As in previous years, the Study of Movies Avodah proved to be a favorite of Providence students. April Otto (’18) remarked, “It can be hard for Christians to be involved in the film and television industry, but that doesn’t mean we should avoid it. Film and TV are much too prevalent for Christians to simply write off as being none of our concern. We should be engaging in all of God’s creation and we should be creating good things as well, including film and TV.”
Each Avodah consists of a pre-discussion, the event itself, and a post-discussion. In this Avodah’s pre-discussion, students had the opportunity to interact with TV writer Matthew Beans, who works for Dreamworks Studios and has recently been a part of creating the Neflix series “The Croods”. Matthew spoke of his experience in the film industry as a writer, talking about how it relates to his calling personally. Students at Providence often talk about the Christian concept of calling and vocation and it is helpful to have an industry member to help talk through the everyday realities of applying those concepts. Beans discussed the many challenges and opportunities he has on a regular basis to influence culture-shaping mediums in film and television.
For the excursion itself, students went on a guided tour of Paramount Studios in Hollywood. The first stop was the prop warehouse, containing actual props from movies and TV shows such as Grease, the Brady Bunch, and the Transformers. Several students remarked that this was one of their favorite parts of the tour. Students walked through the Paramount lot, touring a TV studio and other sets, including a block of building facades made to look like New York City.
In this tour, students articulated the large emphasis Paramount puts on its history and reputation. Paramount was one of the early movie studios in Hollywood and continues to thrive today. In the Golden Age of Hollywood, Paramount was putting out 100 movies a year, and students related this to the industrial boom of that time.
Students at Providence are given many opportunities for holistic learning: in the classroom, in the dorms, and in the experiential learning program. Avodahs like this provide an opportunity for students to open the conversation of Christian cultural engagement.