This fabulous review is from our dear friend Rhonda in GA. Much appreciated, Rhonda!!!
I recently had the pleasure of watching Kevin Sorbo‘s new movie, ”God’s Not Dead,” and can only say that it is a movie that everyone should and needs to see! This was the first time I had been in a movie theater in many years and I was not disappointed.
Although there are four stories interwoven in the film, the main one involves a college freshman (played by Shane Harper) who is challenged by his atheist professor (played brilliantly by Kevin Sorbo) to prove to his philosophy class that God exists or get a failing grade. Josh (Harper) accepts the challenge, knowing full well that a failing grade will all but end his chances of getting into law school.
Aside from his professor, (Josh) also faces opposition from his girlfriend and his parents, but, he is undeterred in his mission because he believes it is something God wants him to do. In a series of three debates, he presents his case.
Sorbo’s Christianity has long been common knowledge, so it was awesome to see him play such a challenging role: that of someone whose beliefs are totally opposite his own. He did an excellent job in the role, and the voice inflections throughout the debates reflected the professor’s dogmatic insistence that he was right and everyone else was wrong.
The other stories involved a Muslim girl hiding her Christian faith from her strict father, a blogger and her corporate exec boyfriend, who break up over the news that she has cancer. The exec and his sister, who just happens to be dating the atheist professor, must also deal with their Alzheimer’s-stricken mother. All of these stories come together against the backdrop of a concert headed up by Christian group, The Newsboys.
I’ve discussed this movie with family and several friends on Facebook and we all agree: the ending was totally unexpected!
I strongly urge you to see this movie with your friends and family – it will make you think about your beliefs. It is a must see and a sure-fire box office winner!
(Images courtesy of “God’s Not Dead” movie)
Pure Flix Entertainment’s faith-based film, “God’s Not Dead,” starring Kevin Sorbo (“Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” “Andromeda,” “What If…”) opens this Friday, March 21, in the U.S. Its stellar cast also features Shane Harper (“High School Musical 2,” “Flipped”), David A.R. White (“Six: The Mark Unleashed”), Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”), and special appearances by Christian super-band Newsboys and Willie and Korie Robertson (“Duck Dynasty”).
The upcoming cinematic release, written by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman and directed by Harold Cronk, strikes at the hearts of religious believers and non-believers when a dogmatic, argumentative, atheist college instructor, Professor Radisson (Sorbo), states on his class’s first day that he requires his philosophy students to disavow the existence of God or face a failing grade.
“This semester,” says Radisson, “I propose that we refuse to waste our limited time together debating the existence of the ‘Big Man in the Sky.’ Fill in the papers I’ve just given you with three little words: God is dead.”
Freshman Josh Wheaton (Harper), a devout Christian, maintains that he cannot conform to Radisson’s request by openly declaring, “I can’t do what you want… I’m a Christian.”
Radisson then challenges Wheaton to a classroom debate: If Wheaton wins he will pass the course; if he fails, his below average grade will forever tarnish his scholastic record.
This sets the stage for the exciting movie that brings to the forefront Christianity versus Atheism in today’s world fraught with spiritual questions.
Sorbo kindly provided a few insights regarding “God’s Not Dead” in a recent interview with this writer.
“I don’t want to preach to the choir about this movie,” said Sorbo. “I hope the choir goes to see the movie, of course, but, I really want to reach those fence-sitters out there. This is a movie for all faiths and all of those who don’t believe. It is a good story that will touch those who are looking for something but don’t know what that something is.”
Sorbo, who is not unfamiliar with the faith-based movie genre, having won the Movieguide® Grace Award for “Most Inspiring Performance in Movies in 2010” for his astounding portrayal of Ben Walker in “What If…” and was nominated for two Movieguide® awards for the movie, “Soul Surfer,” explained what attracted him to this controversial role.
“As it is with all scripts I read,” Sorbo stated, “it has to hold my interest. I give scripts 20 pages. If I am not hooked by then, I pass on the project.
“I loved the (‘God’s Not Dead’) story, the message (and) the character. (It was) fun to play a man that is so far from what I am that I couldn’t resist.”
Sorbo, a devout Christian who was reared Lutheran, clearly overcame his antithetical character. How?
“(It) wasn’t that difficult,” maintained Sorbo. “I have atheist friends, and I just tapped into the conversations I have had with them. And it is a very well-written script, so, that made it pretty easy as well.”
Sorbo is well-known in Hollywood’s Christian faith circle, having appeared on the television ministry program, “Hour of Power,” that broadcasts from the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, CA, and the 700 Club. What does he hope to accomplish with “God’s Not Dead”?
