My name is Matt Lofgren, and I’m a filmmaker.

A little background:  I dream in films.  Honestly.  From opening credits, music scores, full dialog, closing credits, the works.  All in living color to boot!  Some of these “dreamvies” (just now coined that term) are pretty good, some mediocre at best and occasionally one of these dream-movies is downright awesome.  In my humble opinion of course.  These dreamvies don’t occur every night mind you, but when they do, which is on average I’d say once a week or so, they just don’t go away.  I can wake up in the middle of the night, come back to bed and start right in where I left off.  I don’t have much choice in the matter either.  It simply picks up at exactly the same scene.  The movie isn’t finished before the alarm clock goes off?  Not a problem – poof, right back in to it that following night.

I didn’t always have this “gift” if one could call it that.  It started occurring some 10 years ago or so, as near as I can recall.  Pretty cool, but what I thought I had better write some of these down – the good ones anyhow.  These dreamvies didn’t have much of a pattern to them up until three or four years ago, when they took on a decidedly spiritual slant.

I have to confess, and this might not be the wisest thing to confess to here in my introduction, but I thought I’d better get it out in the open early (the whole “transparency” buzz word here):  My dreamvies are often apocalyptic in nature.  I am not an apocalyptic kind of person either.  I’m likely one of the most “glass half full” kind of guys one would ever meet.  My optimism and being constantly upbeat and cheerful have actually gotten me in trouble on a number of occasions.  So why the often apocalyptic dreamvies??  No clue – like I stated, I don’t seem to have much control in the consumer content.

So…I thought I’d quit my day job and become a filmmaker!  Well, not really, or it certainly was/is not as simple as that.

TwoCan Films, LLC was formed in January 2009 with a seemingly simple goal in mind:  To produce “good” Christian and family friendly films.

What do I mean when I say “good” Christian film?  Please understand that this is MY opinion and you may or may not subscribe to the same mindset as I do.  So, it is in MY opinion that, unfortunately, many if not most films of the Christian genre are poorly produced and often difficult to watch.  Let’s be open and honest here – the moniker of “Christian film” has a bad reputation in the mainstream film community, often fully warranted.

When someone mentions Christian films, a number of people (the general viewing public) associate this genre film with being “preachy,” poorly acted, low budget, etc., etc.   There are exceptions, but in general, this reaction is typical.

As Christian filmmakers, we need to reverse this perception, but the only way to do that is to make more Christian films.  Good Christian-based films.  Though our budgets for these films will likely be on the low side of the scale relative to the mega-budget films of Hollywood, there is no reason to relate “low budget” to poorly produced.  While it may be difficult to get a Brad Pitt/Johnny Depp/Meryl Streep (fill in your favorite top A-list Hollywood actor here) to star in a lower-budget production, that doesn’t mean we have to settle for poor acting in our films.

The “preachy” complaint often heard when discussing Christian based films is a bit tougher to tackle.  It may be simple to just take out any reference to God and Jesus Christ, but. . . that kind of defeats the purpose of calling it a Christian film.  As a Christian and filmmaker, I want to deliver a message of our faith, but not in such a heavy-handed way that it is distracting.  I want the story itself to unveil the message.  That may be a tall order to fill and it will not be, nor can this approach ever be, all things to all people.

I fully expect to have many people disagreeing with my approach to Christian filmmaking.  There is a significant number of Christians who like the current crop of Christian-genre films just the way they are.   I disagree and truly believe that if we as Christians can make this genre of films more “watchable” to a much wider audience, we do a much greater service to our faith overall.  I am confident that films can and will be made that integrate a honest Christian message while providing entertainment and enjoyment to most.  I didn’t say “all” because again, it is quite impossible to be all things to everyone.  There will always be a percentage of the population who will never even step into a theater to see any movie, regardless of quality/popularity, that has the Christian moniker attached to it.  So be it.

In narrative filmmaking, regardless the genre, the script itself is the key to the film.  If the story is solid and the script is a page-turner, keeping the reader’s interest until the closing credits, the film has a great chance of success.  This assumes it is given to a competent producer and director to bring it to life.

This is where many Christian films break down – the script simply isn’t well written.  Often, the dialog is forced, trying to deliver a Godly message.  In reality, few ever speak such dialog in the real world.  At least in the world most of us live in.  This is compounded by the fact that these films use family, friends, congregation members, etc. as actors.  It just doesn’t work, and more often than not, it’s painful to watch and once again, the Christian film genre gets another black-eye and the stereotype continues…

I don’t have all the answers, but my calling is filmmaking.  My journey to this new career is not a usual one.  I’ll turn 52 next month and was an engineer working in the medical device/plastics industry for the last 20 odd years.  Before that, I spent eight years in the military serving as an airborne gunner aboard an AC-130 gunship based out of Hurlburt Field, Florida, with the 16th Special Operations Squadron in the US Air Force.  I’ve spent the last four years traveling to China, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.  I made 34 trips in three and one-half years to mainland China alone, not to mention numerous trips to many cities in Mexico with a few in the States thrown in for good measure.  My incredible wife of five and one-half years (about two and one-half according to her) have been fantastic, but it’s time to settle down a bit.  It’s time to make a movie we will be proud to call our own, with a lot of help from others.  We have been very blessed and have Jesus Christ in our hearts and lives, first and foremost.

Filmmaking is our way of giving back – we promise to do our best.

God bless.

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