NEWS FROM THE 'BIZ: June 2005
- Monday, June 13, 2005
CHANGING THE WORLD WITH JUST ONE FILM - “IMPACT: THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST” (DVD) … How would you like to meet Johnny Olsen, a neo-Nazi, considered to be the most dangerous man in Norway? Not in person, of course, but on film, in an exclusive interview with Christian filmmakers who have been following the worldwide impact of director Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” Two hours after seeing “The Passion of the Christ,” Olsen turned himself in for two of the worst bombings in Norway’s history. But he’s not the only one. Dan Leach had already gotten away with murder when he saw the film. And Arch Bonnema was hoping to do something for Jesus. Who’d have thought that he would buy 6,000 tickets, which assured Gibson’s film a place in theatres around the country – something that had been in great jeopardy before? Just three of the thousands of people whose lives have been changed by this controversial but stunning film.
Released in select theatres last December, “Impact: The Passion of the Christ” (RiverRain Productions) is now available on DVD. A portion of all proceeds benefit Campus Crusade for Christ. For more information, visit www.impactthemovie.com.
“SUGAR CREEK GANG” HITS THE BIG SCREEN (DVD) … Owen Smith first conceived the idea of making a DVD series based upon the “Sugar Creek Gang” book series in 2003. Written by the late Paul Hutchens, beginning in the late '40s, the 36 books sold more than 3 million copies. Their premise was simple, yet appealing and affordable for the young, independent filmmaker. Any child or adult ought to enjoy watching a group of kids in the rural 1950s, all close friends, encounter outdoor adventures together. Unfortunately, getting the films made proved to be slightly more difficult than Smith imagined.
To convince the publisher to relinquish rights to the series, Smith shot footage of a young boy scout playing in a creek, created a trailer and sent it in. After joining hands with writer/filmmaker Joy Chapman, Smith finally received a green light for the project. Then Smith and Owen, who wrote, directed and produced the five films, invested their personal funds and returned to rural Georgia, their home state, where they filmed during summer vacation and school schedules.
Writes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of the films, “Their world is a simple, happy place where a new fishing pole is cause for celebration and tragedy is a fish that won't bite. When dark clouds hover, silver linings abound. (There’s one sorry father in the neighborhood, for example, but a whole host of good-natured adults, including a kindly old grandfather figure, who balance things out with their big hearts.)"
The first three “Sugar Creek Gang” films – “Swamp Robber,” “The Great Canoe Fish,” “Revival Villains” – have now been completed, with two more – “Secret Hideout” and “Teacher Trouble” – to go. For more information, visit www.SugarCreekGangMovie.com.
“HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN,” SEASON ONE, RIDES AGAIN (DVD) … Jonathan Smith isn’t your average helpful handyman. He’s a guardian angel – however novice – with a mission from God, whom he calls “the Boss.” Traveling the country with ex-cop Mark Gordon, Smith follows his heavenly assignments to dispatch love, understanding and humility to the people he encounters – whether a war veteran’s Eurasian daughter, who feels unwelcome in America, or a young boxer being pressured to throw a fight. Whenever necessary, Smith uses a little angel power.
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