“Because it will make (people) think,” the former Hercules strongman replied. “It will create conversations on all sides of this issue and, hopefully, make those who are non-believers at least consider the possibility that there is something out there that is bigger than they are.”
Please see the “God’s Not Dead” website here: http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/
Check out this awesome video!
(Images and video courtesy of “God’s Not Dead” movie)
The production team of Kipp Tribble and Derik Wingo presents a new, innovative movie concept called, “Chronology,” a pair of films with different, yet intertwining stories that contain elements of psychological thriller, horror, science fiction, the supernatural and romance. “Chronology” is also an ensemble character drama starring Kevin Sorbo and featuring Bruce Davison that questions the relationship between time and space and brings graphic novels to the silver screen.
Tribble’s companion screenplays comprise the lives of two men: Aaron and Jacob. One follows Aaron, who attends a New Year’s Eve 1999 party during which he momentarily leaves a room then returns claiming to be Jacob and discovers that Aaron disappeared six years prior from the same house. The other covers Jacob, the flip-side of Aaron’s tale.
Tribble and Wingo decided to use the popular crowdfunding website, Kickstarter, to raise money for their movie.
**The deadline is Saturday, October 19, 2013, to make a pledge!!!**
The duo kindly answered a few questions about this exciting project.
SW: How did you get involved with this project?
DW: Kipp and I have been “partners in crime” for over a decade. This has been a project in development for almost as long. It’s truly a brilliant story created and written by Kipp. I’ve helped out in the rewriting process, giving notes, feedback, etc. For many years now, we’ve been developing it together for the screen. It’s been one of our babies… one of the projects we’re most passionate about.
KT: The story was originally just about Aaron. In the story, Aaron disappears from a New Year’s Eve party and returns several years later, now claiming to be a man named Jacob. It quickly became apparent that we also needed to tell Jacob’s side of the story. Once the draft was finished, I had a 170-page script on my hands, which is way too long for a feature, so we hit upon the idea to do two films. Each one tells one side of the story, but neither are sequels or prequels, so you can watch them in either order. From the beginning, Derik and I knew we would direct and produce the films, so we’ve always operated with that in mind.
While these are not time travel films, people suddenly being displaced in time is a large part of the stories. Some of history’s greatest thinkers have debated time travel for years, and some people have claimed to lose time and/or travel via a time slip. We touch on many of these ideas, including the dark matter in our galaxy that is blamed for unexplained happenings throughout history. It’s been fun to take some of these topics and apply them to our stories while adding our own spin on these ideas.
SW: Is there any symbolism with the names Jacob and Aaron?
KT: There was no special significance other than I wanted to give them Biblical names.
SW: Why November 31?
KT: The story was always going to be a winter-set story around the holidays. The visions that Aaron and Jacob share in the days leading up to their disappearances include a date that is scrawled on a prison wall. The date was removed from the calendar by the church after the execution in 1581 in their attempt to “erase” the events of that day. So those things all considered, 11/31 are the numbers that appear like scratch marks on a wall, and October and December already have 31 days, so 11/31 became the date.
SW: What about the graphic novels?
DW: You know when you’re on a special project like “Chronology” because it begins to take on a life of its own. It happens as people start joining in to help and bring new ideas to a project.
As Kipp and I sought to bring to life the story of “Chronology” through storyboards, concept art, etc, we began collaborating with the wonderful artists at Shadowmark Productions, (who), in addition to storyboards specialize in graphic novels. It wasn’t long before brainstorming sessions began to broaden as we discussed the complex backstories. Before we knew it we were discussing that as the films themselves are companion pieces, what if there was a companion graphic novel series as well to really expand on the stories of all the characters and phenomenons touched on in the films…
And stay tuned, we’re even conceptualizing beyond the films and possibly expanding “Chronology“ into an exciting series (shhhh… still very much in the developmental stage).
KT: There are backstories that are touched on in the films, but not fully explored. For instance, a man executed by the church in 1581 is discussed, but we won’t learn the full extent of how he is connected to this time rift phenomenon over 400 years later until his graphic novel.
This represents some of the stories we will be exploring in the graphic novels, including introducing new characters that are also experiencing this phenomenon. And yes, we are already hammering out ideas for a TV series!
SW: Why should people contribute; i.e., what makes this film so great other than that Kevin Sorbo is in it?
