ST. LOUIS • It’s not the message you might expect to hear from Rick Santorum, the Christian-conservative former presidential candidate: Faith-based films tend to be lousy, and Christians should quit trying to lock modern popular culture out of their lives.
Instead, Santorum says, Christian conservatives should acknowledge that modern popular culture is here to stay, and use that platform to produce Christian-themed films that will also have quality and popular appeal. It’s a strategy he says he intends to pursue in his new role as CEO of a ground-breaking faith-based film studio.
In an interview here, Santorum also stood by his strong views against same-sex marriage, citing the necessity to adhere to religious teachings — but then disputed his own religion’s leaders on the issue of immigration.
Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and darling of the religious right in the crowded GOP field for the 2012 presidential nomination, was in St. Louis Monday to promote his own foray into popular culture. He has been named CEO of EchoLight Studios, which bills itself as “the first movie company to produce, finance, market and distribute faith-based, family films across all releasing platforms.”
“For a long time, Christians have decided that the best way to fight the popular culture is to keep it at bay, to lock it out of their home. ... That’s a losing battle,” Santorum said in an interview at America’s Center Convention Complex, where he was attending the International Christian Retail Show.
With “the pervasiveness of (media) right now, the content just seeps through. The only option is to go out into that arena and try to shape the culture, too.”
Santorum said one problem with Christian-themed films was that they’ve traditionally been aimed at just Christian audiences, rather than attempting to appeal to audiences that don’t necessarily share the movie’s messaging going in.
He blamed that limited appeal on what he said were often the “hokey” and “cheesy” feel of such films, with all the filmmakers’ attention focused on the message and not enough on artistic quality.
“Quality. Quality acting, quality directing, quality scriptwriting. That is going to be a watchword for me,” Santorum said at an earlier news conference talking about the studio’s pending projects. He said the goal was to produce movies “that rival any good Hollywood film.” ...Read the rest at St. Louis Post-Dispatch