Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Movies that redeem the time

Philip Anschutz is the billionaire, and Christian, whose companies are responsible for Amazing Grace, The Chronicles of Narnia — The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Prince Caspian (in theatres this Friday), the upcoming (2009) film of C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, and much else - none rated "R". Christianity Today profiled him today:
Anschutz, 69, now owns two production companies—the family-friendly Walden Media and the more broadly focused Bristol Bay Productions. The companies' creative teams have brought us such films as Amazing Grace, Charlotte's Web, Bridge to Terabithia, Ray, and, most prominently, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, the first of seven planned movies based on C.S. Lewis's beloved Chronicles of Narnia. The second Narnia film, Prince Caspian, is due this month. Bristol Bay is also adapting The Screwtape Letters for the big screen, likely due in 2009.

Such cinematic bounty is a result not just of Anschutz's deep pockets: he's also a lifelong film buff committed to bringing more wholesome options to the local multiplex. ....

Anschutz and his wife, both Presbyterians, attend a local church and support various local charities, including Step 13, a Denver home for alcoholic men.

One longtime friend says Anschutz's faith informs everything he does.

"His set of values and beliefs permeates his life," said Jim Monaghan, a spokesman who has worked with Anschutz for 24 years. "He is a composite of religious values, ethics, and morals, but he doesn't wear it on his sleeve. He walks the talk." ....

Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis's stepson, who manages much of the Lewis estate, says he decided to sell the film rights to the Narnia franchise to Walden because he liked their vision—and Anschutz.

"The main reason I went with Walden," he told CT Movies in 2005, "is because of their mandate to produce good, entertaining movies that also educate, not merely in factual matters, but in matters of ethics and values and morality.

"But the clincher for me was meeting Phil Anschutz, and growing to respect him enormously and spending time in prayer with him. Walden Media has exactly the right idea what we should be using cinema for." Which is exactly what Anschutz wanted. (the article)
Hollywood Hellfighter | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

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