New Model Christian Movie Making

12 05 2008

Last night I was privileged to watch the first pre-release screening of Fireproof, which is the 3rd movie from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA. While I’m not going to review the film at this time, I will say that it was great; funny and engaging. I really enjoyed it.

I was reminded of how Christians used to make movies, and the dismal failures they were. I can remember watching movies on film at church camp. One of my favorites was called “SuperChristian” which had a good message, but was just about as cheesy as you could get. Who could forget the Thief in the Night series? Great concepts but really lacking in funding to pull off a story like that.

The old Christian Movie Making Model consisted of someone having an idea, going out to raise funding, making the movie, and then dumping it to whatever little release they could, and taking their new idea back to the donors for more money. “What a success our last movie was, give us more money to make another one!”

I think that is one of the reasons that Christian film has been ignored by mainstream media. It is a foreign concept to think that anyone would sink money into a film with no hope of getting it seen, and no possibility of recouping the cost of the film production. The few Christian films that made it into theaters were not successful at all, by their standards. It’s great that a few people saw The Judas Project, The Omega Code, and Tribulation Force, but they were far from Hollywood successes.

But, this model is changing, and it is changing how people look at Christian film. While Mel Gibson was working on The Passion of Christ and getting ready to blow open the path for Christian film in Hollywood with it’s 2004 release, Sherwood Baptist Church raised $20k and made their first movie, Flywheel in 2003. It’s not the greatest movie ever made. It’s obvious they didn’t have a big budget. They tell a good story as best they can within their budget. As a result, the story is compelling enough to help you forget the acting and lighting. So compelling that it ended up being carried by Blockbuster across the country. I rented it while in NC.

The church made $100k from Flywheel. They took that money and spent between $80k and $100k on Facing the Giants. They hooked up with David Nixon Productions, and made a better film with another compelling story. That movie got picked up by Sony Pictures (via Provident Films). Last number I heard was that it made a little over $30 Million in tickets and sales. Sherwood did not get all that money by any means, but they did take $2 Million and use it to make Fireproof, which is due out in September.

Fireproof is a better movie. It actually has special effects, and paid actors, which help to tell another compelling story. I predict that it will do as good or better than Facing the Giants. I also predict that the money made from this film will be put back into another film, and the new model will continue, and many more people will see really good, compelling Christian stories.

Now, if we can just get more people to adopt this model.




One response

24 05 2008

Hi there,

My name is Monique & I’m part of the PR team for Sherwood Pictures–creators of FACING THE GIANTS.
Thank you so much for supporting the movie on your blog! We wanted to keep you informed of their latest project–FIREPROOF.
It’s due to hit theaters this September in theaters nationwide. You can go to to view the trailer, read the synopsis, and sign up for updates to stay up to date with all of the FIREPROOF happenings! If you’re interested in learning more or need any resource, pictures, and downloads for your blog please email me at and I will be happy to get you what you need.

Again, thanks for blogging!
Lovell-Fairchild Communications

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