Christian Media

The Inside Story about Fox Faith

I had lunch yesterday at 20th Century Fox with Simon Swart, General Manager of Fox Home Entertainment, and Ralph Winter, Fox Producer of films like X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Planet of the Apes. I wanted to talk with Simon about some of the misconceptions about “Fox Faith,” and see if I could get beyond the hype to the real story of what the vision might be for the label.

Simon has been a real leader in making the major movie studios aware of the need for product that would reach a faith based audience, and “Fox Faith” is actually the culmination of years of working toward that goal. Now, it’s proven so successful, that most other major studios in town are scrambling to get into that market as well.

Nevertheless, Simon emphasized that Fox Faith is just at “step one” in the process. They’ve proven that DVD releases into the religious market can be profitable. Simon should know, because his team has engineered the DVD releases for projects as diverse as “The Passion of the Christ” all the way to “The Last Sin Eater.”

Simon wanted to make sure our readers were clear on a number of things:

1. Fox Faith is a home entertainment company. It’s designed to offer distribution to movies already in the pipeline. It’s not a studio, and doesn’t fund the production of movies. Its purpose is to design and create the home entertainment strategy for distribution – not theatrical distribution.

2. The projects have to be good. He’s not interested in taking just any faith based project. The film has to be a good story, have solid production values, and regardless of it’s faith content – it has to be a good movie.

3. For Christian producers, Simon and Ralph both agreed, that it’s essential to have a distribution plan. One of the biggest mistakes most Christian producers make is to raise money, produce a movie, and have no solid distribution plan in place. That’s horrible stewardship, and cheats your investors and audience as well. It’s never too early to think about distribution – either theatrical, TV, or home video.

4. When does Simon want to see your project for consideration? Once the film is finished. Don’t hit him up for funding, TV release, or theatrical.

We also discussed something Ralph and I have been concerned about for a long time. That in the studios desire to “cash in” on this perceived business market, they’ll pick up a lot of junk. We all know sincere but inept Christian producers out there that can’t tell a good story, have no idea of production values, and generally mean well, but produce really terrible stuff. We’re worried that after picking up a few of those projects that bomb in distribution, the studios will step back and think it was a mistake to enter that market.

So we all agreed that if you’re a producer out there, make sure you’re telling a great story, have the highest production values you can possibly afford, get great actors, and know your audience. This is a remarkable window for faith based producers, so let’s make the most of it.

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4 Comments

  1. Great, the world wants to be our friend, sees value in stories that touch spiritual issues. Yippee. I’m glad. But it also causes me to ask, why are the hours and hours of Christian broadcast time, that God helped well meaning people get a hold of, being so unskillfully used?

    Yeah, I know TV is expensive and to keep up with new technology is an almost impossible challenge. And I know the funding model for Christian TV collapsed, (thanks impart to the moral failure and egos run amuck of its leadership.) But honestly, how many times a day do we want to watch our favorite speaker preach a day?

    The christian networks are all running the same programming…including tired old movies and TV series or infomercials…or…stuff we have no interest in watching. The preachers are okay, maybe on Sunday morning, but let’s get real; few of us Christian watch them…ever.

    Personally on Sunday's I like CBS Sunday Morning. It’s one of my favorite shows on television. I flip back and forth between A&E Breakfast w/ the Arts, a show that has some interesting stuff. But wouldn’t it be fantastic to hear interviews and see features with Eugene Peterson http://www.eugenepetersononline.com/ and Donald Miller http://www.donaldmillerwords.com/ and some of the people featured in magazines like http://www.relevantmagazine.com/I WOULD WATCH (or produce this) I PROMISE!

    I have said to TV network executives, the remote control is the great equalizer. If BRAVO and TLC can do it, so can you. I get stares back. Too many are so entrenched in what ‘God has told them to do,’ frankly they don't care about attracting new viewers to the heart of God. Their main concern is not offending their small base of donors. Too many don’t listen to the hearts of their employees, the faithful teams of people, who’ve served and hold dreams of creative projects in their hearts. Too many times it’s about them. It’s about what they want to do.

    What happen to the teaching so many embraced of Henry Blackaby in his Experiencing God http://www.blackaby.org/ bible study; the idea that God brings people together and they need to be in agreement? But the leadership refuses to let go of control and now the world sees a great opportunity and they are wisely stepping in to reach a valuable market of people, people who are lovers of God.

    I give…I yield…I let go and follow God in whatever he wants to do. However he wants to do it.

    from nancy, the producer of NRB talk show of the year 2005. http://nangirl.blogspot.com

  2. Wouldn't it make sense that if they produced more broad appeal shows they would attract more broad funding. Who cares if you lose a few donors if you gain 10x more by doing something people want to see..i gues there is the risk that the viewers wouldn't support it via donations-and they probably wouldn't. So back to the funding model again.

  3. I think we need to stop cordoning ourselves off to one lonely little Christian corner and begin to infiltrate the general media. it may mean moving more slowly to deliver the message. taking the time to build trust so that we like Daniel at the end of the day illustrate through our lives that our God is mighty, causing the king to decree that everyone should worship Daniels’ God. Creflo Dollar told me that one day in prayer he asked God who had the largest ministry and God told him Oprah Winfrey. Why? is that? Because she is addressing issues that matter to people.Whether the answers she offers ine up scriputrally or not is irrelevant, the crucial factor is she is striking where most people are really living, while those who align themselves with God are not offering practical answers to the issues people are struggling with. We (Christians) have babysat one another long enough and forgotten the original call to go to the highway and the byways, the dangerous places, hostile environments to spread the good news. Not the judgement but the good news! Even Jesus deleted the judgement phrase from his address in the temple when he repeated the prophecy of Isaiah. he dropped out the parts it wasnt’ time for them the handle and opted to give them the good news to cause them to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Enough already with migrating to one corner. let’s strategically spread this out network by network until light is infiltrating every dark place. As people migrate to the light showing a demand for it there add more light until it overtakes the darkness. i repeat he who wins souls is wise. I am not interested in babysitting fat christians any longer if they don’t have it by now I don’t know when they will but those of us who can intelligently express God’s goodness need to get out there and do so and start making God look good.We definitely need to stop  
    treating this thing we call salvation as if its some exclusive club  
    and reissue
    an open invitation that is inviting to the world– hey we’re throwing  
    a party that everyone should want to come to there are party favors here
    that you are going to want. things that lead to life, love and  
    fulfilment and yeah and eternal life too. lets face it we’re all  
    bogged down in our flesh
    and everyone wants to know what the immediate benefits are because  
    we’ve all fooled ourselves into believing that eternity is a long way  
    off so
    we’ll worry about it later, much later or when we get to it. If we  
    dont’ bring God into the immediate lives of people we’ll lose them in  
    eternity.
    so lets keep the baby (Christian TV) but give it a major bath and change of  
    wardrobe, minus strange hair, questionable getups, and emotional  
    dirges that no one
    can really use. am i a little too passionate about this?
    Michelle
    http://www.michellehammond.com

  4. Simon and his team are doing a wonderful job of selecting and releasing quality God-honoring movies with a wide variety of themes.

    There are very strict criteria to qualify for a FoxFaith movie. In addition to ithe obvious qualification of high production values, the FoxFaith website says, "To be part of Fox Faith, a movie has to have overt Christian Content or be derived from the work of a Christian author." With competition being what it is, you're better off if your submission qualifies on all counts.

    Dove is honored to play a role in the promotional stragegy for FoxFaith movies and all high quality films with sound spiritual messages.

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