The Record Keeper is a film series to be released later this spring based on the primary theme from the book The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White, one of the co-founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It will feature at least two new approaches to film; distribution on the Web and a “Steampunk” genre.
This is very likely the first use of “Steampunk” in communicating the Adventist message. “Steampunk” is a literary genre and design aesthetic originating in the CBS Television series from 1965 into 1969 entitled The Wild, Wild West and a 1999 Hollywood movie by the same name. It focuses on 19th century technology (the steam engine being the central piece) and a type of science fiction or alternative history. The most representative recent literary piece of this type is a novel, The Anubis Gates by Tim Power, according to the Web site www.steampunk.com.
Distribution of television dramas via the Web has emerged in the last year and is becoming widespread with many major television channels maintaining web sites where viewers can see all of their programs. This is not likely the first such programming by Adventists, although some sources that Adventist Today contacted suggested that it may be.
Principal photography began last week and the series will include on-location filming in Portland, Oregon. The Record Keeper is being produced by Big Puddle Films with funding from the denomination’s General Conference as well as private donors, according to the official Adventist News Network (ANN). The producer has a blog on Facebook and YouTube. An independent youth ministry blog, www.asabbathblog.com, has a link to a pilot episode of the series.
“Steampunk may be something that most Adventists over 30 have never heard of,” said an Adventist educator who teaches courses on film and the media. “But it is appropriate for a book that was written in the 19th century and has a transcendent narrative that extends well beyond the here-and-now. The Steampunk world may well capture the contemporary sensibilities that Ellen White experienced as she wrote the book better than other genres of cinema or literature.”
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