‘End of the Spear’ marks theatrical beginning for filmmaker who never went to movies

January 21, 2006

(From: Christian Examiner on the Web)

By Mark Ellis — ANS

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The man inspired to make the new film “End of the Spear”—about five missionaries slain in Ecuador in the ’50s—never set foot in a movie theater until a few years ago.

“I was raised not to go to movies,” said Mart Green, founder of Every Tribe Entertainment.

His parents and grandparents never set foot in a movie theater either, and he maintained that standard with his own children.

Yet on Jan. 20, he’s set to release a $20 million film about five American missionaries who dared to make contact with one of the most violent tribes ever documented by anthropologists. In “End of the Spear,” Green explores the story that’s never been told before—from the tribe’s perspective, demonstrating the remarkable way God altered the tribe’s brutal behavior.

The action film is based on “Beyond the Gates of Splendor,” a documentary he produced shortly after he founded Every Tribe. The original documentary is now available on DVD.

Green grew up in a retailing family. His father founded Hobby Lobby, a $1.5 billion chain of arts and crafts stores scattered throughout 28 states. Following his father’s retailing path, the younger Green launched a chain of Christian bookstores in 1981, which grew to 21 mega-stores today.

Eight years ago, Green witnessed something that changed the course of his life. On a trip to Guatemala he watched a man receive a Bible for the first time from Wycliffe Bible Translators.

“This guy waited 40 years to get his Bible and he wept and wept,” Green recalled. The man’s tears left an indelible mark.

Green woke up that night about 2 a.m. with a sense of conviction.

“I wasn’t reading God’s Word on a consistent basis,” he admitted. “I made a vow to read God’s Word consistently for the rest of my life.”

Shortly after that, a friend invited Green to get involved in a marketing effort for the Bible patterned after the “Got milk” campaign. As he sought the Lord about the right theme and tone to set for their proposed series of 30-second commercials, Green pulled out a tape he had lying on a shelf. It was about the five missionaries: Jim Eliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, Nate Saint and Roger Youderian who were killed in 1956.

In the tape, Mincaye, one of the tribesmen who took part in the killings said: “We acted badly—badly until they brought us God’s carvings. Now we walk his trail.”

As he listened to the tape while driving in his car, he decided their story fit the theme that most captured the heart of their project: ‘This book is alive.’

“I started weeping in the middle of a Wal-Mart parking lot,” Green said.

He suddenly phoned his friends and said: “I’m working on this 30-second commercial, but someday there’s going to be a movie to help our cause!” Yet he never envisioned it would become his project.



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