The Heart of Man releases today, November 13th, on DVD and Blu-ray!
In my review of The Heart of Man, I held nothing back from my sentiments of how this film was both incredibly challenging and utterly inspiring to watch.
“The Heart of Man is an honest and tender collection of vulnerable and brave stories. Stories of those who have been broken by sexual abuse, chained to their pornography addiction and sexual sin, and have had marriages wrecked by sexual betrayal. These same broken stories become a collection of tales of God’s redemptive grace. It could become one of the most uncomfortable films you’ll ever fall in love with.” ~Andrea Stunz, HollywoodJesus.com
Read my review in its entirety here: Movie Review: The Heart of Man
Given that I’m a fan of this project, when HJ was offered the opportunity to host a Q&A session with Jason Pamer, The Heart of Man’s producer, I jumped on it.
My goal was to ask Jason Pamer questions that might be a bit out of the norm for a standard media interview in order to learn more about the heart and history behind the making of the film. Whether I achieved that goal or not with my questions, Pamer certainly did with his answers. Jason Pamer answered my questions with sincerity, honesty, and wisdom. Some might say this article is too lengthy but the internet is big enough and I felt that the information Jason shared was just too valuable to condense.
I think you will agree. Read on.
Q: How did this project begin for you and what prompted you to be a part of creating it?
Jason Pamer: I had just come off another film, Rape for Profit, which was on sex trafficking in a major US city. The real focus was on the demand side, men, and what drove them to do what they did. It was in the transition time that this film came to me.
The idea of making a film that addressed the deep things of the heart, not the fruit of the tree but the roots — that is something that compelled me to spend a few years of my life working on. To work on something that carries freedom, not only for others but for my own heart and story — that’s a worthy pursuit.
Due to the nature of the content of the film, it is not recommended for a family movie night. However, I asked Jason who he recommended the film for.
Q: Jason, as I watched, as a woman and a wife and a mom of adult children, I couldn’t quite put my thumb on who this film targets. Is it for the person who struggles with addiction? Is it for the person who has found their way out of addiction to encourage them to continue? Is it for the wife whose husband struggles to help her understand and deal with her painful circumstance? Is it for the mom who prays for her son’s struggle? In your opinion, who is The Heart of Movie for? Who do you hope will see the movie?
Jason Pamer: Yes It’s for all of those groups and more. It’s for those of us that grew up with a religious caricature of who God the Father was, it’s for those of us that have found comfort in a vice (of any sort), it’s for those of us whose genesis of sexual identity came at the hands of an abuser, it’s for those of us that have experienced that cliff top, cave, waves and ultimately the Table.
I also think that the way we did the film (i.e. no dialogue) makes it accessible to an audience that might not find themselves gracing the door of a church. At least that’s our hope.
Q: What was the most challenging element for you in producing the film?
Jason Pamer: Making a film is a difficult endeavor from the get-go but when you add all of the indie filmmaking realities, it quickly becomes even more difficult. I’ve hired 200+ people on this and our core creative team is spread over 4 states – everywhere from the big island of Hawaii (where the narrative portion was filmed) to Eastern Europe where we recorded 40 string players live for the score. All the while, we’ve been raising the budget and as the scope of release has increased so has the need.
Then you add the spiritual dimension – we’re going after ancient bonds that have shackled the hearts of men and women for millennia. There’s an ancient enemy who has a vested interest in one of his main tactics, Shame, not being exposed for what it is – a lie.
Q: Was there an unexpected blessing you received as a result of producing The Heart of Man?
Jason Pamer: SO many things. I’ve acquired deep and lifelong friendships. I’ve sat with people in their most vulnerable moments as they shared their cliff and cave stories and was able to share mine. Sacred moments.
I’ve eaten the greatest meals around the most spectacular tables with people all around the globe – pressing into each other and seeking the Father’s face.
The rest of my days will be marked by these past 4 years. I’m so grateful to have been able to put my hand to it with the people I did. It makes me quiet as I reflect on it.
Q: Is there a particular story in the film that resonated most with you or inspired you or changed you in a personal way?
Jason Pamer: All of the people we had in the film have become dear friends so that’s been fun and enriching, to say the least. I think Paul Young’s insights were fairly groundbreaking for me as far as dismantling the religious construct I’ve had for God the Father. Everything that comes out of Dr. Dan Allender’s mouth is profound and then the brutal honesty of everyone as they laid their lives bare.
