Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Church Movie Night Part 1 of 2

Jim David ordered "The Imposter" for his church a year ago.  Since then we have communicated back and forth a lot and so I asked him if he would be willing to answer a few questions about how and why he created this unique ministry for his church.

His church, Willoughby Hills Friends Church in Ohio has this as their Cinema of Faith mission statement:

The Cinema of Faith ministry offers an ecumenical outreach to fellow churches as well as the community as a whole to provide a resource for Christian family entertainment. The films are not only entertaining but are seeded with biblical truths and illustrate the love of Jesus. Our hope is that you leave these films feeling entertained, inspired, and perhaps take a thought or idea to contemplate.

What is it that you do for your church?
I started a ministry with friend Ben Landfeld (a Christian from Czech Republic) called Cinema of Faith.  Each month we show a quality faith-based film with a Christian theme. Rather than just darken the room and hit play, we try to best duplicate the “movie” experience starting with a pre-show that has constant media on the screen with new or future film previews, or some behind the scenes of a previous film we have shown (I found that if we “half darken” the room and have fresh current content, we get more people coming in sooner, and makes coming and going less intrusive).

Then we have a short film that starts promptly at 6:30pm which can run between 10 and 30 minutes (we fill any extra time between the short film and feature with additional relevant content).  Finally at 7pm, Ben comes on stage to welcome everyone, make announcements, and talk a little about the evening’s film.  Then we go right into a “theater like” Coming Attractions reel followed by the Feature Presentation (the coming attractions give a little extra time to latecomers as well).  I have a good friend in the music business from Nashville who put together a drum & bass stinger for this portion to again help mimic the cinematic experience.

After the show we accept a “free–will” offering and sometimes sell DVD’s to help support the ministry( this is not intrusive – rather we just place the offering plates by the exit doors). From a financial standpoint, there are license fees that range from $100-$300/per film, as well as internal marketing expenses, and our main goal financially is to just break even.

Why did you decide to start doing this?

I’ve always had a passion for film media and used to be an editor by trade. When I began digging deeper into my faith 6 years ago, I started seeking out any good Christian media I could find. At that point, I wanted to learn more deeply about my faith. Although I had been brought up in the church, I never really “owned” my faith and really started that journey shortly after my father died in 2004.

The first thing that really grabbed me was when I discovered the “Matthew” film which is a word for word (NIV) dramatization of the Book of Matthew. I found that the film really spoke to me as the pages of the Bible came to life in front of my eyes. I then started seeking more and more. There is a lot of “dated” Christian film out there that the average secular and church audience would gloss over, but I have watched most of it - the good with the not so good, mainly feeding the Bible teachings into me through media. I began to find some wonderful Christian films that most people had never heard of, and I wanted to find a way to share these great films. My good friend Ben Landfeld believed in the vision as well.

We were encouraged and supported by the Teaching pastor at our church, who believed in the idea, and it just began to build from there. The main reason was to let the average Christian and non-Christian alike know that there are some great movies out there that most have never heard of (sleepers I believe is the term). I wanted to raise awareness of the level of quality that is available.

I also wanted to provide our church, neighboring churches, and the community as a whole the opportunity to attend a free film once a month. The film that started everything was on called “The Perfect Stranger” which was an independent film made in Louisville, KY, by Kellys Filmworks & City On A Hill Productions. We actually sold tickets for this first film as we decided to present it “dinner theater” style, so the ticket cost covered the catering cost. We limited the event to 100 tickets as a pilot/test, and sold out. We had such a great reaction to the film that we continued on a monthly basis in the church worship center as free to all who could attend, and we have been showing a film every month ever since.


  1. Has the Imposter CD sold out? I would like to order it, but can only find the DVD on the website. I also don't see a "contact us" button there. Thank you!

    ssdavis at cox dot net

  2. I'll send you an email, but the CD is available here:

  3. I am the producer of Dialtone, an indy Christian film that has been in film festivals, is being sold in Family Christian Bookstores and is on Netflix. Any comment on how Cinema of Faith might consider Dialtone as part of their lineup?