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ICVM_Crown_Award2015

The International Christian Visual Media conference has announced its choices for best Christian film and television programs of the year

Here’s a partial list:

BEST PICTURE

BEST EVANGELISTIC FILM

BEST YOUTH FILM

BEST CHILDREN’S VIDEO

BEST CURRICULUM

The Crown Awards are designed to recognize excellence in production and content of films and videos that are created to reflect Christian values in a secular world. Since 1973, when a group of distributors began to honor the work of Christian film producers, the traditional awards ceremony has taken place at the end of the ICVM conference each year.

For a complete list of winners and categories, see ICVM.




Captive

Film based on a true story to hit theaters September 18, 2015

Paramount Pictures released the first trailer for its upcoming film “CAPTIVE,” starring David Oyelowo (“Selma,” “A Most Violent Year”) and Kate Mara (“Fantastic Four,” “House of Cards”).

Based on the true story that drew national attention in 2005, “CAPTIVE” promises to be a thrilling drama about the spiritual collision of two broken lives. When Brian Nichols—on the run as the subject of a city-wide manhunt and desperate to make contact with his newborn son—takes recovering meth addict Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment, she turns for guidance to Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life. While reading aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer each face crossroads where despair and death intersect hope.

Directed by veteran filmmaker Jerry Jameson, “CAPTIVE” is based on the book Unlikely Angel by Ashley Smith with Stacy Mattingly. The film’s screenplay is by Brian Bird. The film is rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving violence and substance abuse.

In addition to Oyelowo and Mara, “Captive” also stars Leonor Varela, Jessica Oyelowo, with Mimi Rogers and Michael K. Williams.

The film was produced by Terry Botwick, Jerry Jameson, Lucas Akoskin, Alex Garcia, Katrina Wolfe, David Oyelowo and Ken Wales. The executive producers are Santiago Garcia Galván, Jonathan Gray, Brian Bird, Elliott Lester and Ralph Winter.

“In March of 2005, Ashley’s story captivated the nation on news outlets everywhere,” said Botwick. “Her story is thrilling and redemptive as God intersected the lives of two very broken people in the most dramatic way. It has been amazing getting to know Ashley and to be working with such fine actors. I am so pleased also to be partnering with Paramount to bring this authentic encounter to a worldwide audience.”

For additional information, visit captivethemovie.com or YouTube.




Audacity poster

Bold film says Christians should not be silent about homosexuality—love can’t stay silent

Addressing what is the most culturally-divisive issue of the day—even among Christians—Living Waters Publications will release its newest film, “AUDACITY,” online June 24, 2015 along with bonus features and special materials.

Starring Travis Owens (“Friday Night Lights” TV series), Molly Ritter (“Atrophy,” “Madison”), and Ben Price (“Australia’s Got Talent”), “Audacity” explores the conflict between Christians and homosexuality using both a thought-provoking plot and real and unscripted street interviews conducted by Ray Comfort.

“Audacity” follows the struggle of Peter (Travis Owens) as he is confronted with the tension between the cultural acceptance of homosexuality and what the Bible says is true. While trying to live out his Christian beliefs, he finds that there are a lot of uncomfortable questions he has to answer. But acting out of love for his friends and even strangers, Peter is able to live out the values of the Bible and show others the courage it takes to follow the Bible when its teachings are not popular. Viewers will find “Audacity” to be culturally relevant but boldly sticking to its Biblical principles.

“A non-Christian recently questioned how any Christian could possibly stay true to the Bible and not be ‘homophobic,’” Comfort said. “After working on ‘Audacity’ for more than a year, I think we have (by the grace of God) done precisely that.”

Comfort continued with this story:

“I invited an outspoken atheist friend to a prescreening and without any provocation, he said, ‘Unlike most Christian films it is far from cheesy, and has a great, well-acted script. Most of all it is not heavy-handed, showing the Christian position on homosexuality without being intimidating or angry. Well done!’”

The filmmakers have also been encouraged to win two awards and to have “Audacity” enthusiastically commended by men such as Alex Kendrick (“Fireproof”) and Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis).

“I think this movie is going to dumbfound a skeptical world by showing how uncompromising Christianity can indeed demonstrate uncompromising love,” Comfort concluded.

“Audacity” is the fifth film produced by Living Waters Publications, a biblical evangelism media company led by Founder and CEO Ray Comfort. It will release through the film’s website at AudacityMovie.com.

Christian SpotlightIf you have viewed “AUDACITY,” please add your viewer comment on our Christian Spotlight REVIEW for the film.

Living Waters Publications

Living Waters Publications is a global media group with a mission to educate God’s people in the principles of biblical evangelism through strategic conferences, academic and practical training opportunities, networking platforms, and the production and dissemination of various printed and audio/visual media. For more information visit LivingWaters.com.




freedom2015-1The Christian film, “Freedom,” from Writer/Producer Tim Chey (RiverRain Productions), comes to select theaters this Friday, June 6, 2015 and Video on Demand through Time Warner. The film looks at two stories, one of them on the early life of John Newton, the former slave trader who wrote “Amazing Grace.” The film was directed by Peter Cousens (President and CEO of Production One Inc.) and Executive produced by Cuba Gooding, Jr., Peter Cousens, and Michael Goodin.

“I’m thrilled the audience will finally get another look at John Newton’s life,” says Chey. “His story is so profound that it’s actually saved many wretches. We’re all truly wretches without the blood of Christ.”

It reportedly took Chey 8 years to research and write the script and nine years to bring the project to the big screen. The film stars Cuba Gooding, Jr., William Sadler (President Ellis in “Iron Man 3”), and Sharon Leal. The production budget is estimated to be $14-million.

“I was thrilled when Cuba Gooding, Jr. signed on,” says Chey. “He was my first choice. He read the script and said, ‘I’m in.’”

Chey’s friend, Dean Cundey (“Jurassic Park,” “Back to the Future”) also shot the movie.

“The entire movie’s terrific look is because of one person: my friend Dean. He did a phenomenal job.”

Chey traveled from Fiji to Mississippi to Nova Scotia scouting locations. He chose Connecticut because of the natural beauty and Mystic Seaport.

“I picked Connecticut because of the tremendous historical significance,” says Chey. “We also filmed on the Amistad ship with Dean in a helicopter covering some truly epic moments.”

The film has the potential to reach over 50 million homes on Video on Demand (VOD) this Friday through Time-Warner, Charter, Comcast, iTunes, and many other on demand platforms. It will also be in select theaters nationwide through distributor ARC Entertainment (Santa Monica, CA).

A sweeping and ambitious musical film, “Freedom” blends two powerful, redemptive stories into the background of Gospel/blues songs. The movie’s official Web site asks viewers to join the road to freedom, saying,

Today, there are over 29 million of our borthers and sisters living under the tyranny of slavery. More than any other time in history. Commit to end slavery and human trafficking.

Official movie site: themoviefreedom.com

Timothy A. Chey’s past productions include:

Christian SpotlightIf you have viewed FREEDOM, please add your viewer comment on our Christian Spotlight REVIEW for the film.




beyondthemask2015-1The swashbuckling action-and-adventure historical drama BEYOND THE MASK launches June 5, 2015 in 100 cities coast to coast—from Washington, D. C. To Seattle. The theatrical release from Freestyle Releasing follows the films” record-setting on-demand theatrical debut earlier this year.

Local Showtimes are available at BeyondtheMaskMovie.com

“BEYOND THE MASK is the largest theatrical on-demand release in history,” Director Chad Burns said. “Audiences and critics both responded to a family-friendly film that set a new standard for production values and computer-generated special effects in the faith genre. We’re thrilled now to bring it to a wider audience.”

Besides the 100-city debut, BEYOND THE MASK remains available in other locations in theaters on demand. The film opened through Gathr’s on-demand platform in April 2015 at a record-setting 440-plus theaters nationwide with record box office results guaranteed before the premiere. In the two weeks following, it posted a box-office-leading per screen sales average for the Monday-Wednesday time frame.

“Gathr allows us to continue to schedule premieres across the country. So if the film isn’t in a city, fans just reserve a theater and bring it,” Producer Aaron Burns said. “Everything they need to see the movie is on our Web site at BeyondtheMaskMovie.com.”

Christian SpotlightIf you have viewed BEYOND THE MASK, please add your viewer comment on our Christian Spotlight REVIEW for the film.

Also, see our previous article on this movie.




