Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

This just in. I found this message from Isaac Ryan Brown in my in-box yesterday. He’s the young actor featured in Believe, a small Christmas film that opened last week in just 638 theaters but managed to pull in nearly a half-million dollars at the box office along with some very positive audience reaction. It’s being held over in a number of theaters this weekend.

Cast: Ryan O’Quinn (Alias ), Issac Ryan Brown (Blackish), Shawnee Smith (Anger Management, Grace Unplugged), Danielle Nicolet (The Flash), David DeLuise (Wizards of Waverly Place, 3rd Rock from the Sun) and Kevin Sizemore (Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462, Woodlawn)
Written and directed by: Billy Dickson (One Tree Hill, Ally McBeal)

Synopsis: For years, the small town of Grundy, Va. has relied on the Peyton family to provide the highlight of the year—the annual Christmas pageant. When Matthew Peyton (Ryan O’Quinn) inherits the family business, the responsibility of the Christmas pageant also falls on his shoulders.  But as financial hardships fall on the town, Matthew finds himself overwhelmed. As his business profits plummet and his workers begin to strike, Matthew is forced to make a decision between selling the family business and cancelling the beloved pageant or sticking out hardships despite his rapidly declining popularity in the community.

Through chance events, Matthew meets Clarence (Issac Ryan Brown), a boy who believes in miracles, and his mother Sharon (Danielle Nicolet). His newfound friends impact Matthew’s life in a way he never thought possible and teach him to believe and give faith a chance.

Talking about the partnership’s premiere project, Smith Global Media owner Harry Smith says “I am delighted to team with Billy Dickson, Ryan O’Quinn, and the passionate team behind Believe…We are extremely excited to bring wholesome family entertainment appealing to every genre, to audiences everywhere, this holiday season.”

“I’m thrilled to be working with the Smith Global Media team to bring Believe to family audiences everywhere,” concurs Ryan O’Quinn, executive producer and star of the film. “With their proven track record in bringing the highest quality of films and entertainment around the globe, I couldn’t be more excited to partner with them and collaborate with a group of extremely talented filmmakers.  Being able to film in my hometown was the ultimate gift.”

John W. Kennedy is a writer/development consultant specializing in teleplays, screenplays and novelizations. He can be reached at john@jwkmedia.com.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Fighting the good fight. The rough-and-tumble world of mixed martial arts (MMA) serves as a metaphor for maintaining faith in The Fight Within which, after a theatrical run last summer, premieres on home entertainment platforms Dec. 6, 2016 via GVN Releasing and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Synopsis: Logan Chandler (John Major Davis), a rising star in the world of mixed martial arts, leaves the ring when his gym-owner father dies while training him. Logan falls in love with a young woman of deep faith (Symington), and he seeks to overcome his troubled past and build a new life. But his new chance at life is tested when a local MMA professional (Leddo)—whose only losing fight was to Logan—forces him back in the ring.

The film was written and produced by Jim Davis, an ordained minister and businessman. I recently aked him how the film came about.

JIM DAVIS: It was a God thing. I had been going to faith-based films that are really made to inspire and offer hope (through principles of) the Bible — much the way a church service is. There’s nothing wrong with that. We need that kind of stuff as an alternative to some of what we’re seeing today…I kept looking for films that would engage and share the Gospel (for those who don’t go to church).

So, I sat down and I wrote a story. I thought it was a good story and I expanded on it. I tried to find someone to write it (but I ended up) buying the software and translated my story into a script. I sent it out for people to analyze in LA and one of them called me and said “I’m not a believer but I think we could make a good movie”…So, I just took that as God’s hand. I’m not wealthy but God’s blessed my family. I brought my kids together and my wife and I asked them to pray about it. They read the script. We look at it as mission outreach.

He went on to tell me that he fully funded the making of the movie not with an eye toward making any sort of significant financial profit on it — realistically, he see’s little chance of that — but with a hope of touching lives via a story that he believes and hopes serves God’s purpose.

____

Three Wise Animals wins more praise. I recently praised the newly-released charming, faith-filled story by Robert G. Seal. I’m not alone. Check out this review by Joe Kral at Truth and Charity Forum.  BTW, Seal’s next step is to gather support for a feature film to be made from his book. IMHO, such a film has the potential to be an immediate Christmas classic.

