Church's "Facing the Giants" Slated for Sept. 29 Release
- Wednesday, September 27, 2006
ALBANY, Ga. — Now comes “Facing the Giants,” following “Flywheel,” from a church where brothers – and staff members – Alex and Stephen Kendrick are intent on using the silver screen to showcase family values and the need for a personal relationship with Jesus.
"Facing the Giants," slated for national debut Sept. 29, and the earlier "Flywheel" are ministry tools developed by Sherwood Pictures, featuring the Kendricks’ filmmaking talents and the support of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga.
After receiving high marks from several test screenings in California, the football-oriented "Facing the Giants" has been picked up by Provident Films in a joint venture with Sony pictures.
The basis of the film can be summed up in the line on its promotional poster: “Never Give Up, Never Back Down, Never Lose Faith.” And in many ways, that sums up the mindset of the Georgia church that gave support to the two brothers who wrote and produced it while serving there as associate pastors.
The Kendricks have always been fascinated with storytelling, developing their passion by filming their own home movies as teenagers.
Alex, 35, and Stephen, 32, were born in Athens, Ga., and raised in Smyrna, an Atlanta suburb. For a while they grew up without television in their home, which they say was a protective move by their parents that later inspired creativity fueled by watching movies on the big screen. With their older brother Shannon, they practiced camera angles and the storytelling process at home in their backyard.
“Our early movies had the same plot: chase ‘em down and beat ‘em up,” Alex says with a laugh. “We made our own versions of adventure and sci-fi movies. Even before the fifth grade, we were doing stop-action films with clay figures and Tonka cars.
“We shared an interest in films long before we had any real ability. We were fascinated with the art of storytelling through that medium and have since discovered that this desire would tie directly into our calling from the Lord.”
While their friends were playing down the street, the brothers would be in the woods shooting their own action movies. As they began to pull neighborhood friends into the plot, they found open doors to share their faith – something they have continued to look for through the years.
As the two matured, they found other avenues for their moviemaking passion. In high school, and while majoring in communications at Kennesaw State University in Marietta, Ga., they began thinking outside the box with their projects. Rather than writing a term paper, they talked professors into allowing them to submit videos for their presentations or exams – a tactic they would use later for classes they took at the Atlanta extension center of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
During their college years, their family joined Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta. The brothers, studying nearby, became active there and made videos for the youth group.
Shortly after college graduation, the church hired the brothers in January 1995, with Alex joining the staff as college minister and Stephen as middle school minister.
“The movies were designed to be for fun, but they drew people in and provided opportunities for ministry,” Alex says. While he was making movies with college students, brother Stephen made camp videos with his junior high ministry.
“After shooting the videos, we’d have a popcorn premiere night for other ministries and create huge screens by taping paper tablecloths together,” Stephen says.
In 1999, Sherwood Baptist recognized their potential and called Alex as media director for the church, which had its own television station. The following year, Sherwood won “Promotional Spot of the Year” on FamilyNet for a special effects commercial that Alex produced with Sherwood’s pastor, Michael Catt.
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