Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
This weekend marks the release of two star-studded films that affirm faith and religious liberty – movies an army of “theater captains” is hoping will change the face of not only Hollywood, but America itself.
More than 1,200 theater captains around the country have signed up with an organization called Movie to Movement to advertise, promote and recruit ticket buyers to see films that affirm faith and conservative values, movies like this weekend’s new releases, “Hardflip” and “For Greater Glory.”
“Hardflip” is a movie aimed at teens and young adults, starring John Schneider (of “October Baby”) and Randy Wayne (of “To Save a Life”) and featuring some of the best skateboarders in the world, including Brian Sumner and Christian Hosoi.
Skating legend Tony Hawk has said Hosoi may be the best skater alive, and sources close to “Hardflip” tell WND that both Hosoi and Sumner are using this film to “talk to youth about how the gospel has changed them and is more important than anything in their lives, even skating.”
“If you liked the message from ‘To Save a Life,’ you will love ‘Hardflip,’” says star Randy Wayne in a video thank you to those working to promote the film. “It has the same faith-based element, it deals with real-life issues. This movie will make a difference in your family and your personal lives.”
John Schneider adds in his own video, “This film shares the gospel in a very, very powerful and relevant way.”
“For Greater Glory” stars Andy Garcia, Peter O’Toole and Eduardo Verástegui (of “Bella”), among others, and tells the incredibly relevant story of the fight for religious liberty during the Cristero War between Catholics and the secular socialist government of Mexico in 1926 – a tale that seems divinely timed for modern day, given the battle for religious liberty Catholics in America are fighting against the Obama administration’s health-care mandates.
Jason Jones, president and founder of Movie to Movement, said the success of films like these is creating amazing opportunities for people of faith in Hollywood to communicate the kinds of messages that can transform a nation – for the better.
“When I started Movie to Movement just 2 years ago, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could get celebrities to speak out and share their values?’ I thought it was a stretch, but now these two great skaters are talking about how the gospel of Jesus Christ changed their lives,” Jones told WND. “Eduardo Verástegui of ‘For Greater Glory’ is speaking around nation on religious liberty. I thought it was a dream, but it’s happening.”
Movie to Movement is a non-profit organization that engages in the culture war through movies that promote conservative values, films that promote “a culture of life, love and beauty.”
“When I was a graduate student in 1999, Paul Weyrich sent a letter saying politics has failed conservatives because we’d lost the culture,” Jones said. “That’s when I determined I was going to really focus my effort on media as a way to impact society.
“Damon of Athens said, ‘Let me write the songs of a nation, and I care not who writes its laws,’” Jones quoted. “With ‘Hardflip’ and ‘For Greater Glory,’ Christian investors, Christian actors, Christian producers and Christian writers are writing our ‘songs.’ We as Christians need to take responsibility for writing the songs of our nation.
“Not only can we support positive films, we can produce them,” Jones said. “We can fulfill the Great Commission through film.”
And to make films like “Hardflip” and “For Greater Glory” a success, Movie to Movement is recruiting even more “theater captains” who can be the driving force behind bringing faith-affirming, culture-changing films to their communities.
“Even if you’re in a rural area that never gets to see the movies that show in ‘select locations,’ but you say, ‘I want this film in my community,’ Movie to Movement can help,” Jones stressed. “Contact Movie to Movement. If you’re serious, we’ll get it in your town. And once we see that people are attending, we’ll send others. We need champions, we’ll work with theater owners, we’ll get them in your small town.”
The movie trailer for “Hardflip” can be seen below:
Christian skateboarder Chris Sumner can be seen talking about the film and his faith in the clip below:
Jones told WND he believes that the tide of the culture war can be turned, if Christians will get involved in making great movies a great success.
“Hollywood is a business,” he said. “Look at the fantastic success of “Avengers,” a fun movie that jives with the values of most of America. The values of most of the nation are ours, conservative values. Or look at the success of “October Baby,” a little film with a little budget that made a fantastic impact.”
“Go to MovieToMovement.com, sign up to be a theater captain, participate in this weekend, go and support these films,” Jones said. “It’s as important as an election.”