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Testimonies of Transforming Hollywood, Part 1
Backstage at the 18th Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Faith & Values Awards Gala
Interviews by Shirley Hunt, Krystal Grenseman, Ryan Reiter, Luke Sommer, and Tom Snyder
Transcripts by Victoria Kaplan and Shirley Hunt
Actress Jane Seymour of DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN, who presented the $100,000 Epiphany Prize for Most Inspiring Movie of 2009
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about why MOVIEGUIDE® is so important and why it’s important to be affiliated with family films?
JS: Well I’m a parent of six kids so every weekend we go to the movies and we try to see something that we can see as a family. And, of course there’s a place for, you know, action-packed movies and violent movies and movies that deal with the dark side of human nature, but I think it’s very important to be able to identify the movies that families can watch that are inspirational, that deal with the human condition, that are about love and about hope. Especially the times we’re in right now I think people want those movies.
Q: Has that inspired your jewelry line with your open heart?
JS: Yes. Well my mom, you know, was the one that really inspired me, but this came from my artwork and the idea that if your heart is open love will find its way in. And really opening your heart is something that belongs to every faith, and also, you know, great philosophers and great writers and poets. Everyone has one thing in common and that is to open your heart and I kind of felt that by being non-denominational this way maybe we could help people to process changing their lives and find a way to love one another.
JS: I think, as Dr. Baehr said, the numbers show it to you. People want these kind of movies. And, a lot of times, you know, people say oh, there’s just so much violence and so much bad language. You always have a choice. And the public chooses. The public decides, and if they happen to choose this kind of movie and make more money doing this, eventually I think Hollywood will listen and they’ll just have to make more of them.
Actor Stephen Baldwin
Q: We’re live backstage with Mr. Stephen Baldwin. Steven, it’s such a privilege and honor for MOVIEGUIDE to have you be a presenter for us. Can you tell us a reason why MOVIEGUIDE is so important to families and viewers and people with interest in film?
SB: Yeah, it’s just neat for me too. It’s my fourth year back. I just really appreciate people like Dr. Ted Baehr who really don’t try to go out and receive any of the limelight or the recognition for such important work. MOVIEGUIDE is important because it really allows for not only people in the industry, but people in the culture as well, to understand the importance of the impact of certain content and certain material that’s coming out of Hollywood, from the movies to the television and all that, to give them a deeper understanding of the pros and cons and the positives and negatives of how it impacts us.
Q: How do you think movies can impact the culture of society today?
SB: I think pretty much everyone’s aware of the fact that the greatest medium for communication is the movie business. And, it’s just nice to have been here tonight. I ran into two or three producer friends of mine from the 20 years I’ve been working in Hollywood. And, they were here for the first time saying, “This is amazing, this is good stuff, this is very important information.” So, I just think as Dr. Baehr continues in his work and MOVIEGUIDE continues to grow and create more of an awareness, it just has that much more of a positive impact.
Q: Would you encourage families to have MOVIEGUIDE as a part of their decisive factor when viewing films?
SB: Absolutely! Listen, so much of the time, particularly – I have two teenaged daughters, seventeen and thirteen, and my thirteen year old is like, “Okay, Dad, well now I can go see that PG-13 movie.” And, as a Christian, there’s even a whole lot of stuff that’s in the content of those films that isn’t cool. So, it’s a bit of a struggle going back and forth with my daughter and trying to get her to understand that. But yes, MOVIEGUIDE and its information is very helpful and very informative to anybody who would use it as a resource to understand what is in these films and what the content is and what your kids are really seeing out there.
Q: So as a father, you trust MOVIEGUIDE with your daughters?
SB: Absolutely. I trust MOVIEGUIDE with providing me true and insightful information about what’s out there.
Q: What makes you keep coming back to the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards? What makes it important to you?
SB: I think that just the importance of continuing to communicate this information. All the work that Dr. Ted Baehr does and MOVIEGUIDE® does, it’s quite refreshing. Tonight is my fourth year here. I saw three producers that are old friends of mine over the last 20 years who had never been here before, and they all said the same thing: This is awesome; this is great; never knew about these guys; and, what I learned tonight was very impacting. So, that’s the reason I keep coming.
Actor Quinton Aaron, star of THE BLIND SIDE
Q: What do you think about MOVIEGUIDE® and its awards?
