If you think Hollywood is just a den of iniquity, these films may change your mind.
For those who think contemporary movies are mostly made up of unnecessary sex and violence, "Hollywood" has become a code word for all that is wrong with contemporary American culture: loose morals, sexual impropriety, and the imposing of elitist values on an unwanting populace. So it may come as a surprise to many people that not only is there a significant presence of faithful Christians in the film industry, but that they are proud of their work and looking to clear up some misconceptions about what they do.
Barbara Nicolosi and Spencer Lewerenz, the executive and associate directors, respectively, of Act One, a training program for Christian screenwriters and executives, have edited a new book of essays by Christians in Hollywood, "Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith, Film, and Culture," and it may serve as something of a wake-up call to those who see Hollywood as Satan's backyard. These believers mourn the lack of awareness of the divine among so many of their colleagues, but do not view themselves as infiltrators into a debauched world, dedicating their lives to smuggling God into an atheistic culture. As each of the writers in "Behind the Screen" individually reflect on their careers, or the role of faith in film, they speak in unison about one thing: the only way for issues of faith to make their way into Hollywood films is for more people of faith to work there.
While "Behind the Screen" marks a call for Christians to take a step toward embracing Hollywood, Hollywood is doing its utmost to embrace Christians. Having discovered an enormous, previously unnoticed audience for Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," the film industry has begun to reach out to Christian audiences, in the hopes of attracting them to faith-friendly films. This has taken some odd turns, as when Columbia Pictures made a big push among religious audiences and church groups for last year's "Christmas With the Kranks," a slapstick holiday comedy starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis whose main religious selling point seemed to be that it took place on a Christian holiday.
Having grown more sophisticated in their marketing to Christian audiences (or maybe just having better films to work with), major studios are making a big push this holiday season and onward for religious moviegoers to embrace their films. This trend is visible on television as well, with the recent success of NBC's miniseries "Revelations," and upcoming programs like "The Ten Commandments."