FILM FESTIVAL RECOGNITION HELPS BUILD DEMAND FOR 2017 CAMPAIGN.
Film producers of the Christian Retail Only exclusive The Samaritan continue to get starring roles in prestigious film festivals, supporting a strategy to build audience demand for its exclusive release through Christian stores in 2017.
The feature documentary has been selected to screen at the Hollywood International Independent Film Festival Dec. 10 and the Sherman Oaks Film Festival Nov. 20, both in Los Angeles, the filmmaking capital of the world.
The film has received nine film-festival awards so far, including one from The Tryon International Film Festival that also featured a film by Hollywood actor and director Robert Redford. In addition to a laurel, the North Carolina festival added the recognition of having the highest audience rating of screened films.
A laurel represents an official selection from hundreds or thousands of film festival submittals, says Kevin McAfee, co-producer and director of the film and also the co-founder of Content Road Media Corporation, a start-up company creating exclusive first-run and premium content for Christian stores in a strategic partnership with CBA.
The Samaritan received laurels at The Christian Film Festival in Virginia, where it also received best music-score recognition; The TMC London Film Festival; Macon Film Festival (Georgia); New Haven International Film Festival (Connecticut); and a Hollywood Humanitarian Award.
McAfee says 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 says. “The Holy Spirit convicts people and touches their hearts,” he says, indicating that one festival leader could not talk after the film because of his emotional response over what he had seen.
He says such responses also underscore the evangelistic importance of having quality films to present the Gospel relevantly to those not familiar with Christianity.
McAfee says he has been invited to submit The Samaritan to film festivals in Copenhagen; Verona, Italy; and Barcelona, Spain.
For Christian retailers, McAfee says recognition by film festivals provides great selling opportunities when the film is re-released in an exclusive CROnly promotion next year. Film- festival awards make consumer acceptance and purchasing much easier, he says.
McAfee envisions meeting with Christian retailers in about 25 areas of the country he’s targeted to enter film festivals and bring them along with film promotion before the product’s release. The project may involve Christian stores inviting local church leaders and community influencers to screen the film or come watch film festival screenings.
McAfee says Content Road Media also 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 says.
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.