Man Dancin - a Glaswegian Passion Play

 A movie premiered in London on February 18th - Man Dancin - is the culmination of commitment and struggle for Christian film and television director, Norman Stone.

Set in a Catholic parish in Glasgow, it is something of a modern British Passion Play. Man Dancin tells the story of young man who has been released from prison in Northern Ireland for gun-running and returns home wanting to settle down. His previous gangster connections, as well as a corrupt police official, are still putting pressure on him. However, he has learned something about theatre in prison and helps the priest who is putting on a play of Jesus' Passion in the parish hall. The film shows how contemporary Catholic and Christian stories can be put on film, not simply as a religious movie, but one that can be entertaining for a wide audience.

The title of the film comes from Blues singer, Tam White, who acts in the film. White's inspiration was seeing a well-dressed man dancing in and out of puddles in a street. White saw it as an image of someone defying people's expectations and doing things his own way despite conventions.

Norman Stone has been responsible for quality Christian television and movies for twenty years. Years before Anthony Hopkins' screen portrayal of CS Lewis, Norman Stone made a film of the life of the great writer and theologian. Over the years, he has produced many documentaries for the BBC. For the Millennium, he produced a series for Holy Week called, evocatively, Tales from the Madhouse. Eight fourteen minute films offered monologues by men and women who were confined to an institution after their experience of Jesus. They included the Widow of Naim, Barabbas, Pilate's Wife, the Rich Young Man and Judas. They starred some of the best of British stars: Claire Bloom, Eileen Atkins, Jonathan Pryce and Joss Ackland.

This commitment to religious entertainment led Norman Stone to direct a cinema feature, based on his own story and written for the screen by Sergio Casci who also wrote American Cousins. It took at least three years to produce and on the smallest of budgets. Since production means seeking out partners who will finance the film, experiencing disappointments as companies pull out, bringing Man Dancin' to the screen was an arduous and laborious task. Smaller investors, like Ken Curtis, a Baptist minister from Philadelphia who has contributed to Norman Stone's productions over the years, finally contributed enough money for the budget which was under a million pounds.

It is difficult to get any movie made, especially by a small company. It is difficult to get it released and publicised. Norman Stone and his collaborators hope that Man Dancin' will appeal to audiences who want something that is from today's experiences and something which is about values in our world.
LONDON- 1 March 2004 - 478 words

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