Translation: Novel into Film

David Mitchell, author of the novel Cloud Atlas, wrote a very clear article in the Wall Street Journal this week on the necessity of translation in adapting a novel into a film – and talking about how his novel pushes the limits of what’s possible to portray on the screen.  If you’re wondering why “the novel’s always so much better than the film,” or ever hoping to adapt a novel yourself, check out his 5 main points.

Alumni work on independent film!

We are very proud of Belhaven theatre alumni Amile Wilson (’07) and Clarence “Doc” Davis (’08), who recently worked on the independent feature film “The Dynamiter” for Elysium Films.  Amile was a Producer and Davis worked on sound.  The film was recently screened at the Berlinale Film Festival.

Read reviews of the film in Variety and at Screen Daily

The Dynamiter image

Playing Dead

Here the link to an article from the Wall Street Journal about another possible route into the world of performance: playing a dead body.  With a number of television shows and movies in production at any given time that involve crime scenes, actors and makeup people are necessary to make these scenes look real.  The article is written by someone who performed as a victim on Law and Order: Los Angeles.

Stage vs. Screen – theme?


This is a New York Times article by Jason Zinoman that reviews a stage adaptation of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” the novel which inspired the classic sci-fi film, Bladerunner.  There is a casual statement early in the article that I found intriguing…

“a downtown play is a better forum than a Hollywood blockbuster for a grim meditation on religion, consumerism and what it means to be human.”

I’ve been thinking about this comment in the past few days since I first saw the article, wondering if it’s true; that the forum of ‘a downtown play’ in and of itself is a better place for discussing issues so central to our existence.  Certainly, I believe that the immediacy and presence of live theatre has the potential to take the discussion of issues such as these and deepen them in a very personal way, that a significant impression can be made on the audience of a theatrical presentation.  And while I believe that some artists have been able to stretch the medium of film to create works with lasting effect, the category of movies with the label ‘Hollywood blockbuster’ rarely even attempt to function on that level.  ‘Hollywood blockbuster’ films might be more comparable to ‘Broadway entertainment’ – where the form and purpose of the work is often more likely attempting to amuse or excite an audience, rather than to consider or examine the significant issues of their lives and a new way.  And if that’s true, then those of us who are called to work in the theatre (particularly the kind which might deserve the label ‘downtown’) might consider that the scope of our work should perhaps include “religion, consumerism and what it means to be human.”

Hollywood’s attempts to court Christian audience

Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” proved to many Hollywood executives that there was an untapped market of people looking for specifically Christian material. In the years since, a handful of films out of Hollywood have attempted to reach that market with varying degrees of success – which has still left room for the independently produced Christian films, such as the ones produced by Sherwood Baptist Church (Facing the Giants, Fireproof, etc). But with dollar signs in their eyes, the dream machine of the mainstream film industry has yet to fully tap into that audience. Here is an article from the New York Times that addresses this issue.