Real-life interviews of young men searching for meaning, while uncovering lasting truths and hope from men who have gone before them.
Wisdom. According to the dictionary, it is “accumulated knowledge of life or of a sphere of activity that has been gained through experience.” It is also part of the working title of an ambitious new film project by The Yellow Roses Film Partnership, Ltd. that seeks to explore the views of contemporary men toward the world and themselves at two critical points in their lives, in their youth and in their senior years.
But The Wisdom Project is meant to be more than a simple comparison of how men look at their lives and their world at these two different points in time. The project is meant to be a discovery mission that will uncover lasting insights and truths to be shared across the generations, providing viewers with a moving experience that will enlarge their outlooks, enrich their lives and encourage a deeper understanding of their spiritual selves.
While both sexes and many ages are likely to find the film of interest, The Wisdom Project is intended for two particular audiences: young men in their late teens and early 20s, and the fathers of males in this age category. The film will reflect the reality of the world that today’s young men are growing up in and dealing with, and it will give the fathers of these young men insight into this world and challenge them to move beyond the typical boundaries of “masculinity” to form a deeper connection with their sons.
A multi-part teaching series will be created in connection with the film to help audiences benefit from the production to the fullest extent possible. The series will include a seven-part track for young men and a separate seven-part track for fathers.
The filmmakers believe that, regardless of race, geography or socio-economic status, the young men who comprise the film’s target audience face a range of challenges and problems—as well as opportunities—unlike those that confronted any generation before them. While previous generations of young American men have faced enormous challenges—World War II, Viet Nam, the social upheaval of the ‘60s and various recessions and shifts in political power—today’s generation confronts a unique combination of forces.
Their world is being shaped and re-shaped at a mind-boggling pace by technological innovation, scientific discovery, and sweeping changes in social mores and spiritual values. Add to these factors the impact of economic globalization and a shrinking world where one’s daily life can be changed by political instabilities an ocean away, and it’s easy to see why today’s young men may feel uncertain, overwhelmed, even lost.
Where can they look for solace, for encouragement, for guidance—for wisdom? To whom can they turn for the assurance that they will survive and succeed? Who can direct them toward those emotional and spiritual resources that will assist them in their search for acceptance and meaning? The Wisdom Project believes the words that today’s young men need to hear will come from the men who have gone before them, men in their late 70s and 80s, even in their 90s.
Using a documentary approach, the film will offer the wisdom gained by men nearing the end of their lives to those who are just setting out on their life journeys. But The Wisdom Project will not attempt to tellyoung men what they should do or how they should feel. Rather it will enable them to look into the lives of those who have gone before them and discover for themselves in what ways their experiences, their thoughts and feelings are the same.
The key element of the film will be comments drawn from a series of in-depth interviews with individual and small groups of both young men and those in their senior years. The interviews will be more like conversations, with questions designed to encourage the men to explore and share their thoughts and feelings on a variety of subjects and issues.
The in-depth interviews are expected to yield not only touching moments that deal with the deeply emotional aspects of life, but also lighthearted comments and humorous stories that disclose the strength and resilience of the human spirit.
An on-camera host will guide viewers through the interviewee conversations, adding his own observations and using creative techniques to connect the many comments, underscoring the film’s themes and enhancing its overall message.
While young men will be asked to talk about their thoughts, hopes and fears concerning their futures and their present-day lives, older men will be encouraged to be more reflective, to look back upon their lives and share the lessons they have learned, their happiest times, their most difficult moments, how they have changed over time and what they would do differently if they had their lives to live over again.
Interview questions will be designed to “keep it real.” Questions will be open-ended, meant to urge men to probe beyond the surface, to explore their thoughts and their feelings, to be honest, open, candid, unashamed to discuss their failings, fears and weaknesses.
Common threads will be identified among the filmed conversations, and with the help of the on-camera host, comments from the interviews will be woven together to create a seamless presentation that promises to be a compelling and powerful statement about what it means to have survived, to have learned and grown and changed—a legacy of sorts, a passing of the torch from one generation to another.
While The Wisdom Project will explore a wide range of secular subjects, the film will have a non-denominational faith-based theme, much like the EMMY Award-winning YELLOW ROSES, produced by The Yellow Roses Film Partnership, Ltd. in 2010, which focused on the challenges facing today’s teenage girls and young women.
Through the comments and stories of those appearing in the film, The Wisdom Project will reveal how God remains relevant and important for many men living in today’s world, despite a popular culture that often diminishes the significance and value of religious faith and practices.
Like YELLOW ROSES, The Wisdom Project will also feature custom music. Producers anticipate including three original songs created for the film, as well as other proprietary music tracks. The songs and other music tracks from the film will be available on a CD which will be part of the overall project.
Stylistically, The Wisdom Project will be cutting-edge. Filmmakers will make full use of the latest shooting and editing techniques to create a product that will capture and hold the attention of audiences. The look of the film will be straightforward and bold, distinctively masculine.
For the moment, WISDOM is the working title for the film. But titles tend to change over the course of a production as a film takes on a life of its own and begins to create its own shape and form. Still, the wisdom concept will remain the fundamental motivation for the film, the gathering of one generation’s “accumulated knowledge of life” to be generously shared with the sons who are now setting out on the journey once traveled by their fathers and their fathers before them.
Certainly the times are different. There are problems and challenges that did not exist in the past. And yet so many of life’s hurdles remain the same in terms of personal experiences and difficulties. True wisdom transcends the ages, and that is the message that The Wisdom Project hopes to deliver.
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