As I am a perennially awkward person, I don’t mind admitting that I have always wanted to be on one of those History Channel-type documentaries. True, I hardly ever watch them as it seems when I am in the mood to sit and watch TV, they are always uncovering the secret alien history of the Bible or some such nonsense. You can guess, then, that I was fairly pleased to be asked to be part of Andrew Wall’s newest documentary, The Science Fiction Makers: Rousseau, Lewis, and L’Engle.
Andrew Wall is a strangely productive film-maker. I’m amazed at his output. But he also has an admirable level of quality. The Science Fiction Makers is Part 2 of the Faith in Imagination Series. When I screened–us seasoned film folk say “screened” instead of “showed”–when I screened the first film in the series, my family said, “Oh, that’s actually pretty good.” High praise for our critical household. And I agree. The Fantasy Makers: Tolkien, Lewis and MacDonald was informative and enjoyable, setting a pretty high standard.
Andrew Wall’s company, Refuge 31 Films, recently released his new documentary The Science Fiction Makers: Rousseau, Lewis and L’Engle. This feature documentary examines the unique story of the Christian Science-Fiction sub-genre and three writers that played a role in its emergence. In the midst of pandemic social distancing rules, unable to travel across the world to interview scholars of imaginative literature, Wall managed to produce a strong documentary about the lives and literature of C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, and an obscure, interesting, and unusual 20th-century Christian sf writer, Victor Rousseau.
What I love about this film is how Wall gives the scholars and artists time to share deeply and meaningfully about the work of these intriguing and ground-breaking figures. The Science Fiction Makers then frames those scholarly comments within a narrative that makes sense of the whole. Well done to Andrew Wall and the Refuge 31 team!
For those who have trouble spotting me, I’m the guy in the trailer not wearing a cool t-shirt under his blazer–in contrast to Emily Strand, who now rates #1 for me in documentary dress wear. In this film, you can also hear the elfin voice of Malcolm Guite, the clear and evocative ideas of Diana Glyer, and a number of other scholars and writers who provide so much depth to the question of 20th-century Christian science fiction. You can find The Science Fiction Makers on Amazon Prime, specifically on the Super Channel, depending on where you live. You can find the website here.
Enjoy, and here’s the trailer for The Fantasy Makers: