Producers hope faith-based movie surge continues

By Lucas L. Johnson Ii

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, June 30 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

"They do provide hope, and inspiration and encouragement in a time that's very difficult," said Franklin, who's written a book titled "Produced by Faith: Enjoy Real Success without Losing Your True Self"

"I do think when you see these films it does inspire you to keep going, and to keep pushing. So I think that's part of the reason they're very successful."

Producers say the best way to get Hollywood's attention is for fans of the genre to show up the first weekend the movies open. To get the word out about "Jumping the Broom," Jakes said marketing strategies involved screenings for hairdressers, barbers, pastors, churches and social networking — including a lot of Twitter posts.

"I had everybody tweeting about this, from P. Diddy to Joel Osteen," he said.

Tirrell Whittley heads Liquid Soul Media, which has won awards for its grassroots approach to marketing movies. He said attending opening weekend is vital.

"We have to show up and make sure that our dollars speak and say that these films are important," Whittley said. "There's a lot of tracking and analysis done against these sales to determine what consumers want."

Producer Stephanie Frederic said for Hollywood, "It's business."

"People think Hollywood is all these anti-Christians," said Frederic, whose company shoots behind-the-scene footage for movies. "No, Hollywood is just pro money. It's that simple."

The success of faith-based films also means opportunity for up-and-coming producers and actors. Terverius Black started his own Christian-themed entertainment company and is hoping to release his movie "Stand" early next year.

"There are some talented people out here who just need a shot," said Black, who has several other scripts in waiting.

Trey "Andale" Williams, an actor in Black's movie, is hoping for a blessing.

"If people are actually going out to the theaters to see these movies, then more of them will be made," Williams said. "It benefits so many different people."

Lucas Johnson II can be reached at http://twitter.com/LLJohnsonAP

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