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Owlegories Producer on Entertaining Well & Sharing the Gospel
Owlegories Producer on Entertaining Well & Sharing the Gospel

Owlegories Producer on Entertaining Well & Sharing the Gospel

By Jacob Sahms

Chad Gundersen has been producing films for quite some time now, with feature films like The Redemption of Henry Myers, Hoovey, and Like Dandelion Dust, as well as documentaries like the one he's just finished with Dinesh D'Souza. He's currently working with ChristianCinema.com's Bobby Downes on the second season of The Bible Bee Game Show and the recently-released animated television show and app, Owlegories. ChristianCinema.com caught up with Gundersen in between jobs to discuss his diverse interests and the creative work of a producer. 

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"Producing wasn't something I saw myself doing," Gundersen admitted, on the phone from San Antonio. "I acted in high school and college, and ended up starting a company on a whim, doing commercials. I thought I was headed into sports medicine but I found that I liked combining the creative with the business side of things. A successful project is about finding the right people!"

For Owlegories, Gundersen teamed with long time friend, Keith Alcorn (Jimmy Neutron), who joked that he was mad that he hadn't come up with the idea. But the creator of the television show, Tom Boto was introduced to Gundersen after their wives were in the same Bible study. 

"Tom is an attorney, but he's always been creative. He came to me with this idea about an app," Gundersen continued. "Six months later, he and his family had designed the app and the backstory that was like something out of Tolkien. We worked together to transition it to the animated series that used owls, nature, and the way God was involved."

Gundersen said that an animated story was always on his bucket list, but bringing Alcorn and Boto together resulted in an expansion of the digital storybook world that Tom had created with his children. The allegory and mythology of Boto's vision spoke to Gundersen as well. 

"I'm a big epic kind of guy," he said. "I'd love to do the story of Samson or Pilgrim's Progress, Lord of the Rings-style."

I asked Gundersen to share how he picks his projects, to explain what he's looking for. Specifically, why did Owlegories fit?

Gundersen explained, "I think it's important to tell stories that speak to my faith, and certainly don't insult my faith. Story is story. As long as the story is genuine to what it says it is. It can be direct in sharing the Bible if that's natural to the story. But it's not natural to go movie, movie, movie, and then just throw a Jesus quote in there. Sometimes you can tell the story and the characters within the story happen to be believers. I think that's what Like Dandelion Dust is."

"It's important to consider the people you'll work with. Who's telling the story? Who has the vision? Tom had the idea for the story and the show, Keith had a vision for the animation, and I saw things similarly. We have different backgrounds but we had very similar goals."

Our conversation grew to include the big picture around Christian filmmaking, the meaning of our stories, and why Christians should continue to focus their craft and efforts in storytelling. Gundersen's passion for making good films - and avoiding cheap results - was evident. 

"We want to preach the gospel but we are also supposed to be entertaining people as well," he shared. "Jesus told stories to the masses that entertained them and made sense, about cows and agriculture, that were about the gospel. But his disciples sat him down afterward and said, 'Why aren't you preaching directly?' He told them that they had the ears which had received an understanding of the gospel, but that the crowd was engaged so it would then receive the gospel."

"There's a time for parables and a time for sitting around the fire preaching," Gundersen concluded. "We need to recognize what time it is and communicate accordingly."

In the case of Owlegories, Gundersen has succeeded in mastering another method of communication through animation, but the time remains right for him to convey the love of God through story. 


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