Writer and director, Chris Weingart shares some of his thoughts on the mission of Catholic filmmakers.
Andrew Ascough: How did you get into filmmaking?
Chris Weingart: When I was a young lad, I visited my friend’s house one day. I knocked on the door and on the other end was the lens of a VHS camcorder. My friend had received a broken camcorder that he managed to fix. I always like to tell this story. I call it love at first sight. I was completely fascinated by this tool. We made little films. We dressed his little brother up as an alien, and I filmed him beating his little brother up. It was a lot of fun. That was really the beginning of the obsession. My interest in film carried through to high school where I developed my skills by continuing to make films with my friends.
AA: What is your mission as a Catholic filmmaker?
CW: Trigger warning- I went to a Jesuit high school. One of our school mottos was “To Find God in All Things”. That is something that is deeply ingrained into all of us there. We are set on a mission to search out and find God in all things… I see my mission as an artist as helping people to understand what that actually means by revealing where God works in unexpected places. Overall, I like to explore how He can be in the most unlikely of places.
AA: How do you implement the message of this mission into your craft?
CW: Most of the time I think it’s more or less an accident. My art involves Catholicism very clearly in the dynamics of the story, which wasn’t ever anything I set out to do. It just happens because I grew up in the Catholic world, and it’s a large part of my life. I have a lot of thoughts and questions. Meeting people who have thoughts and questions that I think are valid inspires me to bring forth these questions in my art. For instance, I’ve always like synthesizing different perspectives. You know, listening to both sides of an argument… that can be the seed of a story. I like to take the two sides and present them to my audience as a question. It’s about finding where I feel God is working in these moments and questions.
AA: Are there boundaries that Catholic filmmakers need to be aware of?
CW: There are boundaries, but they are not where you think they are. In Poetics and Aesthetics class, I found a really true experience really articulating something I believed. We read about the broken spirit of humanity and how man is broken. I feel like a lot of Catholic art doesn’t do justice to that reality. As artist, I feel it is our duty to be more truthful about man’s brokenness. There are a lot of things that I observe about myself and others that I’m kind of horrified by. Those aspects of us are just natural facets of our human experience. In order to justify deeply exploring the different aspects of our brokenness, we must always bring it back to where God is in all of it.