Hollywood: the center of the American film industry and the throne room of high society. Under the bright lights of the small California town, the next big name is created and the next big fortune is made, but at what cost? A swirling storm of popularity and a whirlpool of ambition, Hollywood is the goal of every wanna be actor and the endgame of producers and entertainers across the country. Within this stormy culture of superficiality, it is refreshing to find a lighthouse boldly facing the Hollywood giant.
Provident Films, a Nashville-based branch of the Provident Music Group, is in the business of standing up to the Hollywood agenda by offering quality entertainment that the whole family can enjoy. According to their corporate website, “The leaders of the Provident Films team have experience working on some of the most popular faith-based films, including FIREPROOF, the leading independent film of 2008, and Facing the Giants, the surprise theatrical hit of 2006.”
Surviving within an industry that released a remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as the first box office smash of 2013 is a tall order, but Provident Films has proven time and again that America wants an alternative. By offering an alternative to the horror-filled, carnality-saturated Hollywood market, the company is effectively impacting American life through faith-based, morality-driven films. They are actively standing in the gap against the moral decay of our society.
In a recent interview with Kris Fuhr, the Vice President of Theatrical Marketing for Provident Films, TwoTen discovered that while the company has captured the attention of the Hollywood film industry through their quality productions, they are more concerned with promoting the Gospel of Christ to this generation. “We want to create an ongoing pipeline of faith-based films,” said Kris. “We are believers, and we want to see people go to the movies and be inspired.”
Countless lives have been changed through the ministry of Provident Films. “We could talk for the next year and half about all the lives that have been changed,” said Kris. After releasing Facing the Giants, the Provident Films team received a special reminder of their purpose. “There was a big manila envelope in the mail filled with letters from inmates in a Texas prison about how the movie had changed their lives and helped them to realize that they needed to take a different path.”
There is no question: the ministry of Provident Films is in the life-changing business. Rather than avoiding the cultural issues threatening twenty-first century Americans, popular movies including FIREPROOF and October Baby deal with the giant issues of divorce and abortion and give answers to the “what if” questions confronting homes and families. Bottom line, lives are miraculously changed through this ministry.
A Closer Look at Provident Films
Recently appearing on the Mike Huckabee radio show, October Baby director, Jon Erwin, recounted a small taste of why he created this movie. “I had no idea that the words “abortion” and “survivor” could go together,” he said. “[The idea for this movie] didn’t come through an agenda; I encountered the truth through a story of an abortion survivor… I was so shattered by the truth and so moved by her story that I felt I had to do something about it.” And that is the heartbeat of Provident Films.
“The challenge is to find a good story,” said Kris Fuhr. “We look for a story that will appeal to the whole family, that has warmth and humor, and that shows people living their lives faithfully in an authentic way. We want to see people struggling with their faith, because as Christians, we should struggle with our faith every day. None of us are perfect, and part of our relationship with Christ is that ongoing struggle to be faithful and to walk in the way the Lord would have us walk. We love stories that show people doing that.”
Employing the New Testament formula of parables, Provident Films actively uses the movie industry to promote Christian living, biblical principles, and lifestyle morality.
"People connect with who they see on the screen. It helps them to then use that movie to make a change in their own lives and to recommend it to others to make changes in their lives! They see authenticity [and that is our goal]."Kris Fuhr
Operating within the pleasure-driven Hollywood industry is no small task for a faith-based company, but Provident Films has found the key to success. “We are a Sony company, and we work with our partners, but I do think that in general, Hollywood looks at us and [wonders how we do it],” said Kris.“We consistently open our movies in the top ten, if not in the top five. We roll up our sleeves, work hard, and pray over everything. We have a unity of purpose, because we are thinking of the people who are going to see the film and whose lives are going to be changed.”
The Real Davids Facing the Giants
Recent communications with moviegoers prove that lives are being changed every day through the vibrant ministry of Provident Films. “After watching Courageous,” said a recent viewer, “our purpose was not only to reconcile a marriage on the brink of divorce, but to create a ‘family’ resolution. We haven’t taken our roles seriously enough to search out Scripture to live it out God’s way. Nearly 22 years of doing things our own way, selfishly and blindly, we decided that not only should Dad be a Godly example, but that our entire family should too! It’s a start.”
The heart of Provident Films beats to effect change. It exists to drive people to their knees, seek restitution, and raise the questions that are confronting American society. Every day, millions of Americans check out of reality and enter the world created for them upon the screen. For many people, the movie industry is a welcome two-hour release from the problems facing their everyday lives. Not willing to simply be a form of entertainment, Provident Films yearns to change the global home.
According to a 2012 press release, “In the Philippines, 1,000 [law enforcement] officers dedicated their lives to Christ following a screening of Courageous that drew 4,000 people. In Panama, 700 police officers drove four hours to see the film. In Baton Rouge, LA, the chief of police offered to personally cover the cost for any of the city’s 630 officers wanting to see Courageous. In San Angelo, Texas, Downtown San Angelo Inc. offered a free showing of Courageous in honor of Police Week.” Truly, Provident Films is affecting change.
“This business is not for the faint of heart. It is a high-risk business,” said Kris. “When we are bogged down in the minutia of the films, we think about the people whose lives will be changed by it. When I go to the theater and watch these movies, we cry like a baby every time! It is so amazing to see people’s lives changed right there in the theater.”
Every movie produced by Provident Films has a purpose and is created with American families in mind. Whether struggling with addictions, facing the giants of divorce or infidelity, confronting the harsh reality of unplanned pregnancies, or living with peer pressure, the stories told through these movies reach into the hearts of individuals and truly minister to the need.
Provident Films is not going anywhere. They will continue to produce a pipeline of character-based films for this generation and many to come. God has blessed the efforts of the company and continues to provide the resources for future films while sustaining the interest of the American public. By standing up to the Hollywood movie industry, Provident Films maintains their commitment to moral, entertaining films that teach lessons and promote biblical family unity.
"It’s God. There is no other explanation [for the success of Provident Films]. We serve a big God."Kris Fuhr