By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher
God has nurtured, blessed and empowered Good News Communications/Christian Film & Television Commission®/MOVIEGUIDE® over the last 32 years, providing incredible opportunities for us to witness to Him and supporting us as we ventured forth in faith in His Grace.
One of the great achievements in our entire history was the fact we initiated the campaign that stopped the vile movie ANTICHRIST from making money at the box office. In fact, the movie made a measly $400,000 at the box office.
Furthermore, we helped five universities conceptualize film and media departments.
Also, I had more opportunities to preach and teach around the United States. And, I recently completed a visit to South Korea, where I taught media wisdom to 880 or more Christian educators and met with leading filmmakers in the movie industry there, convincing them to producer family-friendly movies with faith and values.
In addition, our promotion of our main website and its new design, www.movieguide.org, helped it reach new heights of visibility, averaging 7 million hits and more per month and allowing us to start selling a new iPhone application for our reviews.
Furthermore, working with a coalition of Christians, we helped deprive Comedy Central’s planned blasphemous series on Jesus, “JC,” of advertiser support – for now.
Thank God the 18th Annual Awards Were Incredible!
And, we had more direct evidence that our strategy of redeeming the values of the mass media of entertainment is working.
THE BLIND SIDE won the Epiphany Prize for most inspirational movie. One of the producers said, “When I was here last year (for MARLEY AND ME), I asked you to pray for THE BLIND SIDE. Just look at the results!”
This and other tremendous stories, along with my Report to the Entertainment Industry, were heard by a record number of Hollywood executives, producers, writers, and directors. We had to add tables at the last minute to provide for the tremendous response to our invitations.
God Moves Hollywood for Christ
The Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Faith & Values Awards Gala & Report to the Entertainment Industry hosted by the Christian Film & Television Commission® is an evangelistic event designed to reach an “unreached people group,” the people of the “Tribe of Hollywood.” Study after study confirms that many people in the subculture of the entertainment community are not Christians and many have little, if any, interaction with people of faith.
Reaching the entertainment community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ is highly strategic and creates evangelistic and pre-evangelistic “ripples.”
Though rarely publicly stated it in this way, the Gala is somewhat like an old-fashioned tent revival. In those days, there would be some kind of attraction to bring people into the tent. Once in, they heard the gospel and met other Christians. If someone wanted to know more, they stayed to hear instructions about receiving Christ.
The Gala, though held in Beverly Hills and in a fancy hotel, is nearly the same thing. By offering the “target audience” an award and a chance to be a part of an awards ceremony, they enter “the tent.” Through the testimonies of the clips from the movies and television programs they produced, the people on stage and around their table, they hear the gospel and learn about Jesus. They are given opportunities for follow up to continue the conversation.
Not only does the Gala reach the target audience, these people of influence then go on to influence others in their circle. Also, their new understanding shows up in the culture through their movies and TV shows, which then opens up opportunities for people to experience a faith worldview – and the ripples continue.
Again, we don’t often publicize this info, but through the Gala many in Hollywood have come to Jesus Christ, stepped out of hiding to embrace their Christian faith and have been convicted to change their ways from producing sleazy, unwholesome entertainment to entertainment with faith and values.
Every part of the event for over three hours proclaims faith in Jesus Christ and biblical values very clearly through prayer, scripted comments, the Report to the Entertainment Industry, and the clips from the movies and television that are being honored. The renowned and beloved Rev. Harald Bredesen once noted as he sat watching the Gala: “You’re giving us church.”
Signs of God’s Grace
Each year at the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards, studio executives, producers, directors, and screenwriters are inspired by the awards, the winners, their acceptance speeches, and the attendees. Below is a summary of stories of people whose lives have been inspired or changed by attending the event.
A producer telephoned the Executive Producer of MOVIEGUIDE® the morning following the event.
The caller excitingly asked, “Have you read that book that was in the gift bag?”
She replied that she had not had time to go through her gift bag, but asked the woman to tell her about the book.
“Well, you should read it. It has the best advice about life I have ever read. It has everything you will need to live your life.”
When the Executive Producer asked her for the title of the book, she replied, “The Bible!”
A critically acclaimed and Academy Award nominated director tragically and unexpectedly had lost his wife in routine surgery.
Trying to make sense of his grief and loss, he dropped out of the entertainment business for a year-long sabbatical in hopes of healing. After a year he returned and decided that he wanted to make movies that would have the potential to change people’s lives.
The first movie since his wife’s death and his return to the US was not only an inspirational story, but it also won a MOVIEGUIDE® Award.
On the night he arrived at the Gala, he was still struggling with his grief, and also with his faith, touting Buddhism and other religions. One of MOVIEGUIDE®’s producers invited him to attend church with her husband and her. They led him to the Lord.
Recently, when he left Los Angeles to make another film, he emailed to say, “Now I go with the peace of Jesus in my heart.”
One of the owners of a successful production company attended the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards with a business associate.
