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Hollywood honors faith, family films

Scene from Movieguide Award-winning "Grace Unplugged"

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Some of Hollywood’s brightest stars, TV personalities and movie executives turned out on the red carpet Friday evening, but not for the typical awards show.

Instead, these faces of entertainment came to the Universal City Hilton’s Sierra Ballroom to celebrate the best family and faith-centered films of 2013 and to encourage new generations of scriptwriters to keep creating the kinds of stories that are even now transforming Hollywood … for the better.

The event marks the 22nd Annual Movieguide Awards, presented by Movieguide Founder and Chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission Dr. Ted Baehr, in association with the John Templeton Foundation.

Among those films and TV shows honored at the gala include award-winners “Frozen,” “Grace Unplugged,” “The Bible,” “Duck Dynasty” and “Iron Man 3.”

Check out this impressive collection of movies – including Movieguide award nominees “The Book of Eli,” “October Baby” and “Courageous” – available in WND’s own store.

Dr. Ted Baehr

Since the mid-1980s Baehr’s Movieguide organization has been on a quest to completely transform the movie industry by revealing to Hollywood executives that positive-themed, faith and family-friendly films make significantly more money at the box office than their more salacious and often R-rated competitors.

The quest has been hugely successful, as each successive Movieguide awards gala has enabled Baehr to present Hollywood’s power players with extensive studies proving America’s audiences would much rather watch faith than filth on the silver screen.

And Hollywood, where money talks and box office receipts are king, has heard the message.

Baehr reports that in 1985 only 1 percent of the films made by Hollywood contained “positive, redemptive content,” according to Movieguide’s grading scale. But after more than 20 years of conclusive evidence that audiences back their desire for positive, faith-affirming and family-friendly films with box office bucks, now more than 65 percent of the movies made include “positive, redemptive” content and storylines.

Discover Dr. Ted Baehr’s fascinating guide to the filmmaking industry, “How to Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul)” – autographed – at the WND SuperStore!

Jeff Holder, former head of ABC’s Saturday morning children’s TV schedule, explained what makes the Movieguide Awards so unique: “The Gala is about the [spiritually inspiring and exemplary] film clips and the speeches. … Many of the recipients give glory to God.

“What I really like about Movieguide is that we honor producers, directors, many of them Christians, quietly working behind the scenes and movies that may not make the Academy Awards,” he continued. “We’re honoring them because they do such redemptive work.”

At the 2011 Movieguide awards, music and Hollywood icon Pat Boone stepped off the red carpet for just a moment to talk with WND about the significance and impact of the Movieguide awards over the years.

“I have been coming to these events for the past 15 years,” Boone said. “Producers, directors, writers – they’ll come here to get an award, and when they do, they see why they’re getting an award and the kind of things that we’re hungering for [in films]. Then they go back to their studios and they look for other projects that might merit an award for the same reason that they’ve gotten one, which is uplifting family, not denigrating the faith, not glamorizing degenerate behavior.

“And so it is a strong influence, and it’s not just condemning the bad, it’s awarding the good,” Boone said. “So I think it’s genius. I think it’s God.”

The full list of award nominees at the 22nd Annual Movieguide Awards are listed below in alphabetical order, with the winners in each category highlighted in bold:

The nominees for Best Family Film are:

The nominees for Best Mature Audience Film are:

In addition, Movieguide has created the $100,000 Epiphany Prizes for Inspiring Movies and TV. Supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the Epiphany Prizes honor “the best, most inspiring movie and television program of the previous year.” The nominees in the movie category are:

The nominees for the television Epiphany Prize are:

Movieguide’s Faith & Freedom Awards are given to “the best, most inspiring movie and television program of the past year that promoted American, western values such as freedom of speech, religious freedom, property rights, the right to life, the rule of law, and personal responsibility.” The movie nominees are:

Willie and Korie Robertson of "Duck Dynasty"

The television nominees for the Faith & Freedom Award are:

For the second year in a row, the awards gala celebrates America’s free enterprise system with the $50,000 Friess Free Enterprise Prize for the best movie or television program promoting free enterprise. Supported by a grant from the Lynn & Foster Friess Family Foundation, the prize is awarded to the one movie or television program that, through “fine craftsmanship and inspiring storytelling, encourages an appreciation of free markets, ownership, and stewardship.” The movie nominees, followed by the television nominees, are:

In addition, the Grace Awards honor individual actors for “the best, most inspiring performances expressing God’s grace and love toward us as human beings.” The movie nominees are:

The television nominees for the Grace Award are:

Supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the Kairos Prizes award $50,000 to the top three entries as it celebrates the best new screenwriters from around the world whose work “aims to greatly increase man’s love or understanding of God.”

Several Kairos Prize-winners through the years have seen their scripts go on to be produced as motion pictures.

This year’s finalists are (in alphabetical order):

From left to right: Jeff Malphurs, Kathryn F. Taylor, Connie O'Donahue

In addition, the Chronos Prize is designed to encourage professional and established writers to create stories that are “compelling, entertaining, inspiring, spiritually uplifting, and increase man’s love or understanding of God.”

This year’s finalists are (in alphabetical order):