Q: It goes without saying that sharing our struggles and experiences publicly is hard. The stories in The Heart of Man were very personal and extremely vulnerable. It took great courage and a strong belief that their story could make a difference in someone’s life. Would you encourage others to share their stories publicly? If so, are there circumstances in which you think they shouldn’t?
Jason Pamer: All of the people that shared in the film have had years and years of counseling, processing and over time have shared more and more publicly. All that to say, I think people need to be wise on when and how they share – at the least, they need to find relationships with people who can love them the most, at their worst. Those are sacred friendships.
In the case where one’s behavior has impacted a spouse or family, I think they need the permission and support of those people as there’s a ripple effect on those lives.
Q: What do you hope The Heart of Man movie will accomplish long term?
Jason Pamer: I hope that the film creates freedom in people’s lives. Freedom from performance. Freedom from vice. Freedom from a religious construct of who God the Father is. That people would get a taste of the ‘better yes’ and that they understand the invite to the table will never go away. That there’s a community of people who are walking out of brokenness – together, with the Father, and that they are invited to join.
Q: What do you hope viewers who struggle with sexual sin will take away from the film?
Jason Pamer: Their behavior doesn’t define them. They are new creatures, no longer just saved sinners, rather they are Saints. That the Father will not love them more as they sin less – His love is perfect and the fullness of it is wanting to wrap itself around us, even now as we find ourselves in the cave.
There is freedom ahead of them, it’s possible. They aren’t alone, not only is the Father entering their caves with them – there’s a lot of people in the shadows as well.
Ultimately, what we’re being invited into (as illustrated, in part, by the community at the Feast table) is better tasting, more fulfilling and so much richer than the crumbs we find ourselves consuming on the ground beneath the table.
Q: Do you see this film being used in a group setting?
Jason Pamer: Absolutely. There is something special that happens in the cosmos when, in community, we start to walk in the light and process together.
Q: Aside from the follow-through that you offer on the website (which is phenomenal!), are there future “Heart of Man” projects that we can look forward to?
Jason Pamer: One of the experiences we’re really looking forward to, and is still being planned, is a nationwide event (multiple cities through ’18) with Bethel Music. We think that music is such an integral part of the overall processing that happens around this film, so to have people that have been singing about the Father’s heart for so long and in such an excellent way is exciting.
Finally, I asked Jason if there was anything he would like me to include in the article that I hadn’t thought to ask? I really appreciated his response to this as I hadn’t noticed some of these insights even after two viewings.
Jason Pamer: I’ll outline just a few Easter-eggs.
♥ There’s an entire subplot about the older brother (prodigal son story) exemplified through his absence in the film: There’s a place setting at the table to the father’s right that’s meant for the older brother – but he never comes, as he’s working hard on behalf of the father instead of just playing and resting with Him. There’s a 3rd fishing pole in the boat for him to use, to play and rest with the father and his younger brother, there’s a 3rd stool and violin box by the fire for him to play them as well. What if he would have been present? Would his younger brother have believed the lies and gone off that cliff? Maybe. Maybe not.
♥ The Film opens with the father whacking his way through a jungle – on his way to the eventual cave his son will be bound in. He’s preparing the way back before his son ever leaves.
♥ The Hebrew word on the back of the violin — is ‘Timshel’ and its interpretation is taken from Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” meaning ‘Thou Mayest’. The word actually pops up in Genesis 4 as Cain is given the choice to choose not to sin.
The father has crafted choice and the symbol of sonship to give his child. The son has the choice to play with the father, to develop a melody over a lifetime with him — or to dash it on the rocks of his choices. Either way, the father will re-craft and bring it to him in his moment of utter despair… to play.
Not only is Jason Pamer a gifted film producer, he is clearly a gifted wordsmith. I thoroughly enjoyed our Q&A session and I hope you have as well.
I strongly encourage you to read my review of the film and order a copy to watch for yourself. But don’t stop there. Allow God to reap the full benefits from the message of this film by sharing it with your community.
As Pamer stated, there is more to come from the makers of the film. I, for one, will be eagerly waiting.
The Heart of Man is available to purchase here.