Posts Tagged ‘film production’

Story by David Powers. Photos provided by Belltower Pictures, Inc.

SHOOTING THE PRODIGAL premieres.The world premiere of SHOOTING THE PRODIGAL was the red-carpet opening night feature of the Richmond International Film Festival March 3. And Richmond’s First Baptist Church can feel the pride of new parents as we watch this film take its first steps and begin to have an impact in the world.

First Baptist cultivated and nurtured the project through six years of development. We prayed, encouraged, helped raise the money, participated in the development of the script and production company, joined the cast and crew during principal photography, loaned equipment and facilities, and we turned out in force for the world premiere.

And now, as the film begins to appear in theaters, DVD players and on computer screens around the world, we can continue to pray that God will use this movie to communicate His message: “Love one another.”

Belltower Pictures, Inc., the production company, is headquartered in First Baptist’s Pusey House, across Park Avenue from the main church building. Upon retiring after 20 years on the FBC staff, I have the honor of serving as President of the non-profit company.

SHOOTING THE PRODIGAL premieres.We are partnering with Tugg, Inc. to bring the film to audiences on a cinema-on-demand basis. Individuals, groups and organizations can set up screenings in their local theaters and share a percentage of the ticket sales. We are also offering screening licenses for churches, schools and other groups who want to show the film on their campuses. You may find details at shootingtheprodigal.com/host-a-screening/.

Belltower has also signed an agreement with Virgil Films and Entertainment for North American DVD, digital, broadcast, and ancillary distribution. We anticipate the film will begin to hit the street on those platforms in late summer.

In the meantime, we will begin development of our next project… and, of course, as all non-profits must do, we will continue raising the funds to continue this mission to “entertain, inspire and tell great stories that reveal spiritual truth.”


SHOOTING THE PRODIGAL premieres.Editor’s note
Just announced: Shooting the Prodigal is a Gold Award winner for Narrative Feature in the Winter 2016 International Independent Film Awards.

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By David Powers. Photos by Barbara Mait and David Powers.

When the film “SHOOTING THE PRODIGAL” begins production in June, Richmond’s First Baptist Church will play several major roles: birthplace of the concept, incubator of the film’s development, major financial supporter, location of the production company office, and “home church” to many of the film’s volunteers, cast and crew.

Shooting the ProdigalThe idea for the film began to take shape in 2010, when I served as the church’s Associate Pastor, Ministry of Communication. It grew out of the success of two major Christmas TV specials we produced in 1998 and 2003, and a desire to tell a great story with a positive influence in our increasingly secular culture. That idea was nurtured and encouraged by Jim Somerville, friends, staff colleagues, and the church’s Communication Team.

Over many months of thinking, praying and writing, FBC members Matthew Brown, Deborah Hocutt and I began to develop the concept and eventually a screenplay. But that script was far from what eventually emerged after Dr. Somerville’s brother, Gray, made a suggestion: “You should make a movie about a church making a movie about the parable of the prodigal son!” That sparked our imaginations. Deborah and I continued working and writing a new screenplay, which became the comedy we’ll begin shooting June 22.

Belltower Pictures board

Belltower Pictures board members

With the leadership of the FBC Communication Team, we set up an independent, non-profit production company, Belltower Pictures. Six of the company’s seven board members are FBC members (Paul Bickford, Kim Boys, Elizabeth Norton, Jerry Cardwell, Steve Martin, and myself). Our vision is to “entertain and inspire… telling great stories that reveal spiritual truth.” We hope this film will be the first of many.

The production of a motion picture is an expensive undertaking. So we turned our attention to fundraising. The FBC Endowment Fund was the first to commit funding. So far, there have been 28 financial backers, 15 of them are FBC members. We’ve raised enough money to begin production. We need more to pay for editing, marketing and distribution, so we’ll continue fundraising efforts as we move into production.

In addition to making a great film, we hope to accomplish two other goals: provide a way for folks from many different congregations to work together on a meaningful project; and provide a hands-on training experience for people who want to join the growing film industry workforce in Virginia.

So we’re reaching out to other churches to join us in all aspects of production.
We’re also offering volunteer and internship opportunities to high school and college students.

office space

Preparing office space

We’re setting up an office in the unused space on the third floor of the Pusey House. Now we’re recruiting volunteers, finding locations for the film, and assembling the cast and crew. And, of course, raising the rest of the money.

There is plenty of room for more FBC members to appear in the credits. Obviously, we need actors, extras and crew members. But we also need volunteers in a wide range of areas: office and administrative, website and social media, food service, security, transportation, props, wardrobe, hair and makeup. We need people who can work all or part of the 18 days of principal photography beginning June 22. And we need folks who can help during preproduction between now and then.

BTP-logo-black-CMYKWant to join the party? Email me at dpowers@Belltowerpictures.com. Or visit the website to see a fun promotional video, get more details and sign up for regular email updates: http://www.Belltowerpictures.com.

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