By Jennifer Johnson
“You could call us ‘media missionaries,’” says Cyndi Moreno, director of development at City on a Hill Productions (Louisville, KY). For more than a decade, the nonprofit organization has used film to share the gospel and support the work of local churches.
“We provide Bible study resources like The Easter Experience and Kyle Idleman’s Not a Fan; help churches share their stories, recruit volunteers, or raise funds; and equip local church leaders working in media,” she says. “We want to reach the world with the message of the gospel.”
City on a Hill is currently in the first stages of an initiative to educate up-and-coming filmmakers.
“Film is a language this generation speaks and understands,” Moreno says. “But people think if they want to be educated in filmmaking they have to go to a secular university. We wanted to create a high-quality high school program that teaches both the technical skills and the truth that their talents and gifts come from God.”
The new, two-year, interactive City on a Hill Productions Academy curriculum includes both text and video lessons, all available to students via the iPad. The team uses footage from its film shoots to teach about development, storyboarding, editing, lighting, post-production work, and more. A class at Christian Academy of Louisville will test the curriculum in a pilot program next year, and in 2016, City on a Hill hopes to launch the program nationwide.
“Schools of all sizes will be able to use the curriculum without [it] requiring a film professor on staff,” Moreno says. “All you need are iPads for the students and a leader for the group. It could also be the basis for extracurricular activities, and it will be a great resource for homeschoolers.”