QA: I really appreciate this organization, because it’s the family films that keep the love and teach the values of love and faith and all of that, which needs to be recognized more, if I may say so. It’s so much negativity that’s out there in the world, and I feel that it’s a part of television and the negative stuff on television that’s been put out that influences that sort of evil. . . that goes on in the world. I would love to see more positive stuff being recognized more often, because it’s a great deal of influence on a lot of people. You know, the story of Michael Oher in THE BLIND SIDE, that happens all the time, but it’s just not recognized enough. And so a movie like that to influence so many people that it did, just imagine if a movie like that came out every year. This one movie has influenced the lives of so many people. If we would put out movies like that every year, because there are stories out there, similar and more inspirational. If we put out more movies like that, we could change the world.
Q: Why are family and faith values so important in film? What’s your perspective on that?
QA: Because a lot of people watch films nowadays and a lot of people tend to forget, you know, the true meaning of family and faith values. A lot of what goes on in the world today is sometimes because of what they see on TV. There’s so much negative stuff or violent stuff being put out that, you know, it can have some kind of influence on what’s being done in the world. Why not put out a lot more positive stuff that can also have an influence on what’s being done in the world?
Q: What do you think about giving the big award of the evening?
QA: I’m so honored right now, I can’t even explain how that feels. That has never happened. I wasn’t expecting it. Oh! I don’t know. Coming into this, all I knew coming into the awards ceremony was that I was going to be presenting some awards. And I knew that my movie was going to be honored, which – I was sitting at the table with the producers and directors, and I couldn’t tell them that they’re getting something tonight because I’m presenting it to them. So, I’m just sitting there like, “Oh, I don’t even know.” And then I didn’t even know that we were going to win the award of the night. So they said THE BLIND SIDE, I said “Oh! That’s us! Okay.” Oh man, it’s a dream come true. I’m so honored right now.
Q: Does coming here and getting several awards inspire you and your own career to do more movies like THE BLIND SIDE?
QA: Well, before tonight, the awards are just like it’s a bonus. It’s icing on the cake, and it’s also a drive for me to keep going. And it’s assuring me that I’m on the right path and to keep doing what I’m doing. But this is the field I want to be in, and I’m going to ride it until I can’t ride no more, you know? I’m going to keep doing it.
Q: Do you think you’ll have a second time with MOVIEGUIDE?
QA: I hope so. And a third and a fourth. I would love to come back every year.
Q: Congratulations. Thank you very much.
Actors Chris Massey and Kyle Massey
Q: Thanks for hosting the MOVIEGUIDE Awards again.
KM: No problem, dude.
Q: Was it fun?
KM: It was a blast man. The crowd was rolling. Everybody was having a good time. It was nothing but smiles. That’s the way we like it.
CM: The same.
Q: This is your second year of doing this. What do you think about the MOVIEGUIDE Awards and what their mission is?
KM: I think the MOVIEGUIDE Awards is like a real special award show for the sole reason that they actually honor all the people backstage other than the stars. And they actually honor them and thank them for their work, more so than just giving them an award.
CM: And it’s also thanking them for their work on family, you know. That’s really what this awards show is about. . . showing how you can really do good in the box office but make a family oriented movie.
Q: Is this inspiring for your own careers?
CM: Oh yeah, most definitely, ‘cause I want to get up there and get an award.
KM: Yeah, I want to accept an award.
Actress Kimberly Elise, winner of the Grace Award for Most Inspiring TV Action for GIFTED HANDS: THE BEN CARSON STORY
Q: What do the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards mean to you and your movie?
KE: There’s really no greater honor. I mean, this society is all about family and our children and how we raise them and bring them up. Film and television is so influential in that it’s almost like another, not parent, but just another influence on our children. So to be able to offer families a positive image of a mother, a loving mother who’s strong, it means a lot to me.
Q: Had you ever heard of MOVIEGUIDE before this?
KE: I’ve seen MOVIEGUIDE®…+ before, but I wasn’t aware of the awards show, so this has been a really fun and moving night for me.
Q: What kind of influence do you feel the media has on the culture of today?
KE: Oh, it’s tremendously powerful. Mr. Baehr was saying that the world learns about America through our films, and sometimes that’s kind of saddening and frustrating because I think so often the films don’t really represent the whole of who we are. So it’s nice to have things like this that really celebrate the truth of who we are. It’s beautiful people with loving hearts and good spirits and much, much love.
