More than once I have written about an impending production of a TV series featuring the Planet In Distress message and more then once I have experienced the chagrin and frustration of that effort being confounded.  This was particularly true when readers of this blog helped financially support the attempt to put this message on television.

Now I am particularly pleased to announce that I have been working with the enormously creative and resourceful team at ARMies (Adventist Review Ministries) to develop a television series aimed at commercial TV.  This process starts with a “tentpole” production (a one-hour program meant to introduce the subject and tease where the series will head).  The tentpole is then used to shop around to the various commercial outlets (National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, History Channel) and get commitment to purchase the series from ARMies, or at a minimum an agreement to run the series.  Then, with that commitment, the series is made.  So, yeah, the tentpole is a critical first step – we’ve got to get it right and “wow” folks at commercial channels.  The finished product will be first screened in October.

Below is the poster for the program and in a few weeks the first trailer will appear.

Existence Poster_Final.jpg

The tentpole  – the one hour program – is being called “eXistence” and it takes a fascinating look at the natural systems of the earth that underpin our existence, and how these systems are in accelerating decay.  The program looks at the fact that human society is in a crisis of existence, and how our beliefs are not only challenged by that crisis, but also help steer how we see and react to that crisis.  Essentially, the program looks at where human society is at this point in history, what is likely to happen next, and how belief is central to everything (including how beliefs change in times of crisis).  Overall, it is a very interesting and compelling look at where we in human history, what that has to do with our perception of God and His plan, and how our beliefs are likely to change (or harden) as this crisis of existence advances.  The approach taken is appropriate for a general audience viewing a commercial channel and pursuing this distribution strategy allows questions to be raised and topics to be covered that this audience might otherwise not be exposed to.

Shooting for the program will begin with a trip to India and Bangladesh in June, then continue with two weeks of extensive shooting in the US and Canada in late July and early August.  A crew of five is involved (director, two cameras, sound person, and me).  ARMies is dedicated to producing a relevant, riveting, and beautifully-filmed production in the belief that they should be delivering spiritually-important products that effectively compete for the attention of general audiences.

The vision for eXistence is a big one, and the standards are high.  The effort has just about broken the budget at ARMies, and Planet In Distress has committed all resources at its disposal (including all donations previously made for such a television production).  A small gap in funding remains.  If you’d like to support this effort, send a donation to Planet In Distress C/O the Northern New England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists at 479 Main Street, Westbrook, Maine 04092.  Donations are tax deductible.

And whether or not you financially support this effort, please do support it with your prayers!

–Scott Christiansen