An upcoming film, Silence, directed by Martin Scorsese happens to have connections to ACU through board member Tod Brown. ACU board of trustees member and alumnus, Tod Brown has been involved in the production along with his father, Dale Brown, a Midland businessman and former ACU board member who serves as one of the film’s executive producers. Dr. Darryl Tippens, a university distinguished scholar and former English professor is connected to the film’s making as well.
“I have met with Tod Brown and Dale Brown on more than one occasion on how we might promote the movie to churches and students just to make sure they are aware of the film and aware of its significant Christian content,” Tippens said. “We have brainstormed ways in which we could raise awareness of the film.”
Silence was first a novel written by Shusaku Endo about 17th-century Japan where Jesuit missionaries had been sent to evangelize. The story is set during the time of fierce persecution by the Japanese leaders following two priest’ struggle with faith during such a horrific time.
“This is a Christian holocaust story,” Tippens said. “The Jesuits came to Japan in the 1600’s and they were very successful in evangelizing the island, hundreds of thousands became Christians. The Shoguns, rulers of 17th century Japan, became very nervous about western influence and they were fearful about the western powers would extend their control and they decided that Christianity needed to be wiped out so they systematically destroyed the churches.”
Dr. Tim Sensing, professor of ministry has read the novel and used it in teaching said, “While the silence in Endo’s story is deafening, it is the presence of God in suffering and through the church that instills faith,” said Sensing. “When apostasy seems to have the last word, God even redeems forsakenness.”
The Browns hope to keep the movie as true to the original novel and story as possible.
“Dale was a big part of solving major copyright confusion about the ownership of the film,” said Tippens. “For many years Dale wanted to influence the world through politics but that is a really dicey thing and he decided that the people who get to tell the stories in a society are the ones that have the greatest power to shape the society,” said Tippens. “So rather than elected officials in Washington it is through the arts.”
Tod and Dale Brown were not available for comment on the upcoming film, which is expected to premiere in theaters at the end of the year.
Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield are three of the major cast members. Tippens said, “I don’t have a solid date but everyone I have talked to that they want it to be contending for an academy award.”