Mark Nielsen, production supervisor of Pixar, creator of the Best Family Movie of 2009, UP
Q: What do you think about MOVIEGUIDE® and its awards?
MN: I think it’s fantastic. I mean, I really think that this organization is doing a great thing in the way that they’re spotlighting the importance of making entertainment that’s really quality and great, but it’s also for families. So I’m honored to be a part of this night that MOVIEGUIDE® is celebrating. But what’s great about Pixar is that all the films that we make are for families, and so I’ve been privileged enough to be there for most of my career, about 14 years, since “A Bug’s Life,” and so it’s a great place to just be proud of the work that you’re investing your time in. I mean, you spend so much time making these movies, and there’s weekend work and evenings, and that can be difficult. But when you’re working on something that you believe in like “Up,” it just brings so much job satisfaction and just makes you realize that you’re doing something that you also then get to share with the world, which is also kind of a fun aspect of making films.
Q: What do you think about winning the Best Family Movie of the Year Award?
MN: It’s really an incredible honor. I’m just so proud of the crew that spent so many years working on this film and just invested so much of their energy and their time and their love. They were just so inspired by the story that Pete Doctor and Bob Petersen had come up with that everyone was just really proud to be a part of it. And so I think it was a really great experience overall for all the people at Pixar that got to work on the film. A lot of that is a direct reflection of Pete Doctor and Bob Petersen and who those guys are. They’re some of the funniest people I’ve ever known. Bob Petersen is absolutely hysterical. And, they also have a lot of heart. They’re great, just really great people. And spending those four years working with those guys was really the highlight of my career.
Q: What’s the impact of having an award show like this for family movies and on the industry and on the studio and on yourself?
MN: I have been fortunate enough to be at Pixar for about 14 years. There’s really nowhere else I’d rather work. It’s a great creative environment, but every film that we make is one that we’re proud of, and we really try and make the kinds of films that we would like to see. So, we’re kind of the test audience for all those. And so how we react to them, if we like something and we feel it’s working, we’ll put it in, and if we don’t, we won’t. But you never really know how they’re going to do out there in the world. It’s like sending your kid off to college, and you just hope they do well out there. So it’s always tremendous to see the audience reaction, because for four years you’re insulated, and it’s only your own reactions that you know, and you’ve seen it many, many times over and over. So, it’s just been great to see such a strong reaction to UP and to get feedback from people like my grandparents’ age and my parents’ age, and children, all responding really positively to it, and really feeling and reacting really well to the characters.
Q: Pixar and Disney have an amazing track record together, making some of the best movies every year.
MN: Yeah. It’s a great partnership, and the exciting thing is there’s a whole bunch more movies in the hopper that we’re working on and developing to make together with Disney.
Q: What’s the key to this success?
MN: There [are] probably several keys. I just think we have directors on staff at Pixar that have great stories to tell. They’re great storytellers. They get to bring their own ideas. It’s also a very collaborative environment, and so the directors all respond and react to each other’s work and are constantly giving each other feedback. There’s just a trust that they’ve developed between each other to try and help make each other’s films better. So, that’s one ingredient. Time is another ingredient. When you really spend time developing the story, you’re able to work out a lot of the kinks in movies that start out a little bit bumpy. You’re able to work that stuff out and just develop the characters more and develop the story more and get more of a rich environment. So, hopefully, at the end of a four-year process, you’ve got something that you’re proud of and that you’re ready to release out into the world.
Q: How do you feel like media has an influence on our culture?
MN: It has a tremendous impact on the culture. So much time is being spent by people of all ages, youth and children especially, watching TV or playing video games or being on their computers or their iPhones, there’s no way around that having a tremendous impact on them.
Robert Johnson, executive producer of BEDFORD: THE TOWN THEY LEFT BEHIND
RJ: Ted Baehr and the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards deserve a lot of credit for highlighting the positive aspects of our industry and trying to encourage the film industry and Hollywood to produce films that have family values and are value-based. And, it’s wonderful that that’s happening, and that the film industry seems to be responding positively to that.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your inspiration behind this project.
RJ: Well, we wanted to tell the story of the Bedford boys who lost their lives on the first day of D-Day in World War II. Bedford, Virginia lost more of its young men on the first day of D-Day than any other town in the U.S. per capita. And we wanted to tell the story not only of the Bedford boys who lost their lives, but the families they left behind. That’s why we called our film BEDFORD: THE TOWN THEY LEFT BEHIND.
