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Our guest columnist is Matthew Chapman, writer and director of the new movie “The Ledge”, which does for atheists what the “Atlas Shrugged” movie did for Libertarians.
This could be the Brokeback Mountain moment for atheists, our tipping point, when we finally get the attention we deserve. Although books have put atheists into the intellectual mainstream, The Ledge is the first Hollywood drama to target the broader movie-going public with an openly atheist hero in a production big enough to attract A-list stars. This is unprecedented.
Although the film was nominated for Best US Drama for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and has huge potential to promote atheism, it could also be a crushing defeat. How many watch it — and it just came in 3rd in Russia against Pirates of the Caribbean and Kung Fu Panda — determines the push it will get nationwide. If Brokeback Mountain had failed at the box office, it would have scared investors away from gay-centric films for a decade. When Passion Of The Christ came out, it was heavily supported by Christians, and consequently Hollywood made several more faith-based films. It is vital that we atheists prove that we support films that support us. This is how the door opens.