Filming “Courageous” and the three previous movies produced by Sherwood Pictures in Albany, Ga., is the story of learning to totally depend on God, according to Alex Kendrick, founder of the film company at Sherwood Baptist Church.
As featured speaker at Hannibal-LaGrange University’s Booster Banquet Friday, Nov. 16, Kendrick shared the history of the four films. He explained how God gave him the plot for each film, how they were miraculously financed and how each became so successful that the producers learned to have total faith in God’s leadership.
“Movie making is extremely fulfilling and extremely difficult,” he said.
Kendrick is also in other movies, including “The Lost Madalion,” to be released in March 2013. He reported Sherwood Pictures will begin a new movie in 2013 but he could not disclose any details.
When Kendrick and his two brothers received their first camcorder for Christmas, he sad, their first movies “all had the same plot - chase them down and beat them up.”
Then when he was in 10th grade, “God got hold of my heart and I totally surrendered” and said “whatever You want me to do with my life, that’s what I will do.”
Kendrick has been an associate pastor of Sherwood Baptist since 1999. He led the church in making the first movie, “Flywheel,” in 2003 in an effort to reach out to people. The church could not finance the movie, so the members prayed and God suppled the needed $20,000 through donated gifts.
But first Kendrick had to change the movie plot. “The Lord said ‘No’ and jerked my focus to his Lordship,” he said, giving him the plot of “Flywheel.” “I learned the difference between a good idea and a God idea,” he said. “The Lord said, ‘I’m in charge here.’”
Next, Kendrick had trouble convincing the local theater operator to show the movie, but after it opened, it became so popular it was continued for six weeks. “We made $37,000 in that theater,” Kendrick said. And after the church began making DVDs of “Flywheel,” Blockbuster ordered 8,000.
The second movie, ’“Facing the Giants,” made in 2006, focuses on football. Sony picked it up for hundreds of theaters, and it has grossed more than $10 million at the box office.
His third film, “Fireproof,” completed in 2008, has sold 4.5 million DVDs. Kendrick said “writing ‘Fireproof,’ about having a good healthy marriage, stretched me. ... I had to make changes in my life.” He and his wife have six young children.
“Fireproof” grossed $33.5 million in the box office. “We had a waterfall of response,” Kendrick said. “People said ‘It helped our marriage.’”
Page 2 of 2 - Next, Kendrick said, “The Lord said, ