Author’s note: This article published in 2014.
Long Bay Baptist church member and former television producer, Grant Dixon, has filmed a documentary on the road with his family and friends. The completed film is almost ready for broadcast on Shine TV.
The experienced producer says the idea behind Turning 60: A Road Trip-enjoying the journey was to test the concept.
Grant thought about making a documentary just before leaving on a trip from Auckland to Timaru.
The trip’s purpose was an attempt to find meaning in his recent heart attack and sought to find out how life has treated his and his wife’s many old friends. But Grant realized he would not be able to interview his friends and give the documentary narrative. “It was simply too hard. However, I decided to shoot in-car narrations anyway.”
As well, his website tells that 70 hours of home videos were edited down to “show the joy of raising five children in a conservative community”.
When the filming was done, the concept was put to the test. “I showed my family and they gave me useful feedback. An old friend of mine, who studied film at university, gave me some honest and harsh suggestions, most of which I took onboard,” says Grant.
One suggestion was to add in Grant’s wife Sharon’s story, which he did. Sharon was hospitalized during the trip.
The film proved a success. The Central Florida Christian Film Festival rated the documentary a semi-finalist and he has granted sales rights to 24flix.com, an online deliverer of family-friendly films.
Christian television station Shine TV told him they want to broadcast it.
Grant sent the 54 minute documentary to a dozen overseas film festivals. He also entered the film for showing at the New Zealand Film Festival.
He says he would have liked a secular festival to pick it up first.
But for many, religion is an embarrassment especially evangelical Christianity. “It would take a particularly brave selection panel to select mine. There is an inbuilt tendency to play it safe,” he says.
Grant’s ‘mission statement’ has been the staple of his previous works, though. “My motivation is Christian—love for my fellow citizen—and my topics are secular.”
However, this documentary is more Christian than his previous efforts and he is telling the story as he would want to tell it.
The Shine deal means a lot to him.
“Being an old school television producer, the project isn’t finished until it’s gone to air and being critiqued by the public.” The documentary airs on Shine TV on Saturday October 11 at 7.30pm with repeats on the 12th at midday and 9.30pm.
Published 2014, New Zealand Baptist