10 Apr, 2020 The Future of Christian Films and Advice from the Experts
by Kirstin Leigh
Christian films not only edify, but they counter the messages coming out of Hollywood. However, Christian films do not just happen by themselves.
Recently, I had the privilege of attending the NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) convention in Nashville, Tennessee. This four-day event connects, equips, and edifies thousands of communicators from across the world.
Whether the goal was to meet top producers and filmmakers, preview upcoming films, pitch your project, listen to leaders in radio broadcasting and book publishing, discover the latest in marketing trends, or connect with Christian media and ministry professionals—NRB always has something for everyone.
The future of Christian films
“Make sure your story is one that people—other than your friends and relatives—want to hear,” began Rich Peluso (EVP of Affirm Films, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment). “And keep your mind open. You may picture it on the big screen, but there are incredible small screen opportunities, streamers, and digital platforms.”
When asked if we were in a bubble with Christian films, Cary Solomon (Writer, Director, Producer) responded, “We are in a dangerous place. Christian films have not evolved the way they should have. We’ve got to stop making Christian films about pastors.”
“Instead of the “A” story being about a Christian, have a story that is happening to a Christian,” added Cary’s partner, Chuck Konzelman. “And don’t be afraid of conflict. In life, we seek to minimize conflict and make everyone happy. When telling a story, you have to reverse this. As a screenwriter, you are a conflict manager, and your job is to keep the fire alive!”
“We are in a culture war,” Cary concluded. “If the secular world had its way, we wouldn’t be here. We can’t allow this to happen. We are God’s hands and feet. We are the voice of Jesus. We have to stop being diabetic Christians. We have to make real movies! The time is now.”
A conversation with Kevin Sorbo
“Hollywood’s agenda is unbelievable. We started celebrating the anti-hero back in the 1960’s with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. These were bad guys who killed a lot of people. We glorified them, and we seem to be doing more and more of that. We’re creating hatred and anger. There has been such a fall away from faith…we need films full of hope and love more than ever.” – Kevin Sorbo
When I asked Kevin what advice he had for Christians in the entertainment world he said, “Be true to yourself. Go on the auditions and take the roles that you feel right about.” Kevin paused for a second. “An atheist recently stopped me on the street and said, ‘Hey, I saw that movie, ‘God’s Not Dead.’ I don’t believe the way you believe, but it was a pretty good movie.’ That was a win for me.”
Kevin is the host and narrator of “Climate Hustle 2: The Rise of the Climate Monarchy.” Featuring world-renowned scientists, politicians and policy experts, the film challenges popular scientific claims about climate change. It also showcases the hypocrisy of Hollywood’s green elite, examines media bias, political agendas, and other troubling circumstances surrounding the climate change issue. Are we in real imminent danger or is the movement simply getting out of control?
The release of “Climate Hustle 2: The Rise of the Climate Monarchy” is postponed due to the virus, but keep an eye on the website for information.
Introducing J.D. Dewitt
After a successful fourteen year career in the media business, from talent agent to literary management, J.D. sold her agency and combined her relationships in the entertainment business with her passion for working with authors and she began to connect writers directly with Hollywood.
In 2018, J.D. co-founded 5×5 Productions, a female-led literary management and production company. Since then, J.D. and her business partner, Robin McLain have optioned a project to MGM, sold a four-movie deal to Amazon, and are slated to co-produce three films in Hollywood.
5×5’s specialty is book-to-film, which is how she met Lesley McDaniel, author of “Home Sweet Home,” the company’s first feature film. “I was teaching writers how to position their screenplays in a way that would attract producers during a week-long writing retreat. Lesley was working on four projects, but we honed in on “Home Sweet Home.”
I asked J.D. what made this script “pop,” and she said, “The story is built around a community service project—my immediate thought was how we could tie this in with a program similar to Habitat for Humanity. I also loved that the A & B stories revolved around young adults. We need more positive entertainment for this audience!” As a writer for this age group, I couldn’t agree more.
“Home Sweet Home,” starring Natasha Bure and Ben Elliott, centers around a flirtatious young woman, who in order to “get the guy” pretends to be a Christian and signs up to help build houses for people in need.
A preview screening will be held on April 24th at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, with a global release set for May 1.
“Home Sweet Home” brings to light the powerful changes that happen within us when we selflessly serve others. Definitely a film your whole family will love!
To find out what’s next for this dynamic female-driven company: https://5x5inc.com/
A dynamic writer, speaker, singer, and screenwriter, Kirstin Leigh is the author of “Change Your Story,” a faith-based self-empowerment book and “Believe,” the first book in a fiction series for tweens.
You can connect with Kirstin and find out about her latest projects at Kirstinleigh.com