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Your advocate in Hollywood
Posted By Ted Baehr On 11/07/2003 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
Thanks to God’s grace, the Christian Film & Television Commission ministry has been able to revive much of the work of the Protestant Film Office which helped keep the movie screens clean during the Golden Age of Hollywood. In doing so, we’ve seen the number of movies with Christian content increase astronomically – over 14,000 percent!
In fact, when we started Christian Film & Television Commission in 1978 (MOVIEGUIDE in 1985), there was only one movie with positive Christian content. Last year, there were 135 – 45 percent of the movies released.
When we started, there were only six movies aimed at families. Last year, there were over 40 percent of the movies released.
When we started, 81 percent of the movies were R-rated. Now, less than 42 percent are R-rated.
The chairman of a major studio recently told me at lunch that he attributed these shifts directly to our influence and our economic benchmarking of the entertainment industry.
When we took over the files from the Protestant Film Office, we registered as an advocacy group with the entertainment guilds and became the only registered Christian advocacy group since the Protestant Film Office. As one of several advocacy groups in Hollywood (most of which deal with sexual orientation), we’ve spoken at the gatherings of such groups at UCLA in support of redemptive, Christian content in movies and entertainment.
Part of our God-given ministry involves working with studios, and being proactive. As such, we read scripts and bring in theologians to read scripts. We also produce our economic analysis of the box office every year for the Report to the Entertainment Industry, which helps the entertainment industry understand what performs best at the box office.
On rare occasions, we find a film that we love, and we help them reach not only the Christian marketplace, but as wide an audience as possible, so that we can be, just as the Protestant Film Office was, “advocates of the good, the true and beautiful.” We’ve lent our expertise to many movies – gratis – for the sake of helping God’s kingdom advance in this industry. In a few cases, we have been remunerated for our services through a sister organization set up for this purpose to help underwrite the extra time these promotional efforts required.
In this regard, we only promote movies which we feel contain strong, positive, moral, biblical and Christian values. Instead of reviewing movies according to our whims, we analyze them according to demanding and effective analytical criteria: aesthetic, artistic, semantic, syntactic, generic, moral, systematic, economic, sociological, cognitive, psychological, historical, philosophical, ontological, epistemological, worldview and theological.
Therefore, our reviews honestly portray the problems in movies, even many of the ones we like (some, like “Finding Nemo” are so good that little criticism is needed, if any). Thus, by following the highly successful advocacy strategy of the Protestant Film Office, we’ve had good success.
Now, however, a major Christian magazine wants to complain about our advocacy work. They feel there is a conflict between doing our analytical reviews and helping with scripts and productions. Actually, there is no conflict in light of our stated objectives.
We are here to help in any way possible to improve the quality of movies and to help good movies succeed. We are also here to continue the fine tradition of the Protestant Film Office, and there is nothing in Scripture where the ministry of the Protestant Film Office and its successor violates any biblical principle. In fact, the ministry to which God has called us fulfills the biblical call to “take every thought captive for Christ,” to “take advantage of every opportunity,” and to do the work He has called us to until He comes again.
Regrettably, the original Protestant Film Office was closed because the church did not support the ministry to clean the screens and be the source of conscience in the entertainment industry. “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” This must not happen again.
Thanks to God’s loving grace, I have faithfully directed this work since I was director of the TV Center at the City University in New York, where my Juris Doctor degree gave me the academic credentials necessary to assume that important position.
And, in spite of any criticisms we receive now or in the future, we plan to continue representing the Church, training and developing leaders in the entertainment industry, encouraging, enabling and promoting good filmmaking, and standing as advocates of Jesus Christ in commending the good, the true and the beautiful whenever we find it.
For more information on how you can support your advocate in Hollywood, please call or write:
Christian Film & Television Commission
2510-G Las Posas Rd., #502
Camarillo, CA 93010
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