15Four Integrated Media

February 08, 2009

15Four is a film company that works with  businesses and schools to create short films for the web that effectively bring out their message.

Below is the testimony of Steve Smallman, M.Div., 1991 on his mission and experience with 15four Integrated Media and how he's incorporated his training at Westminster into the business world.

"Much of our work doesn't call on us to be in a specifically Christian setting, and we're not commissioned [by our clients] to tell a Gospel story.  However, in every situation we look for the truth of God based on what we know about His world from His Word.  We then try to tell the truth in every story we're given, tap into real human longings and desires we know are there because of what we know about people in God's redemptive history.

"For example, people love stories about heroes.  I believe that is because the desire for a savior is a deep human longing, not a specifically Christian longing.  So how can I, as a film maker, tell a story which connects at that point, even if it's a simple personality profile about a company executive?  How can we responsibly, even if subtly do our work in ways which point to the truth as we've been trained to understand it?  This is an area which causes me to continually appreciate my WTS training and understanding of the Bible.

"This month we'll be in Atlanta, filming a continuing story about a Burmese family which has been resettled there by World Relief.  World Relief does a lot of refugee resettlement, working closely with local churches to provide communities for families from the moment they arrive.  We've had the privilege of telling the stories of several of these families.

"Later in the month we're being sent to Malawi, one of two trips we'll make this year to Africa.  Both trips are with World Relief, the second one will be in Sudan.  World Relief has provided a tremendous opportunity for me to bring together various skills the Lord has developed in me throughout my life.  We're doing creative work (which I love), working cross culturally among the poorest of the poor, and often needing real pastoral discernment to know how to discover the truth of what God is doing in a given place, telling that story while preserving the dignity of folks as human beings created in God's image. 

"Our business has grown to include Washington, D.C. and we're developing relationships with a couple of PR firms down there.  As media has shifted dramatically toward[s] the web, we're trying to help organizations of all shapes and sizes convert their stories into short films for the web, not unlike what we did at WTS. 

"Currently I'm working to develop new relationships to grow our business, employ more people, and work in bigger markets.  As one of two owners, my responsibilities lie here as well as in the creative oversight of all our projects.   Kurt Dutra, my business partner, is in charge of production and supervises our four employees.  Kurt is the real film maker among the two of us, responsible for the superb quality standard we've been able to establish in all our work.  He and I are very different, but sharpen each other as a result.  I'm very thankful to God for our long collaboration."