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Posts tagged ‘Filmmaking’

Politician Rick Santorum Heads Faith-Based Film Company.

Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum (Facebook)

Former U.S. senator and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum has a new gig these days. And as the CEO of EchoLight Studios—a faith-based, family film production company—he plans to make a big impact quickly on his new industry.

The announcement of Santorum’s new position came last weekend on FNC’s “The Huckabee Show.”

“This is the right place and right time, and I’ve jumped in with both feet,” says Santorum, who has spent the past year helping EchoLight grow as a company. “I often say that culture is upstream from politics. I know entertainment also can be strength and light for people who want to be uplifted and reinforced in their values.”

EchoLight’s upcoming first theatrical venture, The Redemption of Henry Myers, is slated for a fall 2013 release. Meanwhile, EchoLight’s second theatrical film is based on the inspiring story of Illinois basketball player Eric “Hoovey” Elliott, stars Patrick Warburton and Lauren Holly and is directed by Soul Surfer’s Sean McNamara. It is in post-production and set for release in 2014.

Santorum has high expectations for blowing open a burgeoning entertainment category.

“Dallas can become the Hollywood of the faith-and-family movie market,” he says. “And the keys are great content and economic success, using money from all over to build out the industry and distribute an authentic product truthful to the faith in people’s lives.”

EchoLight’s commitment to new filmmakers already boasts impressive numbers:

  • A $250,000 commitment to produce and distribute a new work by the winner of the short film category in the 2013 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.
  • A multiyear, multimillion-dollar agreement to produce films from Liberty University’s cinematic arts program, with production wrapped on the first film from that effort.
  • Up to $1 million pledged to produce and distribute a new work from the best film category winner in this year’s 168 Film Project.

EchoLight has a full pipeline of films with established directors and a growing cadre of “faith and family” stars as committed as the directors and producers.

“We’re in a position with potential to transform the industry,” Santorum says. “EchoLight is a wide door into movie excellence and to more of it—which is why we’re also helping to cultivate young filmmakers in the faith community, helping them develop cinema that, in many, many ways, can go further and do more.”




Filmmaker Aims to ‘Rebrand’ God.

Darren Wilson
Darren Wilson

When Darren Wilson started making Finger of God, he had no budget, no script and no idea what the movie was going to look like in the end.

Fast-forward five years, two documentaries and 120,000-plus DVDs sold, and his films continue to go viral among a rabid fan base of believers. As he launches a summer tour through about 40 cities for his new release, Father of Lights, Wilson is preparing for even greater response among believers and unbelievers alike. His new film documents real-life portrayals of God as a loving Father.

“We’re attempting to rebrand the Father,” Wilson says of his latest project, which confronts common misconceptions people have about God. “I wanted to make a film that explores the Father’s heart, to figure out: Who is He? Who is He not?”

A sequel to his previous two documentaries, Father of Lights once again shows average people doing extraordinary things for God in remarkable circumstances—“though this time the stakes are even higher,” he says.

Wilson expects 65,000 people to see his latest documentary throughout the summer tour, which kicks off Sunday at Bethel Church in Redding, Calif., and includes venues that average 1,500 to 1,800 seats each.

“We’re going all over the United States trying to hit every region—turning these things into massive, citywide, region-wide, outreach, evangelistic events,” Wilson says.

“We’re trying to get the whole community out—Christians, non-Christians,” he continues. “I just want everybody in a room so that the Father can then drop a love bomb on everybody and just see what happens.”

Finger of God, Wilson’s directorial debut, has sold more than 80,000 copies to date, despite Wilson spending only $5,000 in marketing. Its follow-up, Furious Love, was screened by thousands of churches worldwide and sold 60,000 copies. It also spawned a live conference and a book released in January, Igniting Furious Love.

Wilson plans to release his newest film on DVD in October, though it will be available exclusively at tour stops this summer.


By Gina Meeks

Former YWAM Students Shooting Feature Film.


The Umbrella On location filming for The Umbrella (The Initiative)

The Initiative is an apt name for the independent film company birthed from YWAM Brisbane’s School of Filmmaking in Australia. After winning a parade of awards for one of its many short films, the young film company has decided to step out into something bigger: the challenge of a feature film. Their first full-length project, The Umbrella, aims to promote a message of reconciliation, redemption and restoration.

The Umbrella was originally the brainchild of director, producer and founder of The Initiative, Jason Solari. After years of development, writer and producer Josh Potthoff was brought alongside the project to breathe life into the writing and give flesh to the story. Both are passionate about their production, aiming to engage hearts and minds. “Film is the most influential medium of our day,” says Solari. “And it’s our goal to tell good stories.”

The group of Christian filmmakers propose to the audience: “What if an umbrella could do more than just protect its user from mere sun or rain? What if it could protect its user from pain?” The viewers are then emerged into the world of a young man named Jared Evans, who attempts to avoid difficult situations by disconnecting and taking refuge underneath his imaginary umbrella.

That is until unconventional therapist Henry Green challenges him in an unorthodox way. Jared is then forced to replace his make-believe umbrella with an actual one. Realizing his umbrella holds him back, Jared is left with the the dichotomy of living in the disengaged comfort of his umbrella, or letting it go to experience true freedom and finally live.

The question hanging in the air is, “How will this story go from vision to reality?” With no financial backing and only a handful of staff, The Initiative is left to their own wits and trust for a miracle. “Luckily, we got five more interns recently,” laughs Potthoff. “So, there’s still hope.”

However, the unresolved issue of funds still lingers. It is a problem many independent filmmakers face. There has been a recent shift in the filmmaking climate, however; one which recognizes the value of independent films. With more opportunities than ever before for small production houses, the occasional picture hits big.

Despite the enormous obstacles, The Initiative is living up to its name and stepping out in faith. “Our intention is to make a quality film,” says Solari, who refuses to sacrifice creative excellence or hope due to lack of resources. Principle photography is slated to begin this February. YWAM is excited to see former trainees embrace their artistic talents and begin pursuing their dreams.

By Sidra Zimmerman.

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