One More Round poster
Indiana based producer Rossetti Productions is releasing the drama “One More Round” DVD on June 16, 2015. With Kevin Sorbo as Executive Producer and directed by Chip Rossetti, the film stars Tommy Lee Thomas Franco Columbu T.C. Stallings Mindy Thomas with Kevin Sorbo and Jeremy London.

Jake “The Jackhammer” Taylor is a man just trying to survive. His dead-end job at a furniture store isn’t enough to pay the mortgage and keep food on the table for his wife and daughter. And he’s haunted by his past. You see, Jacob used to be a boxer, a real “up‐and‐comer,” and he left the sport just as his star was ascending. No warnings. No discussions. Just up and vanished.

Since ducking out just minutes before he was going to enter the ring for the fight of his life, Jake hasn’t been able to get things back on track. Now, several years later, he finds himself depressed and locked in a dreary job, with a marriage under stress and the bank about to foreclose on his home. Jake has 30 days to come up with the mortgage, or he and his family will be homeless. At work, his boss, Strauss, gives him a week to hit his sales quota or he will be out of a job.

He trusts that God can provide, but doesn’t see it happening. Just when Jake thinks he can’t get up one more time, his trainers track him down. Will one more round in the ring bring redemption? Will Jake find the strength to go “One More Round”?

Chip-RossettiChip Rossetti is an award winning writer, director and producer, with 9 documentary films, five short films and 12 completed feature films to his credit. Chip has received distribution for all of his projects thus far, and they are reportedly being sold worldwide.

Official Facebook page: facebook.com/OneMoreRoundMovie




Polycarp posterAfter nearly 3 years in the making, POLYCARP will be available May 5, 2015 on Christian bookstore shelves and online stores where you find Christian media, including Family Christian, LifeWay, CBD, and many more, and from the producer HenlineProductions.com.

Although set in the 2nd Century, the story of religious persecution, courage, faith and brutal oppression could be taken from today’s headlines about mass killings and persecutions of Christians. It promises to tell the historically accurate story of an early Christian martyr, Bishop Polycarp, who was burned and stabbed to death for refusing to renounce his faith in Christ and worship Caesar.

This feature length drama (93 minutes) is told through the eyes of a 12-year-old girl, Anna, and has been given the “Family Approved” seal for all ages by The Dove Foundation. POLYCARP was awarded Best Feature Film, Audience Choice Award and Best Original Music Score at the 2015 Christian Worldview Film Festival.

“It challenges Christians of all generations to stand boldly on the gospel in the face of persecution. In the Western world our faith is increasingly coming under attack from our secularized society, so this movie is very timely for us today,” said Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis and founder of the Creation Museum in Hebron, Ky. “Based on real history and real Christians suffering real persecution, it’s a message we all need to be reminded of.”

“This is a moving story of second-century persecution, reminiscent of the persecution many believers face today,” said Alex and Stephen Kendrick, producers of hit films “Courageous” and “Facing the Giants” that sparked a growing trend of Christian movies.

“Through the use of realistic sets and talented actors, ‘Polycarp’ brings to life the Biblical truths presented in Luke 17:33, 1 John 4:18, and Philippians 1:21 and reveals what it means to be fully dedicated to Christ and His Kingdom, even to the point of death.” —Samaritan Ministries

“Garry Nation gives a compelling performance as Polycarp” —Dove Foundation

Christian SpotlightSee our Christian Spotlight on-line REVIEW of “Polycarp”. If you have seen this film, share your comments on our review page.

Official site
Facebook page




Killing Jesus poster

Bill O’Reilly and National Geographic’s Bible-themed project produced by Ridley Scott (“Exodus”) rated only 3 out of 5 stars by Faith Driven Consumer

“Killing Jesus” is a National Geographic Channel miniseries chronicling the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Premiered on March 29, 2015, it is based on the 2013 book of the same name written by political pundit and author Bill O’Reilly and historian Martin Dugard (published by Henry Holt and Company). The book remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 52 weeks. Faith Driven Consumer™—the consumer advocacy organization representing Christian consumers who spend $2 trillion annually, is rating the faith compatibility of Hollywood films, measuring how they will resonate with faith-driven audiences, and predicting box office performance. The group’s Faith-Friendly Film Review system serves as another resource for consumers to evaluate entertainment choices.

