MARY REICHARD, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: A preview of this week’s Listening In.
Filmmaker David Cunningham is best known for the movie To End All Wars and his groundbreaking TV mini-series, The Path to 9/11.
But you may not know that he’s also the son of missionaries Loren and Darlene Cunningham. They’re the ones who founded Youth With A Mission.
NICK EICHER, HOST: David Cunningham’s career has often moved between ministry work and secular projects. His new movie, Running for Grace, attempts to combine them.
Warren Smith asks him about working with that creative tension.
WARREN SMITH: I find—and David, correct me if I’m wrong—but a lot of times message movies suffer for being message movies. If you just tell a great story and sort of let the message be implicit, it often to me feels like it has more integrity. And that’s what you’ve done as well. You don’t make too big a deal out of the adoption angle or the racism angle, but no question it’s part of the context of the times. Was that your intention?
DAVID CUNNINGHAM: Yeah. You know, I really set out to make this movie for my whole family. I have three kids, two girls and a boy, and we wrestle over the remote quite often over what we’re going to watch. And I really wanted to make a movie that we all wanted to watch. Not only is it a family film and safe for the whole family, I wanted to pick a movie that they wanted to go and see. And so our intention was to create an experience that was entertaining, that brought you to another time and place, but also did champion the themes of the power of adoption and the need for family and identity and the need of really getting behind folks that have a dream and have a lot of obstacles in front of them. But through grace and tenacity, you can achieve those dreams. So that was the intent and we’re not meant to, we’re not looking to preach to the choir per se, but we sure need the choir’s help and believe that families across the United States will really enjoy this and hopefully take away some key themes as well.
EICHER: That’s David Cunningham speaking with Warren Smith. You can hear the full interview on Listening In. It goes live tomorrow and is available on your favorite podcast platform.