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

TV: The Holderness Family airs on UP TV tomorrow night (Thursday, 3/26) @ 10:00 PM (ET).

Synopsis: Billed as the “first family of viral video,” The Holderness Family is a reality show that follows the eponymous husband-and-wife filmmakers Penn and Kim as they go about their everyday lives in Raleigh, North Carolina while producing musical parodies with titles like Xmas Jammies and their recent Super Bowl anthem It’s Sunday Night. The videos often involve their two kids (eight-year-old Lola and five-year-old Penn Charles) who certainly seem to be enjoying the process. 

The family’s online videos have been viewed by about 33 million people to date and have been featured across diverse platforms, including Today,, USA Today and US Weekly. They’ve even been parodied on SNL. The series will premiere with back-to-back episodes following the special one-hour season finale of Bringing Up Bates which is UP’s highest-rated series ever. The show is produced by Figure 8 Films (which also produces Bates and TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting) and Greenroom Communications which is the Holderness’ literally in-house production company with commercial clients that include Hidden Valley Ranch, Weight Watchers, the children’s clothing store Chasing Fireflies and Hasbro’s Monopoly.

Mini-Review: There’s no doubt that Penn, Kim and their kids have great chemistry and seem to genuinely have fun doing the program and their show may very well be a success for UP. After all, how can you go wrong with funny videos featuring kids?  And, I must say, their music has catchy tunes and witty lyrics. The back-and-forth between Penn and Kim is also often quite clever. While some of the some of the relentless aren’t-we-having-fun? banter can seem a little forced, if you like happy family reality shows you may very well enjoy this one.  The bottom line is that The Holderness Family is probably a good business and programming gambit by UP. My only question is why is such a family-friendly show is airing at 10:00 PM?

Theaters: Brother’s Keeper opens nationwide on May 29th.

Synopsis: Brother’s Keeper follows the story of two orphaned identical twins, Pete and Andy.  As their high school graduation nears, Pete plans to marry Maggie, the love of his life, and head off to school to become a preacher. Andy, who wants nothing to do with God, has no plans, no direction and seemingly no future. In a cruel twist of fate—orchestrated by a rival for Maggie’s heart—Pete finds himself locked away in prison on trumped-up charges. The brothers must decide if they will seek vengeance on those whose corruption and deceit have taken that freedom away.
While revenge may seem sweet, Brother’s Keeper codirector Josh Mills sees the story  as a powerful reminder that only forgiveness can truly heal. He says “The film addresses multiple themes and shows the raw emotion of how truly difficult it is to forgive in extreme circumstances, It captivates the audience into feeling both deep-seeded anger and compassion for the characters…This film will surprise audiences, forcing them to reevaluate what is most important in their own lives.” He adds “The movie grapples with several themes throughout the story, including: reconciliation, second chances, salvation, forgiveness and sacrifice.”

Brother’s Keeper
is a Desert Wind Films production.  Executive Producer Steven Camp helped to secure the rights to The Gift & Giver, the original story that inspired the film.  The movie is directed by Josh Mills and TJ Amato and stars Alex and Graham Miller, Daniel Samonas (iCarly, Wizards of Waverly Place), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy) MacKenzie Mauzy (Into the Woods),  Ray Wise (How I Met Your Mother), W. Earl Brown (True Detective), Noell Coet, Robyn Lively and country music artist Travis Tritt.
Brother’s Keeper will be released through the movie ticket reservation platform and film distribution company SEATZY which allows moviegoers to participate in the process of supporting the films getting ticket reservations in early and assuring the film will play in the theater closest to them. It also allows moviegoers all across the country the opportunity to bring the movie to their city if the movie is not playing nearby.

In the fall of 2013, the film was shown at eleven select locations as part of a “sneak peek” week long release. With sold out showings, Brother’s Keeper boasted a successful opening weekend at the box office averaging over $11,000 per screen (including SEATZY presales), beating out national films including Ender’s Game, About Time, Last Vegas and Free Birds.

Theaters: War Room opens nationwide in theaters August 28.

Synopsis: From the award-winning creators of Fireproof and Courageous comes War Room, a film drama that explores the  power that prayer can have on marriages, parenting, careers, friendships and every area of our lives.

Tony and Elizabeth Jordan have it all—great jobs, a beautiful daughter, and their dream  house. But appearances can be deceiving. Tony and Elizabeth Jordan’s world  is actually crumbling under the strain of a failing marriage. While Tony basks in his    professional success and flirts with temptation, Elizabeth resigns herself to increasing  bitterness. But their lives take an unexpected turn when Elizabeth meets her newest  client, Miss Clara, and is challenged to establish a “war room” and a battle plan of  prayer for her family. As Elizabeth tries to fight for her family, Tony’s hidden struggles  come to light. Tony must decide if he will make amends to his family and prove Miss  Clara’s wisdom that victories don’t come by accident.

Writer-director Alex Kendrick (who also acts in the movie) says “We made this film to inspire, challenge and motivate viewers to fight the right kind of battles and to fight them the best way.”

Others in the cast include T.C. Stallings (Courageous), comedian Michael Jr., Karen Abercrombie,  Alena Pitts and New York Times bestselling author and Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer in her film debut. Christian speaker Beth Moore has a cameo role.  her first acting role. War Room is directed by Alex Kendrick and produced by his brother Stephen Kendrick and Gary Wheeler.  The Kendrick brothers also co-wrote the script. AFFIRM Films and Provident Films partnered with the Kendricks on the film which was  filmed in and around Charlotte, N.C.

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

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