Bridging Faith and Film
“I use the gift of film to help the church and the world see with new eyes.”
With 17 years of experience as a filmmaker—producer, writer, director, editor, and educator—Avril Speaks lives and breathes the moving image. This “East Coast girl” earned her MFA in film directing from Columbia University before going on to direct two award-winning feature films and to direct and edit a number of short films, documentaries, music videos, and commercials.
Several years ago Avril began eyeing Fuller's theology and the arts programs, wanting to find a way bridge her Christian faith with her film. “Whereas those two aspects of my life felt as though they were in competition with one another throughout my time in film school, Fuller seemed like a great place for them to coexist,” she says. “I saw in Fuller an academic institution that not only embraces the arts, but also embraces diversity of culture, ideas and backgrounds, which is what made me want to come here and explore my faith more deeply.”
She's now working on her MA in Theology with an emphasis on Theology and the Arts—and a PhD in Theology and Culture a possible next step. A former and continuing film professor, Avril hopes ultimately to use her Fuller preparation to diversify and enrich the film market by educating and empowering aspiring artists of faith.
She's being stretched at Fuller—but, Avril says, in a good way. “Fuller is helping me to examine my faith from every angle, so I can walk away with a strengthened ability to defend my convictions. And as an artist, I am excited to see how my experiences here will challenge me to use art and education for a greater purpose.”
“It's interesting how many people assume that since I am in seminary, I want to be a pastor or minister,” Avril muses. “Trends are changing, and more and more people are choosing to take their seminary education into the marketplace instead of the pulpit.”
Avril belongs to a community of Fuller Seminary students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends that is over 53,000 strong. We exist for all those who want to engage and inspire the world for Christ, wherever God has called them. Every job is ministry, every day holy, and every conviction worth sharpening. Learn more about joining our community.