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Taking Jesus to the Movies: The Rise of Indie Christian Films


When we see the elaborate production of mainstream movies which are then marketed and sold to the masses, it’s easy to assume that whatever is playing at our local theaters represents the full spectrum of films available to us, but not so.

Increasingly, Christians are being given more options with the rise of indie Christian films. Though by no means on par with the budgets and reach potential of corporately-backed movies, make no mistake. Independent faith-based films are making a strong impact and will continue to do so as unrest with lack of, and demand for better entertainment options, grows within the Christian community

A great example of the increasing viability of the indie Christian films is Detrick Haddon’s successful 2010 release of “Blessed & Cursed,” that aired on The GMC Channel and Showtime.

Then in early May of this year, Tyscot/Manhaddon Films and Releve Entertainment launched Haddon’s second major film role with the release of the movie, “A Beautiful Soul.” Initially, it opened in select AMC Theater markets such as Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago , New York City and Haddon’s native Detroit for a weeklong engagement. But according to Haddon’s reps, the film was extended for a second week due to huge public demand to see the film.

Even Bishop T.D. Jakes’ latest indie release in partnership with Codeblack Entertainment, “Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day,” fared quite well.

On the film’s limited release opening weekend, according to the LA Times, it performed even better than expected. Playing in 102 theaters, “Woman Thou Art Loosed” grossed an estimated $650,319, or $6,376 per screen. That’s more than the runaway hit “The Hunger Games” generated per screen in its fourth weekend in wide release in 3,916 locations and better than any other film tracked last weekend by

That’s a positive sign.

But the criticism levied against the Christian community is that, among audiences of faith, complaints abound, but support for positive efforts frequently lags. Actually paying money to see the movies that are being released is vital for the faith-based film industry—whether released independently or commercially—to steadily grow and consistently thrive.

In an interview with Fox News last summer, Tirrell Whittley, who heads Liquid Soul Media, which has won awards for its grassroots approach to marketing movies, said, "We have to show up and make sure that our dollars speak and say that these films are important. There's a lot of tracking and analysis done against these sales to determine what consumers want."

Producer Stephanie Frederic, whose company shoots behind-the-scene footage for movies, in the same Fox News interview said, in Hollywood, "It's business."

Nothing more, nothing less.

"People think Hollywood is all these anti-Christians," said Frederic, "No, Hollywood is just pro money. It's that simple."

Repeatedly, experts say, money talks. So if we as Christians want to see better entertainment, if we don’t spend dollars, complaining doesn’t make sense.

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