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You are big with Christian Cinema. Tell people of your functions.
I'm the editor and content manager for ChristianCinema.com. I create and
manage the pages for our DVDs (over 2500 faith and family films), write
and post articles about faith and entertainment, interview filmmakers
(from Matt Damon to Denzel Washington to Anthony Hopkins, as well as a
slew of independent filmmakers), and keep my finger on the pulse of
independent filmmaking by Christians.
What is the web page and contact point?
The website is ChristianCinema.com, which was created in 1999 for the
distribution of independently-made Christian films. Since its inception, ChristianCinema.com
has grown to be the largest faith and family movie
store on the planet.
Do you produce your own films or just aid others in the press and
distribution of theirs?
Brothers Bobby and Kevin Downes, the owners of ChristianCinema.com,
independent filmmakers. Their lates production, Like Dandelion Dust,
was a feature film released in theaters last fall and on DVD this January.
The award-winning film stars Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino
and Golden Globe nominee Barry Pepper. When the brothers produced their
first film in 1999, they created the ChristianCinema.com
distribute their film and those of their friends who were also producing
What companies have you worked with?
Not sure if you're asking on a personal level or with regards to ChristianCinema.com, so I'll answer on the website level.
We carry films from over 20 different companies and studios. We also
specialize in films from independent producers, so many of our titles are
brought in directly from the producer.
Do you only deal with Christian film?
That label means many things to many people. We carry films either made by
Christians (i.e., producer, director or writer of a film) or films made
for Christians with strong faith themes, as well as family films. We also
recognize the faith and redemptive themes in other movies not made with
any specific faith underpinnings, such as Dead Man Walking or The
Book of Eli.
Yet some of these have found their way into the secular world, have they
Yep. Good filmmaking is universal, as is good storytelling.
Let us just say for practical purposes, I am a non-Christian. How could
you convince me I should take a look at some of these movies, if I have no
interest in religion per se?
I would recommend the films that I think you might find entertaining. I'm
not a NASCAR fan but I watched Talladega Nights. Back to the previous
statement - if a film is entertaining, it's entertaining on a universal
level. I wouldn't try to proselytize you with a film. If you are a history
buff, I'd recommend you'd appreciate based on its historical content. If
you enjoy comedy, I can recommend some hysterical comedians.
Among the titles, what ones would you suggest to a non-Christian?
See the above - it depends on what genre and type of entertainment you
On the other hand, to a Christian?
We have over 2500 films, and Christians come with as many likes and
dislikes as do everyone else. If a Christian was looking for sheer
entertainment, I'd recommend What if ..., if they were looking for a family
drama I'd recommend Like Dandelion Dust, if they were looking for an
end-times film, I'd recommend The
Moment After or Left
How did your page and company come about to begin with?
When the Downes brothers created their first film in 1999, you had to be a
major player to be able to talk to bookstore owners (which was the
traditional distribution outlet for Christian retail), and very few were
making films for Christian audiences. In recognition of that, they decided
to reach out to as large of an audience as they could and build a website.
Once the site was up & running, they invited all of their filmmaking
friends to sell their films on the site as well.
As Christian film has expanded and more players have gotten into the
business, the site has grown to where it now contains over 2500 films,
over 6500 reviews, and over 250 interviews with filmmakers.
While dealing with film people have you had any experiences that are
worth sharing or highly interesting?
I have found filmmakers as a whole to be very dedicated and determined
people - you have to be in order to take 3 years of your life on a
I received some personal advice from Denzel Washington, which I now employ
regularly. Sat in a group interview with Sir Anthony Hopkins, who is a
very well-read man, and interviewed Matt Damon in New York City.
Going back to bridging the gap and making films that cross market to
both Christian and secular realms, I would rate Cloud Ten the best
at it. Would you?
Not necessarily. They are certainly very good at it, but there are many
companies who are following their example of making good films that anyone
would like. Cloud 10 has focused on a very tight niche of the market and
capitalized on the interest in the end of times. There are other companies
(Jenkins Entertainment, Downes Brothers Entertainment, Sherwood
who are making great films that are more general interest films and would
appeal to any viewer.
Anything else to touch on?
As a company, our goal is as much about the advancement of independent
film as anything. It's our passion to help the filmmaker reaching a larger
audience and have the opportunity to make more films, improving as they
We're the bridge between the filmmaker and the audience.
Good film is good art, and good art is about truth. If a film tells a
story that rings true and has characters that are genuine and
multi-dimensional, it deserves a chance, no matter who made it.
Just as Christians go to the theaters and watch movies not made by other
Christians, I'd invite people who don't call themselves Christians to
watch films made by Christians. Might enjoy it!
Thanks for the interview!