other lectures from this series, visit the Faith + Works Lecture Series home page.