DOCUMENTING THE “FATHER OF LIGHTS”: THE AESTHETICS OF A CONTEMPORARY US CHARISMATIC-CHRISTIAN DOCUMENTARY FILM AND ITS AUDIENCE RECEPTION
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
In 2012, “Wanderlust Productions” released its third Christian documentary film, Father of Lights, and accompanied that release with a film-screening/worship-event-tour in over 40 US and UK churches. Drawing on charismatic Christianity’s exponential growth as a global religion, the film reports on miraculous events occurring around those following Jesus all over the world, and purports to explore “God’s character and heart, with some of the most amazing supernatural encounters ever caught on film”. Based on an ethnographic study of the tour, this talk reflects on the uses of filmmaking in contemporary religion and investigates the film’s reception and religious impact. The talk investigates how the audience develops trust in the documentary and identifies strategies of reception. In this way, the religious use of media is analyzed as an especially powerful form of ‘making religion effective’. Adrian Hermann is a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University.