Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

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

I’ve been busy since returning from the Variety Family and Faith-Friendly Summit in LA having meetings about an entertainment project of my own which I hope to tell you more about in due course. In the meantime, some headlines.

1. A faith-based Netflix. I’ve long called for something like this and, now, finally it’s here. From VarietyCinedigm is launching a direct-to-consumer subscription movie service on the Internet, in partnership with The Dove Foundation, which provides ratings for family-friendly and faith-based content. The Dove Movie Channel streaming service will feature selections from Cinedigm’s library of movies, as well as acquired content and original programming. All content released on the channel will meet the guidelines of the “Dove Seal” in order to be programmed on the service.
Note: Dove Foundation CEO Dick Rolfe told me something like this was in the offing at the Variety Summit but asked me to hold back on reporting it until it was officially announced. Now that it has been, my intent is to find out more and tell you all about it. They say politics (which, whether we like it or not) affects us all) is downstream of culture. I honestly think this is great development that could help change the entire media landscape for the better.

2. INSP honors the late Ralph Waite. This Sunday (6/22), INSP will celebrate the life and career of Ralph Waite what would have been his 86th birthday. The popular actor Best known, who died in February, is best known for his iconic role of John Walton, the father on The Waltons and, more recently, for playing Mark Harmon’s dad on NCIS. Fans of Days of Our Lives also know him for his portrayal of Father Matt from 2009 to 2013. The Waite tribute will air from 2:00 PM ET to 7:00 PM ET and will include four episodes of The Waltons (as well as a series reunion special). During that time frame (at 5:00 PM ET), the network will also air the character-driven 2013 short film Old Henry. Waite starred opposite Rachel Hendrix (October Baby) in the poignant drama about aging in America. Interspersed throughout the tribute will be portions from the INSP interstitial program Moments, in which the actor shares lessons he learned during his lifetime.

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3. Snubbed but not alone at the box office.  Alone Yet Not Alone, which garnered attention during the Academy Awards when its Best Original Song nomination was unceremoniously and controversially rescinded earlier this year (following a limited 2013 preview) had an impressive opening in theaters last weekend. The film opened at #3, based on per screen average for films released on 100+ screens, #8 overall in per screen average and #14 overall in the marketplace this Father’s Day weekend. Reaching $5,191 per screen, Alone Yet Not Alone is currently ranked as the #2 independently distributed film in the country, behind Chef.

Alone Yet Not Alone is based on the true story taken from the novel of the same name written by Tracy Leininger Craven that speaks of hope triumphing over despair, of faith overcoming fear and of victory prevailing over adversity. The film stars Kelly Greyson (Return To The Hiding Place)  with Jenn Gotzon (God’s Country, Frost Nixon) and actor/musical artist Clay Walker (Clay Walker: Jesse James). George Escobar and Ray Bengston co-directed James Richard’s screenplay while James Richards, Bud S. Smith and Ken Wales served as executive producers. Barbara Divisek, George Escobar, Michael Snyder and Cynthia Garcia Walker produced the movie.

Alone Yet Not Alone released through Seatzy (www.seatzy.com/alone), a movie ticket reservation platform and film distribution company. The film’s ticket pre-sales campaign through Seatzy, along with support from Christian radio and local churches and ministries, raised consumer awareness and helped advance sales in the opening markets. The movie continues to gain momentum with moviegoers and will roll out in additional cities this week. As I wrote in my review, Alone Yet Not Alone is Strongly Recommended.

And, once again, here is the beautiful song (performed by Joni Eareckson Tada) the Motion Picture Academy scratched from Oscar consideration for, IMHO, very dubious reasons.

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

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