Lynnwood Chapel was fully occupied on Saturday night for the free screening of “Come Before Winter”, a new docudrama about German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the ethical and spiritual challenges that emerged from resisting Nazi Germany.
Kevin Ekvall, 2007 graduate and film director, attended the screening and answered audience questions at the end. Gary Blount, producer of the film, psychiatrist from Minnesota and lifelong student of the story of Bonhoeffer, as well as a member of the Bonhoeffer society, joined Ekvall and David George, associate professor in the School of Visual Art and Design (SVAD), for the Q&A which was streamed on Facebook Live.
Lucas Patterson, assistant director of communications and foundation relations for advancement, helped plan the event with Linda Crumley, chair of the school of journalism and communication, and David George.
“In early February, I emailed SVAD faculty asking for leads on young alumni to write about in Quick Notes, Southern’s e-newsletter,” Patterson said. “David George replied with details about “Come Before Winter” and how there were four alumni who played big roles in bringing that film to life. I simultaneously fell in love with the concept of turning this article about the film into an on-campus event.”
Current film students, prospective journalism and SVAD students, alumni and community members were invited to attend the screening.
“I’ve been getting emails from my film professor, David George, talking about the screening for a while now, and of course he’s mentioned it several times in class,” said Jared Mathias, freshman film major. “There were actually three events centered around the film, and I had been wanting to go to as many as possible, since not only is it about a fascinating historical character, but it was made by alumni from Southern’s film program. I had actually met with several of them a couple months ago and it was really cool to see work they had actually done instead of just hearing about it.”
Film production took more than three years and it was released on January 21 at the Loma Linda University Church. Many of the scenes were filmed in the United Kingdom and Germany to enhance authenticity. Kathy Goddard, associate English professor, taught history of the Holocaust when working at the academy level and learned about Bonhoeffer through this study.
“Bonhoeffer is unique: a pastor with deep spiritual insights who was active in participating in anti-Nazi efforts to kill Hitler,” Goddard said. “He walked the walk as he faced the brutality of the Gestapo and jail and his execution; he is a model for Christians in how to deepen their spirituality and how to interact and impact the world. Those who lived before us are models for those of us who claim to be Christians yet do so little to have a positive impact on our secularized culture today.”