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    September 29th, 2012 @ 1:04 am by Kevin

    We had a full house at the Q&A screening in Pasadena tonight. Let’s keep the momentum going in Orange County tomorrow @ 7:40pm. Come one, come all, come early! And don’t worry if you missed out tonight in Pasadena. The film will be running for at least a week at the Laemmle Playhouse 7.

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  1. I wish I could’ve been there for this! I was recovering from jet lag so missed it. But I did just see your film in Pasadena at Laemmle Playhouse and really enjoyed it. Loved the way you positioned everything, from beginning to end. Loved the questions you asked, loved the level of intellectualism and rigor your subjects reflected (most of them, anyway). Thank you so much for making this movie! We (in the Church and outside the church) need this movie and more like it! However, my only question/complaint at the end was this: was there a reason that more diverse voices (ethnically) weren’t presented? African-American voices, Asian-American voices, more women…? I realize you have to narrow the view in scope to some degree, but at times, it just felt like lots of white guys arguing (which seemed ironic given the historical debate over hell and its meanings, from the early church on). Perhaps those interviews didn’t make it into the film or perhaps you weren’t able to do those, but I think this great documentary would be terrific if it only had some more perspectives from different (ethnically and culturally) diverse backgrounds. That’s all. But other than that, really enjoyed this Kevin! I’ll be spreading the word at UCLA film school (where I’m currently studying Screenwriting) for peers and friends to go out and see this. Thank you for all your hard work in getting this film to us!

    • This criticism has come up a few times. Here is my answer:

      1) The group of people we approached and interviewed for “Hellbound?” is far more diverse than the people who actually made it into the final cut of the film. For example, we approached Francis Chan, but after considerable internal debate, he said no. We also interviewed Carlton Pearson, but in the end decided not to include the footage in the film–partly b/c of an audio glitch that happened when we were shooting B-roll. And I have to say I fought long and hard to make Carleton’s interview work, anticipating just this kind of criticism. But I also reached a point where I had to ask myself whether I was trying to make the best movie or simply avoid charges of “narrowness.”

      2) When the “Love Wins” story broke, all sorts of people came out of the woodwork for and against Rob Bell. This just happened to coincide with our development process when I was doing research, seeking to find out who had written the most influential books on the topic, etc. So in a way, the timing couldn’t be better, b/c it showed me who had a dog in this fight. The thing I realized in retrospect though is how “privileged” this conversation really is. And by that I mean, if you look at the bestselling books on this topic, virtually all of them are written by some of the most privileged people on the planet–white males. Francis Chan and Carleton Pearson are rare exceptions (as are women like Sharon Baker, Julie Ferwerda, Jaime Clark-Soles and a handful of others). Rob Bell is a white male, and so are most of his most vocal supporters and critics, such as Kevin DeYoung, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, etc. And look at that–I’m a white male as well. What’s going on here? That’s a subtext to the debate on which I’m only now beginning to reflect. But I will say this: Had the controversy over Love Wins manifested in the African-American or Hispanic community, we would have followed the story there, and the “cast” of the film would look quite different. But it didn’t, so we didn’t. That’s not to say these communities don’t have important things to say on the topic, and as I said, I made efforts to get these perspectives on film. Perhaps you can call the absence of these perspectives in the final cut a failure, and I accept that. Perhaps I did fail on that front. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

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