Several weeks ago, we posted about a film project called Left to Tell that our friend Mary Beth is working on. The film documents the story of Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and the amazing power of forgiveness. Mary Beth is mobilizing 1,000,000 people around the world to pray for the making of this film, but she took some time out to tell us a bit more about the project.
4word: How did you get involved with the film project Left to Tell?
Mary Beth: I first got involved with film in the summer of 2010, because I had friends whose story I thought needed to be told. I kept praying over this, and I felt that God was asking me to take steps of faith to turn their story into a short film. So I went to friends in the film business in Austin and asked, “What’s the first step in making film?”
They said: “Hire a director.” So I did. Then they said, “You need funding.” I prayed about that, and God led me to someone who wrote me a big check the next day. I thought, “Okay. I guess God wants me to do this!” I kept going, and I learned how to produce a film as I went.
Then in April 2011, I was invited to be the guest of a friend of a friend at the Dallas International Film Festival. While I was there, I bumped into the producers of one of my favorite movies, Bella. We had some mutual friends, and over lunch one of them told me about their production company, M Power Pictures. Their company produced The Stoning of Soraya M. What came to my mind while we were talking was a book my parents had given me called Left to Tell. I asked if he had heard of it, and he looked at me and said, “I can’t believe you just said that. We’re producing that film right now.”
It felt like a very significant moment, and I could tell that God was orchestrating something. One week later, the CEO called me and asked for my help with the making of the film, and I said yes.
4word: So what is your role with the film project?
Mary Beth: I am a consultant for their production company. This summer, I was thinking and praying about the project. It struck me that the way Immaculee survived was by praying, the way the CEO heard about the film was by praying, and the way my short film was made was by praying. At that time, I was at Crusade’s staff conference, praying about the next step with Left to Tell, and God put on my heart to mobilize one million people around the world to pray.
4word: Wow so that’s a huge marketing campaign right there. What are you doing to accomplish this?
Mary Beth: True, but my heart behind it wasn’t marketing. It was really just to have prayer support, as telling this kind of story through film is challenging. I asked a few friends for help because I didn’t really know what to do. They set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account for me. We all prayed that it would go viral, and after two weeks, 20,000 people had liked the page.
It was totally God doing it, but He used a friend of a friend who knew how to use Facebook. My friend was inspired by it and ran with it. We have almost 53,000 likes on the page now who have indicated that they are praying. There are thousands of people all over the world and in my mom’s generation who are praying too, but of course we don’t have a way to quantify that.
4word: What, specifically, do you want people to pray for?
Mary Beth: Pray that God would be glorified through every step of making the film and that one million people around the world would come together to pray. Also, pray that God would use this film to bring about forgiveness and reconciliation between people.
4word: How else can people help or be involved with the project?
Mary Beth: Pray and then do whatever God tells you to do. That’s what I tell people who ask that question. No matter how crazy you think His response is, do it! Also, spread the word and invite others to pray. If there’s something specific, an idea you have or a talent you want to share, you can email me at email@example.com.
Would you join us in praying for Left to Tell? If you’d like to learn more, you can follow the film on Twitter or like the Facebook page. Mary Beth also shared with us a great “thank you” video from Immaculee to all of those praying. And, if you’d like to learn more about Immaculee’s story, you can visit her website: immaculee.com.