Churches are becoming more involved in making films for “faith-based audiences,” reports Charisma magazine (January).
Christian film producers and directors are teaming up with congregations to make films that stress both high quality and production values with a strong viewer base, writes Adrienne Gaines. The success of the films Facing the Giants and Fireproof, produced by Sherwood Baptist Church, has convinced other congregations to sponsor such upcoming productions as Letters to God (sponsored by First Baptist of Orlando, Florida), The Grace Card (Calvary Church of the Nazarene in Memphis, Tennessee) and To Save a Life (New Song Community Church, near San Diego).
The latter film deals with teen suicide; other films seek to address similar relevant issues or draw on Hollywood themes, such as the new film Paranormal based on the box office hit Paranormal Activity. Church sponsorship often entails selling tickets and concessions to congregants and keeping a portion of proceeds from the film and advance DVD sales.
Other arrangements have the films shown in churches before or after their theatrical or DVD releases to promote product sales. Although the trend of church-made films is not likely to increase the number of Christian offerings at theaters, the competition provided by more films being produced is hoped to drive up the quality of Christian films that obtain a theatrical release, says Larry Frenzel of Birchwood Pictures.
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