John W. Kennedy is a writer/development consultant specializing in teleplays, screenplays and novelizations. He can be reached at john@jwkmedia.com.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Hacksaw Ridge open nationwide in theaters today (11/4).
Cast:
Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn, Rachel Griffiths, Hugo Weaving
Directed by: Mel Gibson
Written by: Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkken

ON Wednesday night, prior to a screening of the film, director Mel Gibson and the film’s co-screenwriter Robert Schenkken appeared together at New York’s Sheen Center for Thought & Culture for a Q&A conducted by the center’s film and TV director David DiCerto. The topic: The challenge of turning the incredible true story of Desmond T. Doss into a credible movie. Doss, in case you don’t already know, was a WWII Army medic who, as a Christian pacifist, refused to even touch a gun. Labeled by some as either crazy or a coward, he would go to save several soldiers’ lives during  the bloody Battle of Okinawa and to become America’s first conscientious objector to be awarded with a Medal of Honor.

Gibson said he wanted to the film to be both a tribute to Doss’ brave commitment to his faith and to the courage and dedication of all of America’s combat veterans (some of whom were in the audience).

From watching the film, I can tell you that, IMHO, he succeeded in that goal. Under Gibson’s masterful direction (whatever your opinion of him, the guy is a first-rate storyteller), former Amazing Spider-Man Andrew Garfield turns in a terrific performance as the amazingly humane Doss. The rest of the cast is also effective, especially Hugo Weaving as Doss’ alcoholic father and Vince Vaughn is but the tough-as-nails but, ultimately, Sgt. Howell. Teresa Palmer and Rachel Griffiths are also appealing as, respectively, the devoted women in Doss’ life, respectively his girlfriend (later his wife) and mother.

As for the script, it effectively and convincingly portrays Doss faith without coming off like a “faith film.” This is, indeed, a movie for anyone who likes good movies about interesting characters worth caring about.

The bottom line is that Hacksaw Ridge is awesome and highly-recommended.

John W. Kennedy is a writer/development consultant specializing in teleplays, screenplays and novelizations. He can be reached at john@jwkmedia.com.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Believe, due nationwide in theaters Dec. 2, 2016, is the debut theatrical release under a joint venture of Smith Global Media and Power of 3.

Cast: Ryan O’Quinn (Alias ), Issac Ryan Brown (Blackish), Shawnee Smith (Anger Management, Grace Unplugged), Danielle Nicolet (The Flash), David DeLuise (Wizards of Waverly Place, 3rd Rock from the Sun) and Kevin Sizemore (Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462, Woodlawn)
Written and directed by: Billy Dickson (One Tree Hill, Ally McBeal)

Synopsis: For years, the small town of Grundy, Va. has relied on the Peyton family to provide the highlight of the year—the annual Christmas pageant. When Matthew Peyton (Ryan O’Quinn) inherits the family business, the responsibility of the Christmas pageant also falls on his shoulders.  But as financial hardships fall on the town, Matthew finds himself overwhelmed. As his business profits plummet and his workers begin to strike, Matthew is forced to make a decision between selling the family business and cancelling the beloved pageant or sticking out hardships despite his rapidly declining popularity in the community.

Through chance events, Matthew meets Clarence (Issac Ryan Brown), a boy who believes in miracles, and his mother Sharon (Danielle Nicolet). His newfound friends impact Matthew’s life in a way he never thought possible and teach him to believe and give faith a chance.

Talking about the partnership’s premiere project, Smith Global Media owner Harry Smith says “I am delighted to team with Billy Dickson, Ryan O’Quinn, and the passionate team behind Believe…We are extremely excited to bring wholesome family entertainment appealing to every genre, to audiences everywhere, this holiday season.”

“I’m thrilled to be working with the Smith Global Media team to bring Believe to family audiences everywhere,” concurs Ryan O’Quinn, executive producer and star of the film. “With their proven track record in bringing the highest quality of films and entertainment around the globe, I couldn’t be more excited to partner with them and collaborate with a group of extremely talented filmmakers.  Being able to film in my hometown was the ultimate gift.”

John W. Kennedy is a writer/development consultant specializing in teleplays, screenplays and novelizations. He can be reached at john@jwkmedia.com.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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