EGM Featured at First-Ever Mission Fest Film Festival

Experience forgiveness and the plight of indigenous people in The Grandfathers
Dallas/ Ft. Worth, TX—Since 1983, Mission Fest has been hosting global missions conferences with partnering churches around the world to inform, celebrate, and challenge the public to reach out to a needy world.  This year the organizers of Mission Fest Vancouver, which is attracting some 35,000 attendees,  are pleased to introduce the first-ever Mission Fest Film Festival featuring a program of 11 mission-themed film screening events and three film seminars.  Among those films is The Grandfathers, a recent release from Ethnographic Media (EGM).
Jesse Saint never knew his Grandpa Nate; just that he cared deeply for the Waodani (Huarani) Indians before he died a martyr by their hands. And Jesse’s father, Steve, was called a ‘hero of faith’ for helping the Waodani end a cycle of spear killings that claimed Nate and decimated their own numbers. It was a story that stained-glass windows are made out of – yet Jesse Saint spent his whole life not living up to that heroic image. 
In The Grandfathers, award-winning director Jim Hanon (End of the Spear, Miss HIV) looks at this remarkable true story through Jesse’s eyes. What can it mean to step out of your father’s shadow and find your own destiny?  Fusing film shot deep in the Amazon jungle with visionary design and animation, this documentary takes viewers into Jesse’s world as he builds his own life with the men who killed the grandpa he never knew. This is the completion of a trilogy that began with Beyond the Gates of Splendor documentary and includes the feature film, End of the Spear.
The Grandfathers will be screened at 9:00 p.m., Friday, January 8, 2010 and at 1:00 p.m., Sunday, January 10, 2010. Jim Hanon will be leading a seminar, as well, and will also be a part of a panel discussion Saturday afternoon tackling the topic “Does Your Story Have Legs?” The Mission Fest Film Festival is a great opportunity for aspiring screenwriters—or any kind of storytellers—to share their own ideas and receive feedback from award-winning writers and directors.
For Hanon, Mission Fest is an ideal venue to share the story of The Grandfathers. The film explores awe-inspiring examples of forgiveness, as the Waodani and the Saint family are able to leave their violent past behind them. The relationship between Jesse Saint and Mincaye, the Waodani elder who adopts him as a grandson, becomes even more poignant when Jesse discovers that Mincaye is believed to be the man who speared his Grandpa Nate to death all those decades ago. In the Huarani tradition, Jesse should have returned to avenge his grandfather’s murder by killing Mincaye, not befriending him. Through Jesse Saint’s perspective, audiences will also address the difficult and controversial questions surrounding global missions and become aware of the struggles faced by the Waodani and other indigenous peoples.
“Many people who identify themselves as Christians have a positive perception of missionaries. However, there are also a great many people who have a negative perception,” says Hanon. “Jesse Saint is not a missionary, and he didn’t know how to live up to the legacy of being the grandson of a famous martyr. The story raises many questions, but the one that captivated my heart and drove me while making the film is the question of dependency and self-determination of the Waodani.”
“I have young daughters who are coming of age, and they have all the same questions Jesse had. I think the questions in this story about faith, family, and what it means to find where you do and don’t belong, are universal,” Hanon continues. “I think the idea of a person’s faith in God helping the society they belong to rather than hurting it is something a great many people have questions about. Jesse and Mincaye’s journey brings perspective and understanding to these questions, and I hope that their story helps indigenous relations all over the world.”
Jim Hanon is the chief creative officer of EGM Films. As film director and screenwriter, he is the creative force behind Little Town of Bethlehem (2009), The Grandfathers (2009), Miss HIV (2008), End of the Spear (2005), and Beyond the Gates of Splendor (2002).
Jim’s career has included being a vice president at Leo Burnett, co-founding Hanon McKendry and Compass Arts, and serving as chief creative officer of Every Tribe Entertainment. He has won numerous international, national and regional awards for creative achievement.
EthnoGraphic Media (EGM) is an educational non-profit organization exploring the critical issues of our time. As a community of artists and filmmakers, EGM uses media to tell true stories of hope and compassion in the midst of suffering and strife. EGM believes that gaining a deeper understanding of the human condition inspires positive action.
Jim Hanon will be available for interviews. Contact Diane Morrow