Q: We really appreciate your story. It was very uplifting to all of us. Why do you think family films are so important to America today?
RJ: I think the values they represent and the sacrifices that young men and women today make for their country and for their families are very important for all of us to know about.
Lori McCreary, producer of INVICTUS
Q: What do you think about MOVIEGUIDE® and its awards?
LM: I think it’s amazing that an organization exists that cares about the values that are being put out to our children and our families. The entertainment industry really models and molds the next generation, and it’s really our responsibility, even though we would say we’re entertainers. And I also say it’s an added responsibility because, not because we choose it, but because children and teenagers are so immersed in entertainment, we have to take it as our responsibility to do something that is good for the planet and good for our children.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your inspiration behind INVICTUS.
LM: Well, I met Nelson Mandela in 1983. And, I was struck by who this man was and how he had no anger. He was in prison for twenty-seven years and probably what could have been the most productive years of his life, and he was in prison. And he was in prison for something that we all would think was something that was just standing up for his own rights. And he came out with the spirit of “I’m going to look my captors in the eye and speak to them as equal. In fact, I will even subjugate myself and serve them tea. I will come to them as humbly as possible to let them know that I’m holding them responsible, but I’m not going to come after them. I’m going to ask them to come together at the table and figure out how to make this work.” So, when I look in my life and I see the petty things that I hold against people, it makes it much easier to live my life with a little bit more forgiveness than I probably would have otherwise.
Q: That’s just amazing. So, tell us a little bit why family values are so important in film.
LM: Well I think that when you look at the statistics two generations ago people got, children got their moral and spiritual education from the church, and one generation ago from family, and now it’s really a lot from the entertainment industry. And as a producer I feel like it’s my responsibility to put out good messages and good examples of people in our world that are doing good things. And so we take that responsibility really seriously.
Q: What do you think giving out an award like this for some positive values associated with America means?
LM: I think it’s important. I really think that there is so much paid to how movies do in the box office, and I think it’s as important how movies affect our heart. And it’s one of the reasons why I’m in this business. I’m a Christian, and I care about what values we put out in the industry. And, I think that we can just as easily put out values that are good for the family and good for kids as we can films that aren’t. So, we gravitate towards ones that we hope will have positive values and positive impact on the planet.
Q: What do you think about the impact of an award show like this?
LM: I think that the more these type of awards have longevity – like this is the 18th year, I believe – the more important they become to our industry. It’s kind of a legacy, and I think that without this type of recognition, it somehow makes you feel like you’re alone. So, with this type of recognition, I feel like I have all these people rooting for me, and so when I look at the slate of projects that I have coming up next, I can say, “Oh, this would be a really good one to go for next.” I just feel like I have the support behind me that might not otherwise be there.
Q: Can you also speak about your faith and what role or roles that plays in the work that you do.
LM: I’ve been a Christian as long as I remember. I re-dedicated my life when I was in high school. I go to the Vineyard in Santa Monica, which is – I’ve been there since I was in college. I sing on the Worship Team. And it’s for me that having a community base like The Vineyard and people who have known me before I’m doing what I’m doing now, when I was in college and really just had this dream of doing something that would be able to put stories out that made a difference. It’s indescribable how much that support has meant to me as a Christian. And to be able to just go to my friends and family and my kinship groups to ask for support when I’m going through hard things in this industry is – I don’t know how people who don’t have that kind of support do it. I really don’t. It’s an indescribable support system. And just to be able to know that I have my Father to go to when all else is lost.
Performer Buster Akrey
Q: What brought you to the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards?
BA: I just sang the opening song, called “Where Have You Gone, America?” And it’s a song I wrote inspired by Jesus and it came to me all finished… all done in my head. And I love to sing this song, and I got the opportunity to sing it tonight and I’m thankful. And it’s great to be here at MOVIEGUIDE where a singer can actually speak from his heart and have it be a faith-based song and have people really enjoy it and sink into. There are not many venues where you can really sing about your faith anymore.
Q: How did you hear about MOVIEGUIDE®?
BA: I think I heard about it first when I was looking for really good quality movies. I’m tired of the movies that, you know, death, crunch, accidents… the same old stuff. I really wanted a guide, per se, to look for good films, and this was it.
