‘Legion’ supplies hope to despondent cultures

By June 11, 2019

International (MNN) — Do you battle a sinful habit that you just can’t seem to shake? It may seem like a “demon” at times; haunting your steps, waiting to tempt you in times of weakness. If this describes your Christian walk, Legion may be a helpful resource.

Legion is a short film recently released by Jesus Film Project. It’s an animated version of the account recorded in Mark 5 when Jesus heals a man filled with literal demons. Director and former Disney animator Dominic Carola says, “It’s a story that resonates with a lot of people.

“[In] what sometimes seems to be an ever-darkening world, a lot of people are looking for freedom from their own personal demons, whatever they may be.”

Jesus Film Project debuted Legion in 32 languages in April and it’s already gaining global attention. Irv Klaschus, Legion’s producer, indicates the film’s popularity is a good sign. “It really seems to be something that the Lord wanted us to pursue,” Klaschus says.

Cartoons aren’t just for kids

People around the world are desperate for hope, but the Gospel message is sometimes waylaid by media style and cultural differences. Many adults in the U.S. and other Western societies associate cartoons with children’s media, placing a barrier between animated Gospel films and their intended audience.

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The Walt Disney Company played a significant role in connecting animation with kids. With roots dating back to 1923, Disney has a long history of animation fame in the U.S. More about that here. Feature-length animated films like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin catapulted Disney to box office fame in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Carola’s portfolio includes The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear.

The West may be slow to embrace animation as entertainment for all ages, Carola says, but that’s not the case worldwide.

“Animation… is a very globally receptive medium,” Carola explains. “You can go to just about any country, and people are very familiar with animation nowadays.”

As such, Legion holds tremendous potential as a worldwide evangelism tool.

“It definitely is much more globally-receptive because of its medium, and it has global appeal from a visual storytelling standpoint.”

The Gospel isn’t only for the West

Traditional Gospel tools like tracts and booklets often work well for people and societies with high literacy rates. However, as the International Orality Network explains, 80 percent of the world’s population prefers to learn and communicate through non-written means.

(Photo courtesy The JESUS Film Project)

This makes Legion an ideal tool, and it gives believers an easy opportunity to share Christ. First, click here to watch Legion on Jesus Film Project’s website – but, please proceed with caution. Klaschus says some of the content may not be fit for young eyes.

“The film opens with a man cutting,” he explains. “This is a film really for [ages] 15 to 25 or older; [there are] just some very real issues. But, it’s a timeless story [of] God’s deliverance of this man in the midst of that.”

Then, learn how to share Legion with anyone you meet. Jesus Film Project developed a collection of short films called “Conversation Starters” to initiate Gospel conversations.

“You can be anywhere and say, ‘Hey, would you like to see this short film?’ And, it just takes a couple of minutes [to watch],” says Klaschus.

“Everything that we make is freely downloadable and shareable. The whole point is to equip the Body of Christ [with] creative and high-quality things like this to share with their friends and start those conversations.”

Browse the full Conversation Starters collection here.




Header image courtesy of Jesus Film Project via Twitter.

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