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Interview with Director Simon Shi-Hao Chang: My Offering to God & A Closer Look at the Psalms

Director Simon Shi-Hao Chang, with a doctoral degree in architecture from the University of Edinburgh, wears many hats as a composer, music and television producer. Having spent decades in the film production industry, Chang produced films like “Fleeing by Night,” “April Rhapsody,” “The Death of MR.com,” “Angelic Conversations,” etc.

Chang’s work won him the Best Writing, Best Art and Design, and Best Lighting Awards at the Golden Bell Awards. With the Tōhoku earthquake as the background story, Chang produced and directed “Father’s Lullaby” in 2012, depicting intimate relationships and changing lifestyles in the contemporary world. The film garnered great responses at the 2012 Osaka Asian Film Festival.

Chang recalled that at the age of six, he stumbled into the church next to his house, where his faith journey began. Almost sixty years later, he trembled at the thought of producing the Book of Psalms series for S.O.W., saying, “This has to begin with prayer because it’s serious work, not just a task to be checked off the list. ”

Thus, Chang made up his mind in prayer to give everything he had for this production. With his magnetic voice, Chang narrated his journey of how he entered into and experienced the storylines of the Psalms, from the mentality of “Lord, I’ll do my best for you” to “Lord, help me give my all.” He shared, “The process [of production] benefited me the most.” There was a strong sense of mission in filming the Psalms as he humbly spoke of the process. No matter what obstacles stood in the way, he was determined to fulfill this mission to the best of his ability!

As for how he was led to this opportunity, it all started when a good friend of his—who produced the Job series for S.O.W. before—recommended him for our next production. Finally Susan Chen, S.O.W.’s founder and director, met with Chang in person and shared our vision and mission with him, which is to produce high-quality multimedia Bible study materials for the global church and mission organizations across the world. She spoke to Chang about the importance of sowing God’s word into people’s hearts—providing spiritual food for the hungry and leading people to Jesus, the Living Water. At the end of their conversation, Susan extended an invitation to Chang, “Will

the Psalms for us?” As soon as Chang heard the keyword “the Psalms,” his eyes lit up. He was caught by surprise and said, “Wow, it’s the Psalms…” He continued, “As a composer, the first hymn I ever wrote was about Psalm 23, a psalm of David; his psalms take up 70 percent of the entire book of Psalms.” Then the conversation just went on and on with Chang sharing his thoughts on the book. He said, “There are many songs written from Psalm 23, but the melody is not the main thing. It’s about the highs and lows expressed through the psalmists’ words and the effect on us as readers. We go through different stages in life, so our reading of the Psalms also changes as we walk through the many seasons of life. This is what the Psalms is to me, and I believe that for you, too!”

Towards the end of his sharing, Chang said, “I’ve written around 100 hymns based on Bible passages; among them are 25 songs composed from the book of Psalms. The filming of the Psalms involves visual presentation, which creates a different kind of experience and dynamic than just expressing it through music. The psalmists not only talked about God’s heart for and magnificent design of the universe and all of creation, they also wrote about their journey in following God through life’s ups and downs. Because their experiences are very relatable, what they had written still apply to our lives today. To be part of this sacred work is a grace from God!”