DW: Well, yes, obviously seeing Kevin (which is the biggest reason)…
Kevin says it best in the video, “Projects of this nature, which are so daring and unique, require a special type of financing…” This is absolutely true – it IS a unique and innovative project, and would be considered too big of a risk for most studios, executives, financiers, etc. And further, would stand very little chance of being produced as an independent film (we know, we’ve been trying for years). The new rise in crowdfunding, specifically, Kickstarter, provides an incredible opportunity and platform for films such as these to be financed (and) supported by fans, friends and family, in a sense, giving the audience a voice in what they want to see… a choice in entertainment that speaks to them. Also, instead of simply spectating, I think it gives the audience, fans, etc. a sense of participation and excitement in being a part of a project and making it yours. We invite and support that sentiment, that sense of community. We’ve also included dozens of fun and even enriching rewards as just a small token of our great appreciation.
KT: The idea of companion films is something different and has excited us for some time now. But, like Derik said, getting funding for a project like this can be very challenging, so in order to continue seeing films and TV series produced that bring a fresh approach to the medium, we all have to join together and support these types of projects. We’d love to see more of the “little guys” getting their films financed, and crowdfunding provides us with those opportunities.
When you decide to join us, we’ve included step-by-step instructions at the bottom of the Kickstarter page on how to donate and help bring “Chronology” to life.
Please help us surpass our goal and share with us in making “Chronology” a great movie experience. We sincerely thank all of you for your generous contributions…
Are you ready to go on this journey with us?!
Here is the Kickstarter link to donate: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1933428003/chronology/pledge/new?clicked_reward=false
CHRONOLOGY OFFICIAL KICKSTARTER VIDEO STARRING KEVIN SORBO
GRAPHIC NOVEL TEASER VIDEO, FEATURING DYON’S STORY
JOHNNY ALONSO TALKS ABOUT WORKING WITH KIPP & DERIK
(Images and videos courtesy of Kevin Sorbo, Kipp Tribble and Derik Wingo, and Shadowmark Productions)
The faith-based film, Soul Surfer, directed by Sean McNamara, premiered Friday, April 8, in theaters nationwide. McNamara, one of the movie’s co-writers, based his screenplay on Bethany Hamilton’s 2004 biography, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board.
The inspirational film, featuring Kevin Sorbo as Holt Blanchard, the man credited with saving Hamilton’s life, documents competitive teen surfer Hamilton’s struggle to regain not just her life, but also her status as a world-class sportswoman following a fatal shark attack.
“It’s a wonderful story based on the life of Bethany Hamilton,” said Sorbo. “She was 13-years-old when she was attacked by a 15-foot tiger shark while surfing and lost her left arm.”
Hamilton almost died. But, due to her inner strength, persistence, ambition and faith in God, she overcame all odds to once again compete, and became one of the world’s top-ranking female athletes, which she remains to this day.
“It is a triumph-over-tragedy story,” Sorbo continued. “This young girl was attacked by a shark. She lost her arm! She didn’t wallow in self-pity. She didn’t blame the world. She took this as a sign from God to spread His word. And with news of her attack spreading quickly around the world, she knew this was a gift. At 13!! She jumped back on a surfboard three weeks later and trained herself to surf with one arm. She is 20-years-old now and ranks in the top 10 surfers in the world!
“I play Holt Blanchard, best friend to Tom Hamilton, Bethany’s father played by Dennis Quaid. Holt was in the water with Bethany when the attack took place and saved her life. Doctors said another two minutes later and she would have been dead. She had lost 60% of her blood at that point.”
The movie also stars Helen Hunt, AnnaSophia Robb, Lorraine Nicholson, Carrie Underwood, Jeremy Sumpter, Ross Thomas, Sonya Balmores Chung and Chris Brochu.
See the website for more information: http://www.soulsurferthemovie.com/
(Photos courtesy of Noah Hamilton, Tristar Pictures, and Kevin Sorbo;
Video courtesy of Kevin Sorbo)
Kevin Sorbo leads an all-star cast in a faith-based film entitled, What If…, that has its World Television Premiere this Sunday, January 30, at 7 p.m. ET, on the Gospel Music Channel (gmc). It subsequently airs at 9 and 11 p.m. ET on the same U.S. station.
The full-length movie, distributed by Pure Flix Entertainment and produced by Jenkins Entertainment, also features John Ratzenberger, Kristy Swanson, Debby Ryan, and Taylor Groothuis. It tells the story of how successful, highly-paid, betrothed to a trophy fiancée business executive Ben Walker (Sorbo) travels back in time to find his true purpose and rectify mistakes he made during his life’s journey.
“It was a wonderful film I shot last summer (2009) in Michigan,” explained Sorbo in an earlier interview. “It’s a really nice faith-based type film with a great message. It’s a reverse of It’s a Wonderful Life where Ratzenberger is this curmudgeon angel who shows up to show me how I just really screwed up my life. It’s a tear-jerker, a comedy, (and) it’s got a lot of good things.”
