Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 07/30/21 Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ambitious animated family-friendly musical Vivo releases globally on Netflix next Friday (8/6). My review follows the synopsis and trailer below. Synopsis: Vivo, a one-of-kind kinkajou (aka a rainforest “honey bear,” voiced by Miranda), spends his days playing music to the crowds […]
Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.
On a Mission of Love. Mission Pictures International President Chevonne O’Shaughnessy tells me that MPI has inked a deal with Guideposts to develop and produce a set of seven TV movies based on the popular Love Finds You book series.
The Love Finds You books, published by Guideposts imprint Summerside, and launched in 2008 with the goal of creating romantic and inspiring historic or contemporary sagas that take place in specific American locales. The plot details of each story remain as faithful as possible to the town’s history, geography, and atmosphere. The ambition from the start has been to set at least one novel in each of the fifty states.
O’Shaughnessy says she and her partners were first introduced to the Love Finds You books when a member of an association of Christian book sellers said that his daughter was a big fan of the series and noted that the books are very popular in Christian book stores. As a result of that conversation, she decided to read a few of them herself. She found the stories to be not only empowering for women — but also, importantly, containing universal themes that are marketable internationally.
She says that while the books do involve romantic girl-meets-boy they are not just about that. The heroine of a Love Finds You story, she explains, will first learn to love herself for who she is. The stories also deal her love of family and community.
The films, still being cast, will feature very recognizable TV stars, are being shopped to U.S. and European TV networks. Mission Pictures owners Cindy Bond and Chevonne O’Shaugnessy serve as the films’ executive producers.
The first seven titles to be produced include:
Actress Emily Van Arsdale has returned to her Idaho hometown – with an entire film crew in tow! With its stunning scenery and reputation for hosting celebrities, Sun Valley is the perfect setting for Emily’s newest romantic comedy. Tracen Lake is happy to work as a stunt consultant for the movie but not as thrilled to deal with a bunch of high-maintenance Hollywood types. But Tracen is surprised to discover in Emily a down-to-earth Idaho girl who does all her own stunts and loves the outdoors. As filming wraps up and Emily heads off to her next gig, will she be able to leave Sun Valley – and Tracen – behind?
Hope Bartolli has avoided Sisters for years—both her hometown of Sisters, Oregon and her two sisters who live there. But when the 32-year-old corporate lawyer returns home to attend her beloved grandmother’s funeral, she’s surprised to learn that she has inherited Nana’s old house, her little dog Andy and an unexpected friendship with Nana’s attorney, Lewis. If she had any hopes of burying the hatchet with her sisters, these “gifts” from Nana aren’t going to help. But the more Hope is reacquainted with old friends and the charming town she once loved, the harder she realizes it will be to return to her fast-paced city routine. She wants more out of life—but is she willing to take the risks to get it? And can she trust her family to stand by her side?
This book actually contains two separate stories, one historical, one contemporary.
The historical one, subtitled An Appalachian Christmas is about a promise Julia Mayfield makes to her dying sister — compelling her to take her young nephew to Mistletoe, Kentucky, a tiny town tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains. Sparks fly when she meets David Armstrong, a World War II veteran like herself. Even as shadows from the past weave a dangerous web around Julia and David, will their love flourish like the mistletoe that blankets the nearby hills?
The contemporary story is subtitled Once Upon a Christmas Eve. In this one, Hollie Goodnight’s store has just been voted best Christmas shop in America. All the new publicity draws flamboyant novelist Van Keaton to the cozy town of Noel, Missouri, demanding to write Hollie’s story – a dramatic tale of misfortune and triumph. She is swept up in his world of beautiful words and fanciful interludes. . .until Owen Quigly, her lifelong best friend, launches a plan to win her back.
Annie Gray has an epiphany: she is not living the life she’s always dreamed of. She decides to start fresh, drawing inspiration from her favorite classic Hollywood films. First, Annie moves into the picturesque Carmel bungalow belonging to her grandmother – a retired film star. Next up: landing an exciting job as a private investigator’s assistant. But Annie’s new boss is no Humphrey Bogart, and the work isn’t quite what she pictured. Just when everything in Annie’s screen-worthy plan teeters on the brink of disaster, she has another epiphany. Will this one land her in the arms of her own leading man?
Emma Miller appears to be the most blessed girl in Indiana. She teaches school, enjoys the attention of a wonderful man and has a loving family. But this Amish girl has more on her mind than buggies and bonnets; she longs for adventure and wants to see the world. So when her sister Abby convinces her to spend the summer with relatives in Charm, Ohio, Emma jumps at the chance. In Charm, she meets an Englisher who has come to town to escape her chaotic life and despite their differences, the two become fast friends. Emma finds herself pulled between two worlds and her ultimate decision will impact not only herself but everyone she knows.
“Anything can happen when you live in Miracle…” After her life in Chicago falls apart, Meg Jorgenson arrives in the small town of Miracle, Kentucky, with plans to start over. She moves in with a grandmother she barely knows and takes a teaching position at the local elementary school. Meg soon garners the interest of Miracle’s eligible bachelors, but it’s eight-year-old Cammy Bayer who instantly wins her heart. Cammy has spent most of her young life in a wheelchair, but she firmly believes that God will miraculously allow her to walk again someday. Although Meg admires the girl’s optimism, she pities Cammy for believing something so impossible.
Vance Bayer has always made Cammy his first priority. Though delighted by the attention his daughter receives from her pretty new teacher, the shy widower is embarrassed by Cammy’s not-so-subtle attempts to play matchmaker.
Both Meg and Vance want the best for Cammy, but will they see eye-to-eye when it comes to an experimental surgery that might grant Cammy the use of her legs? Will they open their minds to the miracle of healing and their hearts to the miracle of love?
Trudie Abernathy is a little inelegant and she’s never had much luck in love. To make matters worse, her thirtieth birthday is fast approaching and her sister, Lane, has decided to “treat” her to a makeover and a few blind dates. Trudie is about to protest, but then she meets the kind and handsome Mason Williamson.
In spite of her humble manner, Mason finds her attractive, funny and smart. But Lane inexplicably pushes Trudie away from Mason and toward the other willing suitors.
The makeover has transformed Trudie from ordinary into stunning but she isn’t sure how she feels about all the attention from men. Can Trudie stay true to her humble self and find her heart’s desire in the process?
(Note: This article has been edited slightly since its original posting.)
Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11