Students enjoy film on being unashamed

Film screening and Q&A invite discussion on standing up for one’s beliefs.



Students and professors seek to find the compromise between artistic expression and community expectations in Biola’s Cinema Media Arts department.

Christian Leonard, Writer

Director Brian Baugh discussed the value of steadfast belief in a Q&A with Biola faculty and students following the screening of his film “I’m Not Ashamed” on Wednesday, March 22.

Not a typical Christian film

The film, released in October 2016, centers around Rachel Joy Scott, the first student killed in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Over the course of the movie, Scott struggles to make her Christian faith impactful in the world around her.

“I hope that people will think about what they believe and what that means to them and how passionate they would be to stand up for those beliefs, whatever they are, and wherever they are in the road,” Baugh said.

Michael Gonzales, professor of cinema and media arts at Biola, moderated the Q&A portion of the event after the film screening. In the Q&A, he remarked to Baugh the inauthenticity sometimes attributed to Christian films did not exist in “I’m Not Ashamed.”

Freshman cinema and media arts major Rebecca Balico held similar reservations about the film’s quality going into the screening, but greatly enjoyed the movie.

“I think it was really good,” Balico said. “It was better than I was expecting. You know, it wasn’t like one of those typical Christian movies, and I really appreciate the Q&A afterwards.”

Transcendental enjoyment

While Gonzalez and Balico describe “I’m Not Ashamed” as a Christian film, Baugh believes that audiences of all belief systems can enjoy his movies. During the Q&A, he said the proudest comments come from those who do not have an interest in Christianity but are nonetheless moved by the film.

“I always try to find the universal theme that I’m going to forefront, that can be true no matter what you believe and can be accessible and relevant for all people watching the film,” Baugh said during the Q&A. “And so in this one, to me, it was ‘with whatever you believe, stand up for, for what that is.’”

The theme of Baugh’s film resonated with senior cinema and media arts major Ryan Hernandez, who believes Biola students should share Scott’s bold outlook.

“As the title says, not to be ashamed, right?” Hernandez said. “I mean, you’re going to have incidents, like in the beginning with Rachel, when everyone’s making fun of her… for being a Christian, and she was not ashamed.”

Balico sees the lesson of believing God has more for one’s life as portrayed in Scott’s life.

“I think the biggest thing is that, even though it kind of seems like the story ends when she [Rachel] dies, there’s still things that go on afterward,” Balico said. “So even in our lives when we think, like, ‘It’s the end, nothing else is going to happen,’ God can still work through that, and he does a lot of things that we don’t know about or we don’t see.”

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