ORLANDO, Fla. (NRB) – The screening of several new faith-based movies and sessions about the challenges of Christians living out their faith in the entertainment industry were highlighted at Proclaim 17, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Orlando.
The Convention started on Monday, February 27, with a special session featuring Sean Hannity, host of Fox News Channel’s Hannity. He discussed Let There Be Light, a faith-based feature film to be released later this year that he financed as Executive Producer.
Speaking the morning after the Oscars, which he called a “Trump-bashing festival,” Hannity said Christians “need to become the media, and they need to build a new Hollywood that caters to the values of the American people that will inform, enlighten, and entertain us.
“We have a divide. We have Hollywood over here with their values that seems to have contempt for [Christian] values. We’ve got a huge cultural divide,” Hannity continued.
“We can do a better job of not impugning the values of Americans that love God, have faith, and love their country.”
The stars of Let There Be Light, Kevin and Sam Sorbo, participated in two sessions at the four-day Convention.
During “How to Make a Faith-Based Movie and Do So in a Truly God-Honoring Way” on February 28, the Sorbos talked about the challenges of being a Christian in Hollywood.
Kevin Sorbo, who was known for playing the lead role in the television series Hercules before starring in the hit faith-based film God’s Not Dead in 2014, shared about his experience in the movie Soul Surfer, saying that references to Jesus and prayer were cut out of the film. “Just saying ‘Jesus’ in a movie is a battle within Hollywood,” he said.
He shared about being stopped in an airport by a former Muslim, who told him that she came to faith in Christ after seeing God’s Not Dead.
“It’s up to [Christians] to really help support these movies because it is called ‘show business’ after all,” Sorbo said, “and if they stop making money they’re going to stop making the movies.”
Sam Sorbo said her favorite line in Let There Be Light, which she wrote, is “to beat an ideology of evil, you need an ideology of good.”
Let There Be Light was screened at the Convention after the Public Worship Service on March 1.
The Sorbos also spoke on “Politics in Hollywood” on March 2 in a session moderated by Todd Starnes of Fox News.
Before the screening of The Case for Christ, based on the best-selling book by Lee Strobel, on Tuesday night, February 28, Strobel, his wife, Leslie, screenwriter Brian Bird, and Pure Flix CEO Michael Scott urged those in attendance to help get the word out about the movie, especially on opening weekend (April 7).
“It’s so important for these movies if they’re going to expand and get bigger and grow throughout the U.S. and Canada and other parts of the world, it’s all about that opening weekend,” Scott said.
Mully, a film based on the true story of Charles Mully, a rags-to-riches entrepreneur who radically changes his value set to help Kenya's orphaned children, was screened at the Convention on February 27 and March 2.
“My mission was to … honor this man’s lifework and this woman’s lifework because that can really make an impact in the world, from everything they’re doing,” said director Scott Haze after the first screening.
Because of Grácia, the story of four teenage seniors in their final year of high school and the life-altering decisions that they have to make, was screened on February 28.
“The film really deals with 'How do Christians deal with this secular institution that’s always coming up against their faith and their values?'” explained director and writer Tom Simes.
During the Convention’s opening session the evening of February 27, Franklin Graham gave a video message about the Samaritan’s Purse film Facing Darkness, the true story of two American aid workers who were in West Africa fighting the surge of the killer Ebola virus when they caught the disease themselves.
“It’s a story of bravery, compassion, and it’s a story of faith,” said Graham, President & CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and Executive Producer of Facing Darkness, which will show in theaters one night only on March 30. “It’s a testimony of God’s faithfulness in saving the lives of Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol. It’s the story of a Good Samaritan set upon the backdrop of this terrible epidemic.”
Finally, Convention attendees were able to see portions of a new virtual reality film about the life of Christ called Jesus VR, which was produced by Enzo Sisti, who was Executive Producer of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.
“This is the first virtual reality movie, period,” said Paul Lauer, Founder and CEO of Motive Entertainment, which is promoting Jesus VR.
“How great is it that on the leading edge of this new technology we have a movie on the life of Jesus Christ?”
Jesus VR will be available on all major mobile and premium virtual reality platforms this Easter.
By Michael Smith
Published: March 9, 2017