I love MOVIEGUIDE®. I love the agenda. I love what they believe in, what they promote. I get to deliver a new song today, which is called “Where Have You Gone, America?” It came to me kind of on a wind. I believe it was inspired. And I’m just really excited to be surrounded by so many people that have such optimistic outlooks on life, you know, and for the future and for the future of our country. I think that this song, not to take credit, I’m not going to take any credit for this, but I think that this song came to me from God, from Jesus.
BA: MOVIEGUIDE® is a vehicle for so many different things. It supports what I believe to be real truth, the real message. And, it’s hard to go up against the world and the media in the place it is now, and MOVIEGUIDE® braves it. It braves what’s normal to deliver what’s true, and I’m all about that. I want to support that in whatever I can do to help people believe in themselves and believe in each other. Through a song? Yeah.
Rob Bredow, visual effects supervisor, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS
RB: It’s really fun to receive this honor for “Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs.” We worked on the movie for four years, almost five years altogether, and we put a lot into it. You know, we really worked hard on the story, and worked hard on all the visuals you see in the movie, so to be recognized as a movie that’s great for families is perfect for us. It’s really what we were hoping for.
Now I have a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old daughter, and I want to work on movies that they can go to the theater and enjoy, so getting to work on a movie like CLOUDY, you know my 4-year-old comes to me pretty much every day still – the movie’s been out six months – and she gives me a hug and says, you know, you did a really good job on CLOUDY. So that kind of thing where families can watch the same movie and there’s comedy in here that the adults appreciate, there’s comedy in there for the kids, everybody has something in these movies, and that’s really a lot of fun to get to work on those kind of pictures.
Q: How important is it to have a top family movie at the Family Movie Awards?
RB: Oh, it’s pretty awesome actually. I mean, we had a feeling we were making a great family movie, making CLOUDY, but it’s really nice to be recognized like this with the MOVIEGUIDE® Award. This is really fun.
Q: What does the recognition mean for your film and for the industry in general?
RB: It’s great to have the endorsement that says, “Hey, families like this movie.” That’s really who we made it for. Our directors joke that of course we made it for the theatre, but this is a movie that you can watch on, they say, the westbound United flight and have a lot of fun. You know, two hours, or an hour and a half of diversion from the world with a good message, and it is a really fun film.
Q: How did it become such a great movie? What was the key to that success?
RB: Well, I guess it’s kind of hard to go wrong when you get the right combination of people. We had great directors. We had a really fun story based on this really popular children’s book of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” And, when you’re throwing food from the sky and you get to destroy buildings and make spaghetti twisters, you’re going to have a fun movie. And then if you can add to it the heart and the family story that our directors added to it, that really gives it a lot of charm and makes it a fun film.
Amber Raspberry, executive from Tyler Perry Studios, winner of a special Crystal Teddy Bear Award for producing inspiring Christian entertainment in movies and television
AR: I know Mr. Perry is ecstatic about this. He always, always wants to make sure that his core principles of faith, family and forgiveness are included in his films at any given time.
Q: Being a young, educated woman in film, what do you feel the culture emphasizes in the mass media?
AR: I am always cognizant of the images that I want to portray. You know, reading scripts and looking at material I always want to make sure that it’s something that portrays a positive image, an inspirational image. You know, even if it’s not as obvious in its portrayal, at least you come out feeling hopeful, you come out feeling inspired, you come out feeling excited by the film you just saw.
Q: Do you think family values are important in film?
AR: Oh, always. It’s the basis for our country. That’s just the basic for just good upbringing and being good citizens and being responsible adults. Definitely!
Betsy Nowrasteh and Cyrus Nowrasteh, writers of THE STONING OF SORAYA M. (Cyrus is also the director)
Q: What do the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards mean to you and your movie?
CN: We’re thrilled.
BN: Especially this particular award that acknowledges some of the more tangible aspects of this business and acknowledges senses of purpose. To work for years, to do something that actually means something, that feels important, that hopefully will help people that are right this minute watching this film underground in Iran as they struggle to right some of the wrongs there, is kind of beyond your dreams. I mean, all for that, you don’t usually get it, as artists you don’t usually get to do that. You’re lucky to earn a living doing what you’re doing and having creative lives, but to have something that I think somehow satisfies all those other things is, it is truly a blessing! And I don’t know how else to say it. And this award kind of acknowledges that, which is unlike most other venues, for lack of whatever, people don’t want to think that way, it’s corny, it’s. . . I don’t even know, but anyway, this is great and I appreciate very much MOVIEGUIDE® having this kind of venue for it. It’s very important to us.
