Teaching the subject of Media Studies in a Christian school can be tricky: part film, part photography, part storytelling. Now try to reflect all of this through a lens of faith in a world that values anything but the traditional orthodoxy that symbolize the church for so many in our SCEA communities across Perth.
Thankfully, Swan Christian College have a teacher who is more than comfortable working in the world of teenagers that want to experience life and tell their story in their own inimitable way.
Meet Doctor Owen Beck.
A doctor of media. A man who was born on the tiny island of Daru (off Papau New Guinea), played in the popular Christian band “Rockin’ Rabbis” in the 1980’s, designed wetsuits in Victoria and then California before returning to Perth – all before he graduated from high school!
Truth be told, Owen completed high school as a mature-age graduate and discovered his passion for photography at Canning College. An initial stint as a teacher at Swan Christian College for four years (2002-2006) under Dr Ian Lambert was the domestic bliss before chasing an overseas dream in Cambodia: building an eco-resort based on solar power, ‘off-the-grid’ in a beautiful part of the country and meeting his loving Cambodian wife.
Six years later, the aspirations of pursuing film, scriptwriting and studying a PhD in film production through Murdoch University became a reality. Finally, in 2017, Owen became a doctor of media with the release of ‘Bngvel’ (Cambodian word for ‘Turn’) which won the WA Screen Awards for Best Long-Form Direction and Cinematography.
How do Christians reconcile with what they see in Hollywood films? How does a Media teacher bring the Christian worldview into his classroom?
“All narratives talk about experiencing parts of life – usually the highs and lows. Redemption, reconciliation. That part reminds me of Jesus,’ says Owen from the green screen in the Media Department he calls home at Swan.
“We need to engage and not judge. Our experience in life brings wisdom and wholeness. We have a duty to pass this onto them. I’m still on my journey and I sincerely enjoy all the interactions and help that I can pass onto my students here at Swan.”
2020 sees Dr Owen Beck living in Yanchep, active in his local community church, commuting each day to Swan and shopping his award-winning new script “Mister Wick” (co-written with John McMullan) to studios around the world!
Life has changed greatly for the young man who rocked out with fellow Swan teacher Clive Smith many years ago in the late 1980’s, but the passion for life and the hunger to see his students, his family and his colleagues live lives of consequence and fulfillment has not dampened at all.
“I feel privileged to have experienced life in all of its fullness. Yes, there have been some ups and downs, but you need to undergo these experiences to fully understand what life is, what it could be, and what God has in store for all of us.”
Keep an eye for Owen’s story, Mister Wick, in the near future or follow his progress at http://www.saatnas.com/