Walker experiences a time warp, resulting in a present that avails him to a “What if I had done this…” existence. He finds himself, thanks to Mike the Angel (Ratzenberger), married with children about which he is astonished and unhappy. Despite his protestations, he accompanies Wendy (Swanson), his first love and former fiancée, and two daughters (Ryan, Groothuis) to church to discover that he’s its new pastor, thereby, following his previous destiny.
What If… documents Walker’’s journey as he reestablishes his faith in God, as well as realizes true love and the importance of family.
“Pastor Ben was an interesting character for me to play,” Sorbo said. “There were a lot of levels to his evolution into the man he should have been. It was just a fantastic part for any actor to play.
“He starts out as a pretty decent guy with strong Christian values. In the following 15 years he morphs into someone he never thought he would be, but, loves his life: the hot babes, the money, the career, the cars, the pad, etc. When confronted with an angel he is blown away to find out this is not a dream, but real, and has to peel all those layers he put on over those 15 years to rediscover who he used to be, but, now has more life experience to draw from.”
Clearly, Sorbo is establishing himself as a serious actor, somewhat distancing himself from his days as an action hero in the roles that made him famous like the popular Hercules in the television syndicated series, “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” and Captain Dylan Hunt in “Andromeda.” His recent stint as Drake Hunter in the Hallmark Channel’s made-for-television movie, The Santa Suit, in which he portrayed a modern day Ebenezer Scrooge, is still receiving many accolades.
How did the character of Drake Hunter, who transforms from a bitter, egotistic businessman, differ from Ben Walker?
“There are similarities for sure,” admitted Sorbo, “but, there is a difference between them. Ben isn’t a jerk, just an ambitious guy who likes the finer things in life that money and success brings. Drake never relaxes and enjoys himself. Ben has friends and is an outgoing guy who is biz smart.”
Watch What If… on gmc this Sunday, January 30, premiering at 7, 9, and 11 p.m.
Additional airings (ET):
Monday, January 31, at 9 p.m.
Tuesday, February 1, at 11 p.m.
Friday, February 4, at 8 and 10 p.m.
Sunday, February 6, at 5 p.m.
See the gmc website for more information:
(Photos courtesy of Jenkins Entertainment)
The Gospel Music Channel (gmc) presents the World Television Premiere of What If… on Sunday, January 30, at 7 p.m. ET, preceding its March 1, 2011, DVD release. The faith-based film, which originally played* in theaters nationwide to rave reviews, stars Kevin Sorbo, John Ratzenberger, Kristy Swanson, Debby Ryan, and newcomer, Taylor Groothuis. The movie encores at 9 and 11 p.m. ET that night.
Distributed by Pure Flix Entertainment and produced by Jenkins Entertainment, What If… is the combined effort of Scriptwriter/Executive Producer Jerry B. Jenkins, author of the Left Behind series and Riven, and his son, Director/Producer, Dallas, who directed the short films, Cliché and Midnight Clear. Together they created this wonderful, uplifting family feature that began shooting in mid-2009 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
What If… depicts the journey of highly-paid executive Ben Walker (Sorbo) as he travels into his past to discover a very different life, one that he forsook 15 years prior. He leaves behind his business career, trophy fiancée, and new Mercedes and replaces them with the simplicity of marriage and children, as well as fulfills his destiny.
“I loved the script, plain and simple,” Sorbo explained. “I liked the story, (and) the cast and crew all worked for virtually nothing. We got involved because of the story. It’s just wonderful! This is a movie that will touch people in many ways and give them a roller coaster of emotions that will leave them wanting more.”
Walker’s adventure begins with a joyride in his newly-purchased car that malfunctions, leaving him stranded. A mysterious time-beat later he finds himself miles away from his destination and just outside of the town he left 15 years earlier. A passing tow truck driver (Ratzenberger) offers to help, then confesses that he’s an angel sent from God to rectify Walker’s decision to leave the ministry and Wendy, the woman he loved (Swanson), to pursue his present situation.
Mike the Angel drops him into the middle of domestic chaos surrounded by Wendy and two young girls (Ryan, Groothuis) whom he soon discovers are his wife and daughters. Confused and reluctant to accept his familial role, Walker tries to convince them that he doesn’t belong there. When he finally acquiesces, they drag him to church where he is its new pastor. But, unbeknownst to him he must accept this reality in order to return to his old life, and thus, begins his journey of faith, family, and love.