I did not expect to win this, and it just adds to the privilege of doing this film. It’s an amazing thing. Thank you.
Q: What was your inspiration behind the movie?
CN: Well, this is based on a true story that we are both very moved by, that was published by a French-Iranian journalist about a stoning incident in Iran. We didn’t think we’d get the movie made, but we thought we’d give it a shot. And, thanks to Ann Power it worked out, and we’re so grateful to Ted Baehr and the MOVIEGUIDE Awards for honoring us.
Steve McEveety, producer, THE STONING OF SORAYA M.
Q: How does it feel to win the Faith and Freedom Award for positive American values?
SM: Feels great. I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s great to win this award. The interesting thing about it is it’s truly a freedom award. Piracy is a four-letter word in the movie business. But regarding our film, it’s just a beautiful word because we’re getting word from all sorts of people in Iran that you can buy THE STONING OF SORAYA M. on the black market for a dollar on the streets of Tehran. And, they’re selling like crazy. So, truly it is a movie that may bring some freedom some place in the world.
Q: What do you think about the MOVIEGUIDE Awards honoring such a movie?
SM: I think it’s wonderful. I think that’s the best thing about what you guys do and what Ted Baehr is about – faith and freedom. So, my hat’s off to him if I had one, but instead my hair’s off to him.
John Shepherd, producer of THE STONING OF SORAYA M., co-winner of the Faith & Freedom Award for the Best 2009 Movie Promoting Positive American Values
Q: How does it feel after you just won your award?
JS: We’re thrilled to win the MOVIEGUIDE Award for SORAYA M. The film has won and been celebrated at Toronto, the L.A. Film Festival. It’s also been celebrated here in Los Angeles with just – tonight at the MOVIEGUIDE Awards it’s just astounding. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to tell more people about the film. We’re just thrilled to be in such great company with some amazing movies.
Q: What do you think the impact of this particular award does for movies and TV, celebrating American values and giving a better, more positive view of these kinds of values?
JS: It’s said that SORAYA is a tough film to watch. Well, what makes it tough is not what’s on screen but really, when you come away from this movie at the end, you’re forced to take action. And, being honored by the MOVIEGUIDE Awards is really important because it brings attention to the issue, brings a platform for us and the filmmakers to talk about this powerful women’s story and women’s issues and Sharia Law and the fact that innocent women are suffering all over the world, but also that there’s hope. So being honored and recognized gives us an opportunity to get the message out, which is what the goal of the movie really is, that the world will know.
Thomas J. Papa, executive producer, THE STONING OF SORAYA M.
Q: What did you think about Ted Baehr’s presentation?
TP: I thought his presentation was excellent, and it is. . . . If you are being a parent and if you’re following what family values have been happening in the last couple of decades, you can see the trends are clearly accurate of what’s happening out there. And, it’s great to see that there’s more type of films like this that are increasingly becoming more prevalent in society. It needs to be done. We’re going through a cultural shift again in this country, and that’s going to lead a lot of it.
Q: What kind of influence do you think the culture has on the mass media?
TP: The United States, it’s very different from around the world. The movie that we did, to watch our culture here in many ways not adopt the film so much but get so many accolades for it is very unusual. If you go outside the country, especially in European areas and other areas around the world, it is more easily adopted, and the culture here in America just doesn’t, I guess without reality setting in with so many things around the world happening, it’s hard for them to understand what actually women go through and the issues that many people face around the world.
Q: Why do you think establishments like MOVIEGUIDE® are so important to filmmakers and to fans?
TP: This is my first exposure to MOVIEGUIDE®. And I’m very, very impressed. I’m impressed with the numbers that they put up there, the trends that we see in movies in America, and more importantly, I think the last question was how the rest of the world sees America and how movies can influence culture and so forth. MOVIEGUIDE® Awards and the people that are here today are unbelievable. The films that they produce and with the uplifting message and the message of supporting America, our ideals and Western values, is unbelievable. I’m really proud to be associated with the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards.
Actress Vanessa Chester, presenter
VC: As a huge fan of cartoons, I’m so happy that there’s a market for family and films. I saw “Up.” I just took a trip to Brazil, and I decided to watch it, and I was crying in my seat, and the people were looking at me like, “What’s going on?” And, you know there’s nothing better than watching a fun, uplifting, spiritual movie with your family. It doesn’t get better, and it’s awesome that the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards takes time out to let the people who put effort into making it know that it’s appreciated.
