Monday, September 9, 2013
Tim Chey on Faith in Movies
Writer/Director Timothy Chey took the stage at Lakewood Church just days before the Houston Premier of his movie, Final, to impart wisdom on the actors, writers, and directors of the Lakewood Players. Tim Chey has been in the industry for about 20 years now and his love of Christ guides his career everyday. This was apparent as Tim shared information about his background, his movies, his choices, and his faith.
Born and raised in Englewood California, Chey didn't accept Christ until he attended USC Film School. Chey says that he agrees with the scripture that talks about a sinful woman who anointed Jesus in Luke 7:36-50; verse 47 says whoever has been forgiven little loves little. He likens his salvation to this woman's experience. While at USC, Chey produced His first acclaimed movie which did not have a Christian theme. As a tribute to his childhood, Chey wrote and directed Fakin' Da Funk about a Chinese boy growing up in an African-American neighborhood, starring Pam Grier, Bo Jackson, and Nell Carter. The film was nominated for the Golden Starfish Award at the 1997 Hamptons International Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the 1997 Urbanworld Film Festival. After this success, Chey decided to devote his film career to God, literally. After discussing his salvation and first film, Tim was moved to offer advice an encouragement.
Tim Chey encouraged the Christian thespians to act in secular, even R-rated movies citing Acts 18 where Paul ended up staying with a couple because he had a similar profession, not because of his faith. During this time in the Bible all Jews were ordered to leave Rome, but they needed people with desirable skills, so he was able to use his profession to preach the Gospel. By acting in a secular movie with non-believers, a Christian actor is in a position to preach the Gospel to the lost!
Mr Chey warned that each person must know thyself; if you aren't ready to enter that space wait until God prepares you but don't fight it. This is the way a Christian actor can use his or her freedom to glorify God but to do that we must become all things to all people (v. 22b). By using your talents in a secular movie, you enter that world and experience things from the point of view of a non-Christian actor. Chey warned that it's imperative to keep your bearings in Christ and not to enter that world until the Lord prepares you because he will make a way because as Matthew 6:33 says, seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all your human needs will be met. From this encouragement, Tim moved on to a little advice before he took open questions.
Tim advised that writers and producers not only know their purpose but be sure to surround their projects with people who are on board with that purpose. This advice came from an experience Chey had with a movie that he wrote starring Cuba Gooding Jr. Mr. Chey penned the movie as a story about redemption but the director portrayed the story as a vengeful thriller. This movie like many of Chey's movies is focused on multiple protagonists which Wendell Burton says is a smart way to tell a story. Though Wendell and may others herald Tim's writing there are those who are not fans.
Tim says that he faces criticism because people want Christian movies not to be "too preachy". Quoting 1 Corinthians 9:16, woe to me if i don't preach the gospel, Mr. Chey finds this criticism in direct conflict with his mission as a Christian. He refutes the idea that our actions should draw people to want to know about Jesus because that's not what usually happens. In his film, Sung the the devil, Tim's wife led Malcolm McDowell to accept Christ. Ironically, Mr. McDonald blatantly asked Tim to "take some of the Jesus out" to which Mr. Chey obviously refused.