“The performances are terrific; especially Kevin, who I think will surprise people with his performance,” stated Dallas Jenkins. “The film has a lot of heart and a great message about faith and family without being preachy. I’m also fairly certain you’ll laugh and cry!”
The pair hopes that the gmc airing will generate an avid audience, especially since What If…will no longer appear in theaters following its March, 2011, DVD launch. The television network also wants to promote the movie’s sales, as well as increase its own viewership.
“Hopefully, it will create stronger word-of-mouth publicity. The film has been out in the theaters since August and is still cruising along,” said Sorbo. “There is no big studio behind it pushing it with a big advertising campaign… just word-of-mouth. It’s pretty impressive, actually. Too bad it doesn’t have that studio push, since it would be a much bigger hit than it is right now. I am hoping that the T.V. premiere will make people want to get the video when it comes out this spring to share with other friends and family.
“What If… is touching, funny, inspirational, sad and enlightening. Make your bowl of popcorn and let the problems of the world go away. Enjoy and be motivated to do something positive with your life!”
“Fans should buy What If… at amazon.com or Walmart, or it should be available at most outlets,” Jenkins added. “It will be available in Europe eventually, (but) I’m not sure when or where yet.”
The gmc network features music and inspirational stories for the whole family. It’s the only T.V. network with every program certified as “family safe” by the Parents Television Council.
Additional air dates (ET):
Monday, January 31, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, February 1, 11 p.m.
Friday, February 4, 8 and 10 p.m.
Sunday, February 6, 5 p.m.
*See this link for the current theater schedule: http://thewhatifmovie.com/theaters-3
Visit the following for more information:
(Photos and video courtesy of Jenkins Entertainment)
The Hallmark Channel continues its Christmas coverage on Thursday, December 2, with the HallmarkChannel Original Movie World Premiere of “The Santa Suit,” starring Kevin Sorbo. This heart-warming family film is a retelling of Charles Dickens’ infamous, A Christmas Carol, with a modern twist.
Instead of 19th century wealthy English curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge, the script by Kevin Commins offers America’s Hunter Toys’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Drake Hunter (Sorbo). Hunter possesses similar views as Scrooge toward humanity in that he places more emphasis on making money than caring for mankind. He devises a plan to increase sales during the Christmas holidays by dispatching shopping mall Santas throughout the city and ordering them to urge boys and girls that, “It isn’t a great toy, unless it’s from Hunter’s!”, thereby, goading their parents into purchasing more of his company’s products.
But, Santa Claus sees and disdains the idea, then dispatches his own brand of Christmas justice.
“My character is an arrogant guy who has inherited his father’s toy company, but, is all about the bottom line, cutting costs, etc,” Sorbo explained. “He is visited by the real Santa Claus and turns into him to find his inner Christmas spirit.”
Santa Claus decides to transform Hunter into his own image: the round-faced, protruding-bellied icon of today’s tradition complete with long, flowing white beard. However, Hunter doesn’t become the hero with a simple overnight change; he is mistaken for a vagabond and forced into a homeless shelter where, with no family or friends to worry about him, he befriends a social worker (Jodie Dowdall). Then in order to keep his place at the shelter he must find employment, which he ironically accepts as a shopping mall Santa.
Via his new job Hunter meets “latchkey kid” Gemma (Briana D’Aguanno), a young girl whose mother struggles to make ends meet by working double shifts at Hunter Toys. Her family’s situation, despite how hard and long her mother toils, leaves them impoverished.
Hunter, like Scrooge, finally realizes how much his life impacts others. He discovers that his toys actually bring joy to children and that his company possesses the potential to help those who work there if he provides them with hope and security for a better world.
Convinced that the stereotypical, cold-hearted Fortune 500 CEO grasps the idea of humanity versus profits, the real Santa returns Hunter to his original, but, improved self. Hunter proceeds to approach his newly found mission with enthusiasm and a joy to fulfill dreams!
“Drake Hunter seemed like a fun role to play,” said Sorbo, “and I was wanting to do a Christmas movie for my kids. It’s a touching, funny, romantic, sad, real Christmas story. You will love it!”
See “The Santa Suit” on the Hallmark Channel (listed times are ET): Thursday, December 2, 8 and 10 p.m.; Wednesday, December 8, 8 p.m.; Sunday, December 12, 2 p.m.; Monday, December 13, 8 a.m.; Sunday, December 19, 12 a.m.; Thursday, December 23, 6 a.m.; and Friday, December 24, 2 a.m.
Visit the Hallmark Channel website for more information: http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/thesantasuit/home
(Photos courtesy of the Hallmark Channel)
Enjoy this cute video clip. Thanks, Kevin!