The Samaritan feature documentary that will be sold in an exclusive Christian Retail Only (CROnly) product promotion in 2017 received its eighth and ninth film festival awards this week. The Tryon International Film Festival (North Carolina) laurel includes an added recognition of having the highest audience rating in a festival that included a film submission from Hollywood actor and director Robert Redford.

A laurel represents an official selection from hundreds or thousands of film festival submittals, said Kevin McAfee, co-producer and director of the film and also a partner in Content Road Media Corporation, a start-up company founded by Eddie Roush to create exclusive first-run and premium content for Christian stores in a strategic partnership with CBA.

The film also received two laurels each at The Christian Film Festival in Virginia and The Modcon London Film Festival, as well as laurels at Macon Film Festival (Georgia), New Haven International Film Festival (Connecticut), and the Hollywood Humanitarian Awards.

McAfee said the audience responses have been overwhelming because of the strong content about freedom and how far people will go to help someone. The story is about a young attorney, Eddie Roush, who helped a Romanian defector prior to the country’s revolution against a brutal Communist dictator. A central theme is the role of Christianity in the culture.

Secular audiences are receiving the film very well, McAfee said. “The Holy Spirit convicts people and touches their hearts,” he said, indicating that one festival leader could not talk after the film because of his emotional response over what he had seen.

McAfee said he has been invited to submit The Samaritan to film festivals in Copenhagen, Verona, Italy, and Barcelona.

For Christian retailers, McAfee said recognition by film festivals provides great selling opportunities when the film is re-released in an exclusive CROnly promotion next year. “These laurels will mean the difference in consumer acceptance will be like night and day when we start promoting it at Christian retail,” he said.

As an example, he told how the principal at the largest Christian school in Concord, North Carolina, said he wants to screen the film at the school’s 2,000-member Christian church and work with a local Christian store to do onsite sales as part of the screening.

“That’s the selling opportunity these festivals will provide for Christian stores, plus strengthen connections between the community, church, and Christian stores as ministry outposts,” he said.

McAfee said Content Road Media is working to develop new first-run projects with recognized authors and content creators as part of its strategy to bring exclusive content to Christian stores to help them compete against mass merchandisers and internet-only retailers.

“These products will be highly desirable with great price points and retail margins,” he said.

Content Road Media’s first project is the We Will Stand premium, a CD, DVD, and book product celebrating 40 years of Contemporary Christian Music. Retailing at $5, the products present top music artists in a special compilation for Christmas sales.

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