Tired of mainstream entertainment driven by secular narratives and anti-Christian cultural messages, Christian filmmakers, screenwriters and producers are forging a film industry where stories of faith are portrayed on the big screen with a mission to “recapture the imagination of a generation with the Gospel.”
NRB members such as PureFlix, Salem Media Group, Educational Media Foundation and Angel Studios play a central and strategic role in the movement for family and faith-based entertainment.
A wholesome streaming service that offers thousands of movies and TV shows on demand, NRB member PureFlix is known for its “clean entertainment” and “feel-good movies”. Founded by Michael Scott, David AR White and Russell White, PureFlix Entertainment originally started as a small film studio behind box office hits such as “God’s Not Dead”, “The Case for Christ” and “Do You Believe?” and later launched its streaming platform in 2014. PureFlix Entertainment, currently known as Pinnacle Peak Pictures, has produced original films that have collectively grossed over $195 million at the box office worldwide. Pinnacle Peak Pictures is known for award-winning films such as “I’m Not Ashamed”, “Unplanned”, and even co-produced films such as “Redeeming Love”.
In alliance with their team of talk show hosts, Salem Media Group co-produced and promoted “Uncle Tom,” a documentary about black opinion leaders, and most recently served as executive producer of the decade’s most successful political documentary, “2000 Mules,” grossing $10 million. Both films feature commentary from Salem Radio Network hosts such as Dennis Prager, Charlie Kirk, Eric Metaxas and Larry Elder.
Faith-based films are not limited to dramas, romances and documentaries; just released in theaters, member of the NRB Educational Media Foundation K-LOVE Films produced, alongside Provident Films and Roadside Attractions, “Family Guy,” starring the Skit Guys, Tommy Woodard and Eddie James, taking a fresh spin on religious comedy.
“We believe humor helps break down barriers,” Woodard said in a statement. “With our first film, we hope families will not only laugh together, but also grow closer to each other and to God.”
NRB Member angel studios “The Chosen,” a multi-season series about the life of Jesus Christ and the largest crowd-funded media project in history, has been translated into 50 languages and counting and is hosted on VidAngel, the app of family streaming and original studio content. VidAngel’s “The Chosen” seasons are consistently ranked in the top 50 entertainment apps on iOS and Android. Dallas Jenkins, son of famed “Left Behind” author Jerry B. Jenkins, has directed and produced more than a dozen feature and short films for companies including Universal, Lionsgate, PureFlix, Hallmark Channel and Amazon.
“NRB is so encouraging for voices new and old,” Jenkins said in a statement. “They’ve been supporting The Chosen from the start.”
‘The Chosen’, one of the main sponsors of the 2021 NRB convention in Grapevine, Texas, featured items such as Peter’s boat and a campsite, and hosted a world premiere of Season 6 Episode 2 with over 1,300 participants in addition to a worldwide live audience. Today, “The Chosen” has been viewed over 300 million times to date. Other Angel Studios film projects include “Dry Bar Comedy,” the #1 billion-view family stand-up comedy channel a year, and “The Wingfeather Saga,” the animated show for world’s #1 crowd-funded kids.
Beyond the NRB community, Christian filmmakers continue to break down Hollywood barriers and capture today’s culture through stories of redemption.
ESPN cameramen turned filmmakers, Andrew and Jon Erwin, known as Erwin Brothers, are known for their movies “Woodlawn,” “October Baby,” “Moms’ Night Out,” and their award-winning 2018 musical biopic “I Can Only Imagine,” a box office hit that grossed over $83 million on a $7 million budget. After the independent success of the acclaimed directors, they have teamed up with their film collaborators Kevin Downes and Tony Young to announce the launch of Kingdom History Companyformerly known as Kingdom Studios, at the 2019 NRB convention in Anaheim, California, where six other major film screenings took place.
“We want to create experiences that you may not have to be a Christian to watch – but boy, do you want to be one when you go,” said Jon Erwin at the world premiere of “Kingdom is Coming” at NRB 2019. “We will tell stories that strategically draw people to the gospel, to what can change their lives. We’re not ashamed of it at all – we’re not going to water it down.
Shortly after a deal between Kingdom Story Company and Lionsgate Entertainment, “I Still Believe,” a romantic drama inspired by Grammy-winning artist Jeremy Camp’s marriage to his first wife, who died of cancer, was released. first release of Kingdom Story. The biopic was also the first faith-based feature to premiere nationwide in IMAX theaters.
The Erwin Brothers and Kingdom Story Company are currently filming “Jesus Revolution”, the story of a young Greg Laurie and the rise of the 1970s spiritual revival known as the Jesus Movement. The film is slated for release on Easter 2023.
From humble beginnings, Alex and Stephen Kendrick began their film journey by founding Sherwood Pictures, an independent production company that served as a ministry for a local church based in Albany, Georgia, where both brothers pastor. Despite their low production budgets and volunteer cast and crew, Sherwood Pictures released the films “Facing the Giants”, “Fireproof”, and “Courageous”, with each film recouping its budget dozens of times over. The duo then launched Kendrick Brothers Productions and later released their 2015 hit, “War Room”, which was filmed on a budget of $3 million. Released by Sony in just over 1,500 theaters, “War Room” grossed $27.9 million in just two weekends and went on to become a sleeper hit, grossing $74 million worldwide.
“We take some of this powerful message from Scripture and incorporate it into the script of our films,” Stephen Kendrick said in a statement. “We don’t need to win an Oscar. We are greatly rewarded to learn that people’s lives are blessed and changed by our films.
Brothers Kendrick and Kirk Cameron have reunited in 2022 after 15 years to begin filming the upcoming ‘Lifemark’, a true story highlighting the ‘beauty of adoption’.
Finally, a sequel to one of the most impactful and historic films of the 2000s, Mel Gibson’s 2004 “The Passion of the Christ,” is currently in development, although no release date for “The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection” has been confirmed. .
Film is a timeless and dynamic medium where believing creators and producers advance excellence in Christian communications. NRB is proud to partner with these creators through active memberships and collaborations at the annual NRB Christian Media Convention. We salute the diligence and perseverance of these filmmakers in influencing and impacting Hollywood, and we look forward to supporting and mobilizing those creating spaces of hope in the entertainment industry.