When he expressed surprise that the Executive Producer was involved in such a right-wing organization, she explained to him that she was passionately devoted to the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards, because family and inspiring entertainment made such a difference in the lives of children. . . giving them hope, inspiring them and teaching them values.
He thought for a moment, and then hung his head, expressing regret that he had produced so many television shows that were both harmful and negative that had affected children. He vowed to change, and he has! When we watch his television programs today, we are inspired and stunned at the difference in them.
Recently, one of the top writers of movies and television approached me and said, “I won a Movieguide® award four years ago and now I’ve written a script about Jesus.”
The man had been a tough, hard-talking Jewish writer who was transformed by the Movieguide® Awards to write one of the best apologetic scripts on the reason Jesus is the Messiah ever written.
Another writer approached me and said, “Do you remember the conversation we had a couple years ago about a plot element in a movie that I was writing?”
I said “Yes.”
He said, “Well, as a result of your answer, I am now a Messianic Jew.”
The head of Alcon Entertainment testified at the Gala that he had talked to me at the beginning of his movie career before he made MY DOG SKIP, and I had told him how to succeed at the box office by putting in more Christian content. He says that with each movie, he’s been doing just that. With THE BLIND SIDE, he put in the most Christian content of all his industry efforts and, as a result, has had the biggest box office success so far in his career. Later, he told me he is Jewish.
Testimonies of God’s Grace Throughout the Year
Evidence of God’s hand in transforming the Entertainment Industry continued throughout my travels throughout the year to speak and teach.
At one event, Kim Dawson, the former producer of highly successful movies such as TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, commented that he met me at a film festival in Georgia when I was teaching a SO, YOU WANT TO BE IN PICTURES course to movie talent and executives.
I asked him to open the class in prayer. He said he had been an Episcopalian as a child but had drifted and did not pray – especially in public. When I asked him to pray, and he did, something happened. He marks that event four years ago as his conversion. So, now he is on fire and has produced the Christ-centered, prayer filled, heart-rending movie titled LETTERS TO GOD, which is now out on DVD.
Every time I screen LETTERS TO GOD, I weep because it is the story of a little boy with inoperable cancer whose letters to God transformed a community.
God Has Blessed Us a Million Fold!
One friend from a foundation suggested our donors should look at their donation as an investment. If so, here is the return:
In the last 10 years, from 2000-2009, movies with very strong Christian worldviews have averaged $66,274,903 at the box office, up from $21.14 million in 1995, the year we began the Epiphany Prize competition for Most Inspiring Movie of the Year.
Thus, for the last 10 years, each $1,000 donated to MOVIEGUIDE® or the Gala generates $66,275 in leverage for each movie with very strong Christian worldviews. From 2000-2009, there were 99 such movies, so each $1,000 generated $6,561,225 at the box office in terms of very strong Christian worldviews alone!
To put it another way, the cost of each $1,000 was only $0.000015 for every dollar generated at the box office per positive movie.
In 2009, movies with very strong Christian worldviews averaged $75,749,386, meaning about 10,099,918 people viewing per movie, totaling $833,243,247 for all 11 movies with very strong Christian worldviews, or about 111,099,100 people saw Christian content. What else can produce such a massive faith return? (The National Association of Theater Owners estimates that the average ticket price in 2009 was $7.50.)
Thus, each $1,000 donated in 2009 generated $75,749 per Christian movie, or $833,243 total. To put it another way, the cost effectiveness of each $1,000 donated to this ministry in 2009 was only $0.0000132 per movie or $0.0000012 overall.
Also, each $1,000 donated in 2009 generated nearly 10,100 people viewing per movie with positive Christian content, or about 111,099 people viewing Christian content overall. So, every $1,000 dollars donated allowed more than 111,000 people to see God honoring, Christ witnessing content.
Since the Awards Gala began 19 years ago, the number of movies with at least some positive Christian content has increased from 10.38% of all major movies to more than half, 54.51%, a percentage increase of 425%!!!
This success not only has impacted the big blockbuster, or tent-pole, movies released by the top decision makers and opinion leaders, or key players, in Hollywood, it also affects the small, independent movies distributed by the key players in Hollywood. Thus, in the wake of the success of such Christian blockbusters like THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST and THE LORD OF THE RINGS movies, the top two small, independent movies at the box office from 2007 to 2009 by far were also Christian ones, FIREPROOF, with $33.46 million in earnings in the United States and Canada, and AMAZING GRACE, with $21.25 million in earnings. And, they’re still hanging onto that achievement in 2010!!!
Finally, according to the Motion Picture Association of America a couple years ago, Hollywood spends an average of more than $106 million to produce, distribute, and market each movie, but the annual budget of this ministry is only about $2 million per year.
The cost effectiveness of MOVIEGUIDE® and CFTVC, including the Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, is inescapable and quite striking!
What is even more striking is how inexpensive it is compared to other big media events in Hollywood. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Academy Awards ceremony costs $19 million directly and $40 million more if one includes all the commercial promotion.
