Monday, March 2, 2015

The Drop Box, by Brian Ivie and Ted Kluck

When filmmaker Brian Ivie read about a South Korean pastor who took in disabled children through a baby drop box, he knew he had found documentary gold.  He started out with the goal of shaking up the film world, but in the end it was his own life that got shaken up.  In The Drop Box: How 500 Babies, and Act of Compassion, and a Movie Changed My Life Forever, Ivie tells the story of his interest in film-making, his trips to Korea to meet Pastor Lee and his household full of abandoned children, and how Ivie became a follower of Christ as a result.

Pastor Lee's story is remarkable.  He literally has a box on the side of his house, with a sign that reads, "This is a facility for the protection of life.  If you can't take care of your disabled babies, don't throw them away or leave them on the street.  Bring them here."  The box, lined with blankets, has an alarm which sounds inside when a baby is left.  Pastor Lee and his wife have taken in children with every imaginable disability, hundreds of children over several decades.  Ivie, moved by the story, e-mailed Pastor Lee, asking if he could come to Korea and film a documentary.  Lee agreed, a friendship was born, and an award-winning documentary was made.  The film will be released soon.

Ivie's book does tell Pastor Lee's story, but it's mostly about Ivie's story.  He began making films as a child, using neighborhood kids as the cast.  When he began work on The Drop Box, he was enrolled in USC's film school, but he admits when they arrived in Korea he was "totally unequipped to do what we were about to do, but somehow going to do it anyway."  They did have some good equipment; a crowd funding campaign and some great interest from connected sources made sure of that.

The main storyline of The Drop Box (the book) is Brian's conversion to Christianity.  His life turned around.  Film had been his religion, but through meeting Pastor Lee, Ivie met Jesus.  Ivie's enthusiasm and commitment come through loud and clear, but the story does meander, from his childhood of movie making and movie loving, too his film school experiences, his girlfriends, and, most importantly the film and the impact of Pastor Lee on his life.  If nothing else, it gives a back story to the Drop Box documentary which emphasizes the power of a great story.  The movie has permanently changed one life in a major way, before it was even complete.  May many more be changed.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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