Q: What brought you to the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards?
VC: Well, you know it was actually a sequence of events in my mom. She’s just awesome, she always gets me in the right place at the right time, and she was like, Hey, Vanessa, I know about this great program, this great awards show, and it’s about family-based and faith-based films. And I was like, that sounds like a positive night, you know? It’s always like, red carpet, “What are you wearing?” But, this time it was honoring movies and something higher. I’m really feeling good right now. I’m really honored, because this is a solid awards show.
Q: Do you feel like MOVIEGUIDE has a way to impact audiences?
VC: Of course. I mean, who doesn’t like positivity, and that’s what you guys are spreading. And, I think it’s absolutely amazing. It’s not only positivity, it’s family. At the end of the day, who else do you want to be around, and what do you want? Like, who’s your pillar besides God? There’s your family, you know. And, I think that this is long overdue and it should be a lot bigger, because what you guys are doing is amazing.
Performer Michelle Tumes
Q: What do you think about MOVIEGUIDE® and its awards?
MT: I think it’s wonderful, because I think it encourages people. It’s like being around people of the same mindset. I think spiritually it’s edifying and that it inspires people to go and make more of the most wonderful films that inspire families.
Actress Jenn Gotzen from FROST/NIXON
Q: What do you think of the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards and its mission?
JG: The MOVIEGUIDE® Awards is my favorite event of the year because it recognizes and encourages excellence in content. My passion (as an actor) is being in stories that have the ability to impact and inspire audiences across the world. I feel as folks in the entertainment business, we have a responsibility to entertain, educate and encourage the viewing audience with storylines that can help them find truth in their life. Dr. Ted Baehr’s heart and vision for cinema in Hollywood is profoundly inspiring. My prayers and blessings go out to him, Susan Wales, Tom Snyder, Jeff Holder for their continued efforts to make a difference in content.
I love MOVIEGUIDE®. The MOVIEGUIDE® is a big family is what it is. It’s a family of friends, of community, of excellent filmmakers and we’re all trying to find ways to inspire art, so content across the world can touch people’s lives. Ted Baehr and Susan Wales do an amazing job putting all this together. God bless you all.
Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®
TB: This is a wonderful event, the 18th Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Awards. I love it. Already we have been happy because we have more people. We were praying about a week ago to see people from the industry show up, and we’ve gotten so many people we’ve had to turn them away. And we get people from every studio, and then they want to bring their friends and then they want to bring their future productions. So I did not expect such a large support base, and really what we do here is unique. It’s not what anybody else does. We don’t give out awards because they’re politically correct. We don’t give out awards because you’re going to belong to the Hollywood Club. We give out awards for faith and values, for joy and love and uplifting loyalty and self-sacrifice and responsibility and loving your neighbor as yourself, and being loyal to your spouse. All those things are the reasons we give awards and there are more and more movies like that. When we started there was only one movie with positive Christian content, last year it was forty-three percent. I said it’ll never go higher than that, and it’s gone up to. . . fifty-four percent. So we’re extremely happy.
Q: Why do you think that’s going up more?
TB: Well I think because we show them that to make more money. And every year we show – in fact this year the stair-steps of money for it are even higher. Last year it was about forty-four million on average for movies with extreme Christian content, and this year it’s about seventy-four million for movies with extreme Christian content. And one of the charts I’ll show tonight shows that every year movies with Christian content are much higher, much bigger, much better. So we’ve been able to put our finger on the pulse of what makes Hollywood tick, which is money, and we’ve put our finger on the pulse of what makes God’s heart happy and what makes people happy, which is faith and values.
Q: I can truly see your passion. I can tell you just love what you do.
TB: We love what we do. We love the people here. We’re here to honor them, to applaud them and to tell them that they’re doing great work. So thank you so much.
Re the Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry: This year it shows that movies with Christian content did better at the box office, that there are more movies with extreme Christian content, and the movies with family content, patriotic content, all of them do better. And, there are less R-rated films in the top 25 films. So, there’s just great news.
Q: So what do you think the impact will be on the entertainment industry with this?
TB: I think we’re going to have less R-rated films and more family films.
Hope Olaide Wilson from TYLER PERRY’S I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF
Q: Why are family films so important to you?
HW: Well I think it’s very important, you know, kids growing up developing, it’s really important to pay attention to, and provide films that really emphasize family values and faith values. I think that’s essential.
