Christian Cinema’s founder shares its past, present, and prospects.
Our afternoon keynote session at the Filmmakers Guild featured Bobby Downes. Founder of ChristianCinema.com, he shared the beginnings of the site and how it has evolved with the changes of technology. It began in the 1990s with the distribution of VHS tapes, with the goal of building a one-stop shop for Christian film. “One day I realized, ‘I’m a Christian, and I can’t find any Christian movies!'” he shared.
Now ChristianCinema.com allows consumers to digitally stream films of their choice anytime, anywhere in conjunction with ChristianBook.com. One of ChristianCinema.com’s latest updates was their March Movie Madness survey, which allows participants the opportunity to vote for their favorite candidate for best Christian movie of the year.
Mr. Downes shared several statistics exposing the world’s need for God’s Word. 1 billion people don’t even have access to Scripture. “Your movie may be the only Bible someone ever reads,” he stated.
His message was motivating to young filmmakers by exposing the many exciting opportunities and new digital methods of getting their movies out of the production rooms and into the hands of conservative consumers. He also spoke on the importance of the “time windows” for each phase of a film’s release. “It’s a funnel. If you skip one of the steps, you cannibalize the one above it,” he warned. Mr. Downes shared how much of the industry is moving away from DVDs and theaters and forward to online digital access.
“One of the things I love about the Christian Worldview Film Festival is that this is a fellowship.” Mr. Downes continued. “We share the pitfalls, the successes, everything. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. We want you to be successful, to be partners in ministry with you. When the water rises, all boats rise.”