Little Town of Bethlehem Director: Jim Hanon Jim Hanon’s latest film hopes to help break the cycles of violence that pervade our broken world. It’s the latest in a string of films that have helped to break another cycle–that of Christian cinema being equated with sub-standard films that lack quality. Ever since the emergence of 2002’s Beyond the Gates of Spendor, Ethnographic Media has consistently released meaningful films that pull back the layers of ordinary people to find extraordinary stories underneath. End of the Spear, The Grandfathers and Miss HIV all wrestle with larger important questions for the believer, and now they’re releasing their latest, Little Town of Bethlehem. Hanon’s latest features three Middle Eastern men—one Israeli Jew, one Palestinian Christian and one Palestinian Muslim—who long to bring peace to an increasingly chaotic region. It’s another example of tackling society’s ills through the power of a visual story, and perhaps provides the most ideal backdrop for the topic. “A lot of people tag the problems on religion, and we were aware of that when we began the project,” says Hanon. “We talked with religious leaders a bit, because people in the United States look at extremists and become fearful and it breaks down any communication. Likewise, the same thing happens on the other side. So the very idea of religion is very controversial. “But it’s also the common thread between all three men in the story,” he continues. There’s something in all three religions that speak to the responsibility that each have toward your neighbor. It’s also about overcoming evil with good. So that gave us a common slate to work with.” Hanon explains that telling the story in the proper light and allowing the issues to come to the surface not only helps the greater conversation, but helps educate any ignorance that makes these issues even worse. “There’s a tremendous amount of misinformation around any issue that can add to the violence or confusion. When we were in Africa working on AIDS, there’s so much misinformation and misunderstanding about AIDS that it makes everything worse. It leads to those who have it not telling anyone, getting treatment or becoming stigmatized, which only makes it more prevalent. So we’re asking, ‘Where are the bigger issues that people struggle with and how can we help?’” Film EntErtainmEnt by matt Conner For more inFormation on ethnographic media or LittLe town oF BethLehem, pLease visit www. LittLetownoFBethLehem.org 54 CCM