According to them, the National Geographic/Scott Free Productions television movie “Killing Jesus”—which examines the life of Jesus Christ from three different perspectives—rates 3 out of 5 stars.

Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer and Certified Brand Strategist, has issued the following statement:

“‘Killing Jesus’ failed to earn more than thee stars because it largely ignores the divinity of Jesus Christ—a non-negotiable for the faith audience. This offering from Ridley Scott and National Geographic has strong production values and is entertaining, but its humanistic depiction of the Son of God—void of the divine essence of His life—lacks appeal to audiences who hold this as the pivotal and most important story in all of history and in their personal lives.”

Christian SpotlightSee our Christian Spotlight on-line review—“Killing Jesus”. Also available is FDC’s review. National Geographic site for this series: channel.nationalgeographic.com/killing-jesus/

Faith Driven Consumers and Christians overall: What they want in entertainment

96% of Faith Driven Consumers (FDCs) say that their faith has a major influence on their entertainment choices, compared to 47% of Christians overall. 61% of FDCs rate faith’s influence as a 10, compared to 18% of Christians overall.

87% of Faith Driven Consumers are much more likely—58% very much more likely—to choose entertainment options that promote Christian-compatible values, compared to 54% of Christians overall, while 73% of Faith Driven Consumers avoid watching television and films that conflict with their Christian worldview, compared to 41% of Christians at large.

81% of Faith Driven Consumers are likely to recommend a movie to others, compared to 79% of Christians overall. 49% of FDCs are very likely to recommend a movie, compared to 39% of Christians overall, while 61% of Faith Driven Consumers are likely to discourage others from seeing a movie, compared to 49% of Christians overall. 31% of FDCs are very likely to discourage a movie, compared to 17% of Christians overall.

78% of Faith Driven Consumers say it would have a significant influence on their decision to see a film if their church encouraged it, compared to 55% of Christians overall, and 57% of Faith Driven Consumers” churches encourage members to see specific faith-based films, compared to 36% of Christians overall.
Faith Driven Consumers and Christians overall: Importance of specific attributes

On a scale of one to five, Faith Driven Consumers rate biblical accuracy as the #1 factor in considering a film. Below is how all factors were rated.

60% gave “how accurately the movie reflects the Bible” a 5 (4-5: 84%), compared to 28% of Christians overall.

59% gave “compatibility with Christian values” a 5 (4-5: 89%), compared to 23% of Christians overall.

56% gave “how appropriate the film is for children” a 5 (4-5: 78%), compared to 30% of Christians overall.

51% gave “faith-compatible characters and relationships” a 5 (4-5: 83%), compared to 21% of Christians overall.

51% gave “faith-compatible situations” a 5 (4-5: 83%), compared to 20% of Christians overall.

50% gave “entertainment value” a 5 (4-5: 83%), compared to 36% of Christians overall.
For further details on the poll, see AmericanInsights.org




beyondthemask2015-1The family-friendly, action-and-adventure film BEYOND THE MASK hits theaters April 6, 2015 and has already generated good reviews and a new record for debuting on the most screens in the history of on-demand theatrical distribution.

Reviewers praise the film for its compelling story and for reaching new heights, for faith films, of production values and computer-generated special effects. Tickets are on sale now at BeyondtheMaskMovie.com.

“We’re thrilled the advance excitement we’ve seen has turned into action in the form of screens reserved to show BEYOND THE MASK,” said Producer Aaron Burns. “Now we want fans of action films appropriate for the whole family to buy tickets and fill theaters.”

Partnered with Gathr—an on-demand theatrical film distributor—BEYOND THE MASK producers Burns Family Studios activated an extensive network of fans to request local screenings. BEYOND THE MASK has already surpassed the 146 opening-week screen count of “Girl Rising”—Gathr’s most successful film to date. BEYOND THE MASK fans have reportedly reserved more than 25,000 tickets.