Q: So what do you think MOVIEGUIDE® does for audiences? Do you think we have a way to be able to impact audiences to see those kinds of films?
HW: Yeah, I think it’s a fantastic resource. Parents can just go it and not have to worry, or, you know, wonder about the content of the film. They know that it’s a trusted source that they can rely on, and just feel at ease to have entertainment that provides everything that they’re looking for to teach their children.
Actress Abigail Mason from SAVING SARAH CAIN
Q: Can you tell us a little bit why MOVIEGUIDE® is so important?
AM: Yeah, well it was actually funny because MOVIEGUIDE® was one of the first events I went to when I was out here in L.A. and I thought, “Oh, my word. I had no idea that there was an organization that supported films that have meaning.” So it was amazing when I was able to win that award the next year, and I was just trying to get a ticket to the event and then ended up winning The Grace Award. So it’s been an amazing journey, and so I just so appreciate what MOVIEGUIDE® stands for. So I love it.
Q: So as an actress how do you stay a positive role model for other girls that look up to you?
AM: I actually just started a site for young women called dearabigail.net and it’s all about that. It’s all about becoming the best women that we can be. So they write in letters and I’ll talk with them and then I’ll put up videos and interviews and yeah, we talk about topics like “What is Femininity” and “How Do We Become Great Women?” and style and sass along the way.
Danielle Bisutti, TRUE JACKSON, VP
Q: So you work for Nickelodeon, so obviously you inspire younger children, family audiences. Tell me what’s so important about that.
DB: Gosh, you know what? It’s so funny. I mean I always knew I wanted to be an actress and I also do music. I knew I wanted to do that. But one of the most impactful days of my life was I went to go talk to – I had kind of a troubled high school back in my home town of Simi Valley – I remember I was like twenty-one, twenty-two, and I got to speak to these kids about the importance of like their values and the importance of their voice and their creativity and who they were. And I’ll never forget walking out of there that day and just having an impact on those kids, (to me) brought me to such an emotional place and I thought, “You know what? This is so much more important that, you know, booking a movie.” And all those things are important too, which I love, so being able to be on a Nickelodeon show and having an impact on kids and also doing a faith-based film I just shot and it’s got released this year, called NO GREATER LOVE, which I know is in a lot of churches and a lot of families right now, has meant a lot. I feel totally blessed.
Candace Cameron Bure, from MAKE IT OR BREAK IT
Q: I know you have a very extensive background in TV and film and I just want to ask you: what’s so important about being a positive role model on the set while you’re working?
CB: Well I was raised with faith and values and morals and it’s something that my parents really instilled in me, and I think it’s incredibly important to present myself not only just to others well, but for God. And, you know, all the projects that I do I hope to be a good role model and not that it means I’ll be perfect. I’m not. But it’s incredibly important, especially as the mother as well.
Alley Mills from THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL and Orson Bean from DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES
Q: So tell us a little bit about why MOVIEGUIDE® is so important to families.
OB: Well we believe that everything that MOVIEGUIDE® honors deserves to be honored. I am appalled that the two leading contenders for best film with the Oscars are both virulently anti-military, not that I want to go out and kill everybody with A-Bombs, but I think that we should respect and honor our soldiers. And this award is basically, as a Christian, in alignment with my values.
AM: The first time that we came we came as guests, when Jim Caviezel won, and we were so amazed to see this community in Hollywood, because we know that this community exists where people really want a great message, care about what their kids and grandchildren are getting out of the media, but there’s very few people that honor those people. I couldn’t believe that PASSION OF THE CHRIST did not get nominated for any Oscars, for any awards. It’s mind-boggling when you see the bias in this town, and so we’re thrilled that you all, you know, honor the good stuff.
Chelsea Gilligan, Miss California Teen 2009
Q: Tell us a little bit about why MOVIEGUIDE® is so important to families and audiences.
CG: Well I have a big family, number one, and I’ve always grown up around faith family movies and I’m just so glad to be here to support it. And I’m a Christian so I just love to get out there and just be a witness to people, and I love that movies are doing that as well. So I’ll gladly support this. It’s awesome.
Gregg Sulkin, WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE
Q: Why is it so important to be a good role model while you’re working on the set and off the set?
GS: Well I mean firstly a job needs to be done and secondly kids look up to, you know, people, especially on The Disney Channel and young actors. So if I can affect one person’s life and make them realize how important it is to be professional then I’ve kind of done my job.