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Hollywood Eyes Making Faith Movies

by | Thu, Feb 15 2024

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In a sign of Hollywood’s growing interest in investing in faith-based movies and series, entertainment magazine Variety has hosted its first Spirituality and Faith in Entertainment Breakfast. The invite-only event put a  spotlight on the opportunity for featuring religion and faith in entertainment and media through a non-denominational lens.

Following last year’s huge success of faith-based movies like Sound of Freedom and Jesus Revolution and the hugely popular series The Chosen, the event aimed to take a fresh look at consumer attitudes, market opportunities and breakthrough storytelling of faith stories.

It heard about the findings of recent research from the largest ever global faith and entertainment study. Brooke Zaugg, executive director of the Faith & Media Initiative (FAMI) summarised those findings: “There is an untapped market in entertainment media. Across the globe, consumers are looking for more accurate portrayals of faith and spirituality. This isn’t about creating faith content, but rather about adding faith fluency and diverse storylines in TV and movies.”

She observed:: “It’s not just good business, but also a priceless opportunity to create empathy and understanding. We’re thrilled to hear from diverse industry voices coming together to share how to do this in an artful, authentic, and entertaining way.”

Variety has always championed inclusive storytelling. It’s exciting for us to take a look at movies and television shows that inspire audiences and leave them feeling good.” said Dea Lawrence, chief operating and marketing officer at Variety.

One of the speakers at the event was two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank who stars in Ordinary Angels which is due to premiere in US cinemas next week. The film claims to be inspired by the “incredible true story of a twice-divorced and struggling Christian hair stylist who single-handedly rallies an entire community to help a widowed father save the life of his critically ill young daughter” who needs a liver transplant to survive.

It’s described as a modern Good Samaritan story from the makers of Jesus Revolution. The Academy Award winner plays Sharon Stevens Evans who saw a newspaper article about the widower and his critically ill daughters who lost their wife/mum to a respiratory illness, and then felt God call her to help them.

Hilary Swank told the Variety event that faith themes have the potential to unite audiences, foster empathy, and inspire hope in even the darkest of times.