A sample of reviews shows the appeal of BEYOND THE MASK:

“This is a turning point in Christian filmmaking. People are going to remember BEYOND THE MASK as a great movie, with a great story.”
Del Tackett—The Truth Project

“Finally, a Christian movie that remembers to be fun. Assassins, explosions, Ben Franklin and a modest love story. Not your typical Christian movie.”
Ken Morefield—Christianity Today

“Takes you on a wild ride with a driven cast to bring this story to life—complete with heroes, villains and a faithful twist. A definite must see for all!”
Jim Rankin—Cross Point Magazine

John Rhys-Davies in Beyond the MaskBEYOND THE MASK is a family-friendly swashbuckler of a tale complete with hero, heroine and dastardly villain, played by John Rhys-Davies known best for THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

The story? Will Reynolds, the leading mercenary for the British East India Company, has just been double-crossed and now is on the run in the American colonies. To redeem his name and win back the affections of the woman with whom he’s never been fully truthful, Will takes on a new mask to thwart his former employer. As his past closes in on him, Will must somehow gain the trust and the help of his beloved Charlotte—as well as Ben Franklin—racing against time to defuse a plot of historical proportions. The revolutionary BEYOND THE MASK brings history to life in a faith-filled adventure celebrating grace, liberty and the true freedom found only in Christ.

“BEYOND THE MASK is a groundbreaking, fast-paced action adventure with computer-generated images rivaling anything out of Hollywood,” Michael Foust of The Baptist Press said.

Producer Aaron Burns and his cousin, Director Chad Burns

Producer Aaron Burns and his cousin, Director Chad Burns, are from a family of home-schooled kids who made a family affair out of what typically takes a Hollywood army to accomplish—write, produce and distribute a big-screen film. After making their first film as a family/school project, their second—PENDRAGON—moved into the action-adventure landscape, won awards and played nationally.

Now they step it up with the crowd-driven, crowd-pleasing BEYOND THE MASK—staking out new territory for faith and family movies.

Christianity Today summed it up:

“A fun mash-up of NATIONAL TREASURE and ZORRO—with a Christian twist.”

BEYOND THE MASK is from Director Chad Burns and Producer Aaron Burns, with a script co-written by Stephen Kendrick (COURAGEOUS, FIREPROOF) and Paul McCusker (Adventures in Odyssey). It stars Andrew Cheney (SEASONS OF GRAY) and Kara Killmer (Chicago Fire) and John Rhys-Davies (RETURN TO THE HIDING PLACE, THE LORD OF THE RINGS).

BEYOND THE MASK debuts in theaters nationwide April 6, 2015.

Christian SpotlightIf you have viewed BEYOND THE MASK, please add your viewer comment on our Christian Spotlight page for the film.

About Burns Family Studios

Burns Family Studios happened when families with a passion for creative storytelling aimed to share the joy of Christ. Its first feature film, PENDRAGON: SWORD OF HIS FATHER, a historic epic, was set in the Dark Ages of Britain. Since its 2008 debut, PENDRAGON has been recognized at 15 film festivals, purchased by the world’s largest Christian TV network, distributed across North America and dubbed by foreign distributors into Spanish, German and Portuguese.




David and Goliath movie poster
“David and Goliath” opens in theaters in 25 U.S. cities April 3, 2015, and the director promises a different experience than with “Noah” and “Exodus.”

“I have a lot of respect for Ridley (Scott) and Darren (Aronosfky),” says director Tim Chey. “But they’re both avowed atheists. So you wonder what attracted them to do Bible movies in the first place.”

Chey emphatically states the film will put God first.

“God is in almost every scene,” he continues. “This is why the Hollywood studios passed when we screened it for executives. So many of them were put off that so much of the film was about God, front and center.”

In fact, one studio executive said, “You mention God in almost every scene.”

Pastors around the country support the film and several large churches are buying out tickets. The film is also being shown worldwide simultaneously in countries such as Canada, Norway, and the Philippines.

The film stars unknown actor Miles Sloman who beat out several thousand actors to get the part of David. And Jerry Sokolosky who is the tallest man in Canada at 7’8.

“David and Goliath” is considered one of the big three Bible movies hitting theaters after “Noah” and “Exodus: God’s and Kings.”

“David and Goliath” looks at one of the most powerful and beloved Bible stories of all time. The film will focus on the early life of David who fought against the Philistine giant, Goliath against all odds.

“David and Goliath” opens in theaters Friday, April 3, 2015.

Official site and Facebook page

See our previous article on this movie: “David and Goliath” drama premier

If you have viewed this film, please share your comments with our Christian Spotlight on the Movies readers.