Even the least expensive major ministry event in Hollywood according to the Los Angeles Times costs well over $2 million.
But, the Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala & Report to the Entertainment Industry does not! It is extremely cost effective.
Its success, coupled with its low cost, relatively speaking, proves that it deserves the support of every concerned citizen and group who cares about the future of our children and grandchildren!
A Tidal Wave of Great News!
Almost every day, I receive great news about how God is using this ministry to impact Hollywood, for the benefit of our children and grandchildren. . . largely due to your continued help.
The first movie to be produced from a Kairos Prize-winning script, JOHNNY, is scheduled to be released in February 2011.
Hallmark has picked up one of the Kairos Prize scripts and wanted the writer to write another script. Furthermore, Oprah has bought another Kairos Prize winning script.
With all these scripts and projects, we’ve been able to foster, inspire and encourage people – reaching millions for the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
At a dinner with several Hollywood heavyweights, including our friends Gary Sinise, Jon Voight, the executive vice president of a major studio, and others, three producers came up to me saying they had funded their scripts using our Report to the Entertainment Industry figures. One of the movies will be a big budget movie with Russell Crowe.
God Has an Answer for “The Voice of Tehran”!!!
A tragic situation has happened. Ronald Reagan defeated the evil empire of the Communist Soviet Union in part through the clear message of hope and freedom of the Voice of America.
Now, the Middle East Desk is headed by the son of a Muslim Mullah.
The current administration in Washington has transformed and corrupted the Voice of America.
The result of that terrible appointment is that the Voice of America went out of its way to lambaste the Iranians, who are seeking freedom from the Islamic tyrants running their country. The situation at Voice of America has gotten so bad that the Iranian people now call it “The Voice of Tehran”!!!
Winning Influential Media People to Christ
Well, WE DID NOT SIT IDLY BY!
Part of our vital work is introducing highly influential individuals to Jesus Christ. Those people have the power to reach so many more with his name.
We saw this recently in the life of one woman.
She was the most popular commentator for Voice of America. She came to Christ at our house. . . praise the Lord!
Now, she wants to dedicate her career to introducing the people of the Middle East to Jesus Christ.
Mark Your Calendars!
Please mark your calendars, therefore, for this exciting event, which will be held Feb. 18, 2011 in the heart of Hollywood, the entertainment capital of the whole world! We believe it’s imperative to host another stunning program to continue the tremendous success we have had. It is, of course, an expensive undertaking for us.
Therefore, we are actively seeking individual and corporate sponsors to underwrite the Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry and the ongoing work of the ministry.
Whatever your past donations to partner with us to reach Hollywood with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and redeem the values of the mass media of entertainment, please host a table for our entertainment industry guests as well. Our guests from the entertainment industry are invited at no charge so we can minister to them; therefore, your hosting one or more tables for them helps cover their expenses.
Please note that these tables are for our entertainment industry guests and not for your friends. We need your significant contribution to support the Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry.
With your help, this will be a terrific event for all those honored and participating, and it will help tremendously in all of our efforts to redeem the values of the mass media. As the shootings at Columbine High School (and numerous other violent copycat crimes) showed the world, the entertainment industry shapes our culture.
This fact can be extremely frightening if one considers that, according to statistics from the Motion Picture Association of America, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Harrison Group, and others, by the time they are 17-years-old, children watch, hear and read 63,000 hours of movies, TV programs, musical performances, radio, books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, and Internet sites compared to spending only 800 hours in church and only 2,000 hours with their parents.
Your leadership and support of the Gala confirms your belief that we must redeem the values of the mass media!
As a recognized leader, central in the effort to protect and restore America’s cultural heritage, your attendance at the Gala and your financial support is crucial to the success of this year’s event.
Please pray for our Annual Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry that it will bring many people in the entertainment industry to Jesus Christ and that it will be fully funded. And, please pray for the continued success of our mission to redeem the values of the mass media of entertainment so that we can help build a more civilized culture of faith and values for the benefit of future generations − our children and grandchildren.
Your Best Gift Now Is Needed To Protect More Children
Your gift now will help us continue to promote positive Christian values and protect your children and grandchildren from the media’s tyranny of sex, violence and fuzzy thinking.
Your gift now will also help us begin to meet the new challenges and opportunities in defending and protecting children that God has placed before us now and for the future.
Please send us your best donation now, not only so that we can keep going, but also so that we can begin to take advantage of the new opportunities God has provided, to help more children and grandchildren.
By helping us do that, your gift today will defend, protect and train your own children and grandchildren, not just others.
In 32 years, we’ve never compromised in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because it is the Gospel that redeems us, including the hearts and minds of our children and grandchildren.
Let us thank God, therefore, by moving forward and upward this Christmas season, and by striving to make the coming year even more successful than the past 32 years.
Your financial support plays a vital role in this ministry.
So, please send us your most generous gift today and help us embrace God’s new opportunities to serve Him by protecting and helping His little ones.