Re: Sunday Dispatch
Director Brian Baugh on his film ‘I’m Not Ashamed’
Selected from SFGATE, October 17,2016
When I got a call about doing a film on the life of Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine shooting, I fully expected I would pass on the project. I started reading the script thinking it was going to be about some boring, sheltered, high school church girl who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was wrong.
Rachel’s life was a surprising, interesting, beautiful mess of teenage contradictions and struggles. Her faith led her to want to make a difference in the world, to be a light in her school, but she battled against her demons and temptations. She was just like me. There was a core to the story that was so accessible … so real.
However, because Rachel had a faith, the story got labeled as faith-based, and I didn’t particularly want to direct a so-called Christian film. I don’t consider movies Christian, any more than I think there are Christian bicycles, Christian hamburgers or a Christian piece of plywood.
Products and art don’t normally get described by the religion of their investors or creators, so why should films? Do we call Hugo’s “Les Misérables” a Christian play? Or Handel’s “Messiah” a Christian symphony? Or DaVinci’s “The Last Supper” a Christian painting? Does anyone label a Martin Scorsese film a Catholic film? I’ve never heard them referred to as such. To me, movies are just good, bad or somewhere in between. They either connect with an audience or they don’t.
So much to my surprise, after learning about Rachel’s life, I was willing to take the risk. She was a fascinating high school girl with a powerful story that could connect with audiences in a real way. She was a young artist who loved writing, drawing and acting. And she left behind these beautiful journals that told of her inner journey.