News and Events
Filmmaker of Faith Craig Detweiler Joins Communications Faculty at Seaver
Craig Detweiler is a filmmaker of faith; he is a producer, screenwriter, author, lecturer, and the co-director of Reel Spirituality: An Institute for Moving Images at Fuller Theological Seminary. Now he brings his years of film and media expertise to Pepperdine, joining the Communications Division of Seaver College to begin teaching in the fall semester. Listen to an interview with Detweiler.
"Craig Detweiler has an unusual and remarkable set of experiences, talent, and training in film so I think he will be a wonderful addition to an already great faculty," says Provost Darryl Tippens. "Not only does he know film, he is also a person of deep faith and understands the intersection of popular culture and faith."
As an author, Detweiler aligned his areas of expertise in two books published in 2008. Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century theologically explores 45 popular films, from the massively successful Lord of the Rings trilogy to the heartwarming indie film Little Miss Sunshine. A Purple State of Mind: Finding Middle Ground in a Divided Culture is a companion book to a documentary of the same name exploring the divide between faith, politics, and culture.
Detweiler worked with Pepperdine in February as the co-producer of the 15th Annual City of Angels Film Festival, which was co-sponsored by the University. He invited professor Anthony Collatos to bring Pepperdine students and Los Angeles high school students to a viewing of Oscar-nominated documentary The Garden. Of the festival and its partnership with the University, Detweiler said he was "honored to host filmmakers who combine creativity with conviction."
As a producer, Detweiler has worked on the feature films The Duke (which he also wrote), Meet Me in Miami, Extreme Days, and Williams Syndrome: A Highly Musical Species. He has also produced a number of short films, and written ten feature screenplays.
He is well known on the film and Christian arts conference circuits, often as a speaker on faith-related topics in the film industry. Among an impressive list of engagements, he presented at the Christian in the Theater Arts conference at Azusa Pacific University, the Reel Spirituality Conference with the Directors Guild of America, and spoke about the "Passion of the Filmmaker" at the White House Christian Fellowship in March 2004.
After majoring English as an undergraduate student at Davidson College, North Carolina, Detweiler earned a master's of divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, where he went on to earn a Ph.D. in theology and culture in 2007. In between, he pursued a film production master's degree from the University of Southern California, before teaching at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center for five years.
Among an expansive resume of publications, articles, and reviews, Detweiler has contributed to books by Pepperdine visiting faculty members Barbara Nicolosi and Leslie Wilson, and been published extensively in YouthWorker Journal, Beliefnet, Worship Leader, and hollywoodjesus.com.
Tippens and Detweiler are in the early stages of planning an entertainment, media, and culture initiative at Pepperdine. "Detweiler has agreed to lead this initiative to link Pepperdine with the larger film industry," says Tippens. "We hope it will rally and galvanize literally hundreds of alumni who are interested in media and popular culture, who will help link our students with the industry."
Detweiler authors a blog titled Dr. Film on conservantlife.com, as well as continuing the Purple State of Mind conversation about divided America on the companion blog, Purple State of Craig. Both explore his day-to-day relationship with his two passions: faith and film.