Today’s guest post is courtesy of Author and Host of “Thrill Ride Maniacs” Pete Trabucco. You can check out some of the action from Pete’s show on Youtube here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3-4jnOSeDw
Ever hear of the movie “Courageous”? How about “Fireproof”? In this article written by Pete, we get the first-hand account of how this all came together.
Inspirational Christian Blogs would like to thank Pete Trabucco for sharing his article with our readers today.
Miracle in Albany Georgia
By Pete Trabucco
I may be Roman Catholic but I do believe that this status does not make me (or anyone for that matter) blessed with a special hot line to the almighty. That is for God himself to decide. It took me a while to write this with my busy book and aviation schedule but after watching cable television and seeing one of my very special movies from this “Movie Studio, combined with some events that have gotten me closer to God, I felt it was time to write this article…
If you ask the average person if miracles still do happen in the 21st century chances are you will most likely be told no. Sure, most everyone I know believes in God and knows that God works miracles everyday but sometimes an event comes along that makes you know for certain that modern day miracles still do take place. Just ask Alex Kendrick Associate Pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany Georgia . For those of you who like movies, you might already be aware of the phenomenon taking place in this small church nestled in the rural area of Albany, Georgia . What has happened here through a series of incredible and miraculous events has truly changed the way independent movies are made in the United States and in Hollywood . The motto for this church is that they can “change the world from Albany Georgia ’ and I am here to tell you, they ain’t kidding. I had the pleasure of interviewing Alex and boy what a story of inspiration he tells…
It all started a few years back in 1999 when Alex Kendrick the Director of these movies headquartered in Georgia , (and conduit to the heavens) was approached by Michael Catt, Senior Pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church . The Pastor asked Alex to help the church and promote his small church reach outside of their congregation. Alex was asked what he thought he could do to get the word out about Sherwood and the answer he gave was to “make movies”. Alex already had a background in this medium but the leap of faith was cemented in stone right there at that meeting when the church decided to think out side the box and have their worked blessed for all of us to see on celluloid. What started out as a local film production went on to change the industry and catapulted Sherwood Pictures as one of the leaders in independent filmmaking. Alex first crack at this came in the movie “Flywheel” released in 2002. What started out as a low budget initial investment of $20,000 dollars went on to be viewed in over 300 Carmike movie theaters across the area and through divine providence was somehow picked up by Blockbuster Video. It would eventually be available at over 4,500 Blockbuster stores around the country. The film would go on to sell over 300,000 DVD’s and is still available online. It seems that people just naturally accepted the main character and his trials and tribulations and saw themselves in the movie. At the time, no one knew that the success of this low budget film would only be just the beginning.
As we always say, God works his magic in mysterious ways. This is very true and the Sherwood Baptist Church would find out quickly that lightning truly can strike multiple times. Along with his brother Stephen, Producer Alex Kendrick started production on their new project called “Facing the Giants”. Facing the Giants was story of a losing high school football coach who literally loses his faith in himself and in others and it is not until he lets God back into his life that all the missing pieces of his life come together. Alex himself played coach Grant Taylor and church members of Sherwood Church played the supporting roles taking no pay for their work on screen. Catering was handled by Sunday school classes and the wardrobe by the pastor’s wife. Again, on paper, you would think that a movie like this one would be successful but in these days of mega movie conglomerations what were the chances that “Facing the Giants” would see such great success? The big break here came in the fact that since one of the main songs from the movie was owned by a record company, permission would be needed before the movie could go forward, Alex contacted a company called Provident Label Group Corporation and sent a tape to, Terry Hemming, the President of the company. Many months went by and the newly formed movie studio prayed that this man would view the tape and grant permission for the song to be used. Well their prayers were again answered. During a lunch break, he viewed the tape and was so struck with the movie, not only did he approve the song but he also asked if he could forward a copy of the tape to his parent company – None other than Sony Pictures. Well when Sony got a look at it, it wasn’t long before “Facing The Giants” would be released to a nation longing for a new kind of film. One that was family friendly and would break out a religious message into mainstream America . With an investment of $100,000 dollars, the movie was shown in over 800 movie theaters across the county and to date has grossed over 10 million dollars. This turned many heads in Holly wood and caught the eye of a very famous child actor, who saw what was happening in the state of Georgia.
Hollywood veteran Kurt Cameron, better known as Mike Seaver on the hit show “Growing Pains” was quite impressed with the movie “Facing the Giants.” He actually met the Sherwood team after the release of the film and would then audition for the starring role in their 3rd film called “Fireproof.” Kurt had to audition like all of the other volunteer actors and was picked for the leading role of Lt. Caleb Holt. As Kurt would say later “I really wanted to do this part and God opened the door.”
“Fireproof was the biggest investment that Sherwood Pictures has made at that time and eventually cost $500,000 to complete” Said Kendrick. In the movie, the main character is well respected as a firefighter in his community but unfortunately is having marital problems and looking at a divorce from his estranged wife. He tries everything to save this marriage and it isn’t until he receives a gift in the form of a dare book from his father that he is given a real chance to save his marriage. The “Dare Book” as it is called (and that has sold over 2 million copies since the movie) is a book that challenges couples with daily suggestions on how to bring back trust and love into a relationship. Of course, not all this can be accomplished until Caleb (Kurt Cameron) makes a life changing commitment to God in order for this to happen. A leap of faith as they say for both the main character and the movie studio as well. Well, the gamble did paid off for all as Fireproof, the movie grossed an astounding 33 million dollars and since it’s release has also sold over two and a half million DVD’s nationwide.
And the “Miracle” continues with the movie Courageous (2011)… Four men, one calling and that is to serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that they are not truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood. While they consistently give their best on the job, they are failing miserable as dads. When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and how well they have been as fathers. It’s also a police drama and pretty action packed. COURAGEOUS is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Again I found myself laughing, crying, and cheering as we all are challenged and inspired by these everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that impact their children. This movie has also grossed over 30 million dollars to date.
So how does this happen? How do you make not 1 but 4 successful movies? The odds of this happening are indeed astronomical but not impossible. We know that every day God makes the impossible very possible and that is what has happened here. After all, this sort of thing has taken place many times in the history of humankind. I believe that it was time for a small congregation of 2,200 in Albany Georgia to be personally touched by the hand of the God, for the good of all Christianity. It would make sense, after all this small church’s motto is “Changing the world from Albany Georgia .” I guess the lord just took them literally on this statement. And why not…as Alex would tell you “Sherwood Pictures is far bigger than he and Sherwood Baptist Church .” It is, as he says in actually “Gods Movie Studio!” and I truly believe him!!!
For more info on Sherwood Pictures you can go to… http://sherwoodpictures.com/
Author/America’s Top Roller Coasters and Amusement Parks and Host of the Reality Show Pilot
“Thrill Ride Maniacs.”
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About the author: Greg is a strong believer in Jesus Christ and is also a political analyst, author, and is the Editor-in-Chief for the National War Council. By day he is a self-employed non-emergency medical transport driver, as well as being an author and blogger. His articles are first published on TCP News and Inspirational Christian Blogs, and from there the articles are widely published on many well-known conservative websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so leaving all links intact and crediting the author and the website that the article appeared on.
Greg is the author of the newly released book: Spiritual Darkness is Destroying America and the Church
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