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Sanctuary of the Cinema Past Films


Art by Danny Joe Gibson

Sanctuary of the Cinema: Past Films

NOTE: The films listed here are ones that have been shown in the past for Sanctuary of the Cinema. For a current syllabus of upcoming SOTC events, click HERE.

Sanctuary of the Cinema is a free film course that applies a Christian interpretive lens to a variety of films for the purposes of spiritual enrichment, cultural engagement, communal experience, and personal growth and development. Chad Thomas Johnston, author of Nightmarriage, and Jennifer Harris Dault, editor of The Modern Magnificat: Women Responding to the Call of God, cofounded the course at First Baptist Church of Springfield, Missouri, in 2005.

Chad transplanted the course to First Baptist Church during the Lenten season of 2009, screening Danish director Gabriel Axel’s Babette’s Feast as the course’s first film. The class has explored faith in film in a variety of genres: Comedy (Hae-jun Lee’s Castaway on the Moon), Drama (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s Le Fils), Documentary (Jessica  Yu’s In the Realms of the Unreal: The Mystery of Henry Darger), and Classic Cinema (Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd), among others.

Childcare is provided. Please take this opportunity to enjoy a fantastic film without any interruptions from your children—and free of charge, no less.

All features begin at 6:00 p.m. in the sanctuary at First Baptist Church. Film screenings followed by group discussion. Food and drink are permitted, and occasionally provided. Feel free to bring a friend, a snack to share, and lots of thoughts to share after the credits roll.

Instructor Chad Thomas Johnston is a slayer of word dragons who resides in Lawrence, Kansas, with his wife Rebekah, their daughter Evangeline, and five felines. He has written for Image Journal‘s “Good Letters” blog, In Touch magazineThe Baylor Lariat, and CollapseBoard.com. Johnston’s first book, the whimsical memoir Nightmarriagewas a finalist for a 2013 Shirley You Jest! Book Award in nonfiction writing. He received his Master of Arts in Communication Studies from Missouri State University in 2003.

As a Lecturer in the Department of Communication at Missouri State University, Chad taught developed and taught his own intersession film coursework, including Communication and the New Emerging Superpower: A Dialog with China through Film, Asian Voices: Exploring Interpersonal Communication in Asian Films, The Passion of the Filmmaker: Investigating Christian Messages in Film, and Intercultural Communication and China: The Films of Zhang Yimou. He also developed and taught an online course for Drury University called A Survey of Intercultural Communication Through Film.

Chad can be reached at:
Twitter: @Saint_Upid


 September 27th, 2015
Two Days, One Night
2014, French Drama, Rated PG-13
95 min., French with English Subtitles Dir. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

 On the verge of losing her job, Sandra comes up with a last-ditch strategy: get her workmates to give up their bonuses so that she can stay on. With a single weekend to make it work, Sandra and her husband take her crusade for sympathy all over town.


October 25th, 2015
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden
2013, Documentary, Not Rated
121 min., English
Dir. Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine

Reading from letters, journals and memoirs, Cate Blanchett, Diane Kruger and others help narrate this little-known tale of a handful of European dreamers whose relocation to the Galapagos Islands in the 1930s took a tragic turn.


 November 15th, 2015: FAMILY NIGHT!
Ernest & Celestine
2012, Animated Feature, Rated PG
80 min., French with English Audio
Dir. Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner

Adapted from a popular children’s book series, this sweet animated drama portrays the friendship between an orphan mouse and a free-spirited bear. After persuading Ernest the bear not to eat her, Celestine the mouse ends up moving in with him.


December 20th, 2015
Force Majeure
2014, Foreign drama, Rated R
118 min., Swedish with English Subtitles Dir. Ruben Östlund

At a ski resort in the Alps, the sudden and terrifying approach of an avalanche opens a deep fissure in the lives of a vacationing Swedish family when the patriarch flees to save himself instead of protecting his wife and children.


January 24th, 2016
Something, Anything
2015, Drama, Not Rated
88 min., English
Dir. Paul Harrill

After a traumatic event upends her plans for the future, a young newlywed in crisis leaves behind her husband, a successful real-estate career and suburbia to seek a spiritual, purpose-driven life.


February 21st, 2016
The Dark Matter of Love
2013, Documentary, Not Rated
121 min., English
Dir. Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine

When three children leave Russia to spend their first year as adoptees in Wisconsin, their new parents learn that the reality of bonding with children who’ve grown up in institutions is more difficult than they ever imagined.


March 20th, 2016
Tim’s Vermeer
2013, Documentary, Rated PG-13
80 min., English
Dir. Teller

Teller, of Penn & Teller fame, directs this absorbing film about inventor Tim Jenison’s quest to solve one of art’s greatest mysteries: How did Dutch master Johannes Vermeer paint so photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography?


April 17th, 2016
The Overnighters
2014, Documentary, Rated PG-13
102 min., English
Dir. Jesse Moss

Local pastor Jay Reinke tries to help the unemployed men drawn to North Dakota by the lure of jobs in the state’s booming shale oil industry. This documentary portrait of desperation, charity and hope reveals multiple facets of the human spirit.


May 22nd, 2016
2013, Drama, Rated R
115 min., English
Dir. Alexander Payne

When a cantankerous old boozer thinks he’s won a magazine sweepstakes prize, his son reluctantly takes a road trip with him to claim the fortune. As they drive from Montana to Nebraska, they visit friends and relatives to whom the dad owes money.