Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

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

Little Boy/big hit? Time will tell. The film, from executive producers Roma Downey & Mark Burnett, is set to premiere in theaters on February 27th. The couple are probably the hottest faith-themed producers on the scene today with the success of The Bible on TV and its theatrical followup Son of God and the anticipation for their upcoming upcoming NBC event series A.D., CBS miniseries The Dovekeepers and big screen remake of Ben-Hur.  This trailer gives me optimism that the couple may just have another breakout success on their their hands. 

Little Boy tells the inspiring story of a seven-year-old boy who, though small for his age, has big faith and big love for his father who is away fighting World War II.  The film’s impressive all-star cast includes  Emily Watson, Michael Rapaport Tom Wilkinson, Kevin James, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, David Henrie, Eduardo Verastegui, Ben Chaplin and Tom Wilkinson. Newcomer Jakob Salvati plays the title role. Alejandro Monteverde (Bella) directs from a script he wrote with Pepe Portillo.
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Odyssey Networks  awarded $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment. The cash gift will be used to expand On Scripture – The Bible which brings Scripture to life by linking the weekly reading from the Christian Revised Common Lectionary with a short video based on a news story, along with a commentary by one of America’s leading bible scholars drawn from a roster representing fifteen denominations. The project was launched in 2011 as a preaching tool to help America’s clergy interpret current events through the enduring lens of Scripture. On Scripture – The Bible has grown into a popular resource now being used by lay leaders, congregations and seminarians, as well.

The $1.25 million Lilly Endowment grant guarantees more than 150 new videos and commentaries over the next three years. In addition, it will help make On Scripture – The Bible easier to use through improved search capabilities and access via a new dedicated responsive-design website.  With a launch date in 2015, the  site will feature state-of-the-art search functionality, including a “Smart Bible Resource Library,” a database of more than 200 videos and text commentaries already available. New ones will be added weekly. In addition to the new website and resource library, the Endowment funds will help support a new initiative integrating the voices of mainstream religion into pubic discussion around the topics explored in Odyssey’s award-winning, feature-length documentaries, through community-based viewings and dialogues.

Talking about the gift, Odyssey CEO Nick Stuart says “We are extremely grateful to Lilly Endowment for helping us bring alive the power and relevancy of Scripture…The Endowment’s original grant of $750,000 in 2011 helped us start the project and this latest grant of $1.25 million will help us build. We want to help America’s faith communities find more and more ways to use the video/text / commentary combination at the heart of On Scripture – the Bible.

ON Scripture – The Bible currently reaches more than half a million viewers via various online platforms.

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

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