Do You Believe? starring Ted McGinley as Pastor Matthew is the latest film from Pure Flix. Photo courtesy of Pure Flix

Pure Flix aims to bring ‘culture of Christ’ to the film industry

By 
  • March 28, 2015

David A. R. White and Michael Scott fell in love with movies at Church. Both grew up as pastor’s kids (or PKs as Scott likes to call it) and had regular movie nights at their respective churches, enjoyable nights that brought the whole community together.

These memories planted the seed for Pure Flix Entertainment, a Christian-based film production and distribution company that began in 2005. White and Scott had known each other for about seven years, through church in Los Angeles. White had been producing faith-based films and Scott had been working in the secular film industry, producing commercials and other things.

“I always wanted to combine the media and my faith together because I thought it was such an incredible platform to be able to share the Gospel out into the world,” said Scott.

Scott also brought in his movie producer friend Russell Wolfe, who was a member of Scott’s father’s congregation since 1994. The three became partners working to create “a culture of Christ” through the medium they loved.

“In Hollywood, they always preach story, story, story,” said Scott. “For us, we are looking for films that have an incredible message that challenges people... and when you combine the message and the story together, that’s when I think you get these films that really break out and become bigger hits.”

Following the box-office success of last year’s film God’s Not Dead, Pure Flix Entertainment is now looking to make an impact in the mainstream film industry. The film was still fairly small compared to many Hollywood films. With a budget of about $2 million, it earned more than $60 million worldwide.

Pure Flix releases about 20 films year with more than 100 movie titles in its library. Most are straight-to-DVD films. God’s Not Dead was the studio’s first mainstream theatrical release, but White said this is only the beginning.

“It was important for us not to just do one big theatrical (release) and then wait for another three years and do another one,” said White. “Our model was to put out consistent content on an ongoing basis... When God’s Not Dead came up, we really felt like this was the one we could go wider on.”

Pure Flix is hoping to repeat last year’s success with its new film Do You Believe?, released March 20 in theatres across North America. Pure Flix is planning a few other film releases in the summer and fall, with God’s Not Dead 2 set for release in spring 2016.

“We live in a sight and sound generation,” said White. “What we wanted to do is to have an alternative to what Hollywood is putting out on a consistent basis.”

Pure Flix’s main headquarters is located in Scottsdale, Arizona, with about 30 people on staff. It also has smaller offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. White said that from the very beginning, they wanted the company to make quality faith-based films. They also wanted to help create opportunities for other filmmakers who want to make this kind of content.

“Going through the studio system sometimes is a tough deal, especially when your content is overtly Christian,” said White. “So our goal was to unite a lot of those (Christian) producers together and help them get their product out there.”

In addition to producing and distributing faith-based films, Pure Flix is unique because of its network of church ministries that supports Pure Flix’s own movie ministry.

Pure Flix Movie Ministry creates film library kits for churches to use when organizing movie events for their congregation. Pure Flix provides a package with a DVD of one of its films, some promotional flyers and film study guides to help prompt group conversations after watching the movie. White said the ministry had always been an important part of the company, especially because movie nights at church were an important part of his childhood. “(Scott and I) grew up watching movies in churches and that was important to us to bring the churches these films and be able to use them as outreach tools to reach into their community who might not normally come to church, but they would come to see a movie night,” he said.

It was through these church connections that the company grew. More and more churches across the United States bought its films and used its film study workbooks to get the community together to talk about the Gospel.

Pure Flix is looking to do the same for the Canadian church community, inviting “church influencers” to advance screenings of Do You Believe? two weeks before its commercial release.

Scott said Pure Flix is also looking at expanding to interna- tional church communities. He said it is working on a top 10 list of countries to reach out to, including South Africa, Australia, Korea, the United Kingdom and many areas in Latin America.

It is also planning to launch a digital platform for Pure Flix in April that might resemble the Netflix platform, said White.

“I always say that if you have a dream in your heart, make it bigger than you so that you can’t accomplish it by yourself and then you’ll know that it’s God’s dream for you,” said White. “Ultimately, Pure Flix is our dream that God put in our hearts and it’s certainly bigger than us. It’s been incredible to see how it’s grown and gone out to all over the world in really neat ways that only the Holy Spirit can do.”

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