Wednesday, March 2, 2011

NRB 2011

The last few days have been extremely busy. I’ve just returned from the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. The NRB is the world’s largest gathering of Christian broadcasters and programmers. It’s the place to be if you’re trying to pitch a new show and develop relationships in the Christian media industry. I was there pitching my new show Media Missionary TV, which features stories about Christians who work in mainstream media and entertainment. Christians are making a huge impact in Hollywood. These are the kinds of stories that we plan to follow at Media Missionary TV.

I met with 11 networks. We shot a pilot which will probably air within the next two months. Everyone I talked to seemed to be positive and supportive. I believe that most of these networks will pick up Media Missionary TV. In our first year, we will produce four specials that will air quarterly, starting in October 2011. In time, Media Missionary TV could become a weekly TV show.

Generally, the NRB is a good place to get the pulse on what is occurring in Christian media. I’ve been attending the NRB since 2000, and I have seen a number of changes. One of the most significant developments in recent years has been the inclusion of Christian and mainstream filmmakers. At this year’s NRB, a number of films were promoted with special advance screenings. With over 6,000 people attending the conference, this is a great way to get the word out about your film. Unfortunately, due to lack of time I was unable to attend any of the screenings. But here are a few movies to keep an eye on which should be out in theatrical distribution sometime in the spring: Doonby, featuring John Schneider from Dukes of Hazard; The Mighty Max, based on a true story about the 1971 Immaculata College basketball team; The Frontier Boys, staring Rebecca St. James; and There Be Dragons, directed by Roland Joffé.

I took a look at the trailer for There Be Dragons, and it looks interesting. You can view it on our website under trailers. The film is set during the Spanish civil war and had a budget of over $35 million. The look and the feel of the film is impressive. In fact, it looks like an epic. Roland Joffé is a well-respected director for such films as The Mission, starring Robert DeNiro, and The Killing Fields. This one is definitely worth checking out, especially if you enjoy historic dramas.

Finally, on Saturday night during the super session, Hollywood took front and center stage as Michael Flaherty led a discussion about movies, entertainment, and the future of media. Flaherty is the co-founder and President of Walden Media who has been responsible for producing films that focus on affirming moral messages, such as The Chronicles of Narnia series, Nim’s Island, and Charlotte’s Web. Also joining the discussion was producer, Mark Joseph; director, Michael Apted; and actor, John Schneider.

It was a lively discussion and an opportunity to hear the pulse of what is occurring in both Christian and mainstream entertainment. Perhaps, the big news of the night is 20th Century Fox and Walden Media are committed to producing the next film in the Narnia series. Although the box office for the last film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, may not have met expectations, Flaherty believes the overall future for the franchise is encouraging.

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