Joni and Friends’ Global Access Conference to Host ‘The Drop Box’ Pre-release Screening

Highly-acclaimed Documentary Releases Nationwide Mar. 3

AGOURA HILLS, Calif., Feb. __, 2015 – As “The Drop Box” prepares for its nationwide theatrical release on March 3, attendees of the Joni and Friends Global Access Conference Feb. 17-20 will be treated to a pre-release screening of this highly-acclaimed documentary telling the story of the “baby box” in South Korea where unwanted infants – many of whom are disabled – are left anonymously in the care of Pastor Lee Jong-rak.

DropBoxFilmgraphicsmall“There are actually drop boxes like this in many countries around the world; it’s indefensible that so many of these children are de-valued and discarded,” said Joni and Friends Vice President Marc Stein. “So from a social justice perspective, we thought it was important that as many people as possible see this film and become more aware of this issue that Pastor Lee and others like him deal with every day.”

Pastor Lee was already familiar with Joni and Friends through his work serving those with disabilities in South Korea, especially his own son Eun-man, who inspired Pastor Lee that every life has value and those who others might throw away are of ultimate worth. Word spread that Pastor Lee would take these children and infants in, and when they began to be left on the cold streets in the middle of the night, Pastor Lee realized the baby box was needed.

Filmmaker Brian Ivie had only set out to produce a 10-minute short film about Korean cultural issues, but was so touched by Pastor Lee’s love for these children that it became a bigger story. Through this experience, Ivie came to understand God’s love for him in a larger and more personal way, as well. He wants to communicate that through this film.

“I hope people see what God’s love is really like, that it’s gritty and piercing and sacrificial, so much greater than weak-at-the-knees Hollywood love,” Ivie said. “For those who don’t believe, I hope they see living proof of a loving God through our film.”

When Ivie asked Pastor Lee what hope he thought these children with disabilities would have for the future, he specifically mentioned Joni Eareckson Tada as an example of someone God can use in significant ways no matter their disabling condition. Ivie was subsequently able to meet Tada and share the film with her.

“I believe that Pastor Lee and Joni have the same heart, carved out of pain and grace,” Ivie said. “God is using this film, this man, and me to share His heart with the world. I think Joni understood that right away.”

The Joni and Friends executive team viewed the film, as well, and realized “The Drop Box” would be an inspiration and encouragement to those attending the upcoming Global Access Conference they are hosting Feb. 17-20.

Disability leaders, ministers, educators and practitioners from around the world will be coming to Southern California to share experiences, forge relationships and learn how to practically and effectively promote disability ministry in the Christian community.

The conference runs Tuesday evening, Feb. 17, through Friday evening, Feb. 20, at Calvary Community Church, 5495 Via Rocas, Westlake Village, Calif. Registration is $299, which includes all sessions as well as lunch, dinner, snacks and beverages during the conference and transportation from pre-arranged hotels. More information is available online at www.globalaccessconference.org.

In addition to Tada, conference speakers include: Doug Mazza, President and Chief Operating Officer of Joni and Friends; Nick Vujicic, international speaker and founder of Life Without Limbs; Dr. Charles Ware, President of Crossroads Bible College; Dr. Joseph D’Souza, International President of the Dalit Freedom Network; Dr. Eddy Bazin, pastor of Delmas Christian Church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Lon Solomon, senior pastor at McLean Bible Church; international missionary and speaker Bernadette Todd; and full-time painter and speaker Hyatt Moore, former president of Wycliffe Bible Translators.

For more than 35 years, Joni and Friends has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community around the world, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries, including the Christian Institute on Disability; the International Disability Center; international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories; Wheels for the World, which every year gives thousands of individuals wheelchairs and the life-giving message of the Gospel; and Family Retreats, where families affected by disability learn they are not alone.

With the support of ministries such as Joni and Friends, Focus on the Family and others, “The Drop Box” is being pre-screened and promoted around the country for a 712-screen 3-day theatrical run Mar. 3-5. Following that, it will release on DVD and video-on-demand 90 days later. For more information, see www.thedropboxfilm.com.

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Note to Editors: For more information or to arrange an interview with Joni and Friends representatives, please contact Melany Ethridge of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972.267.1111, or melany@alarryross.com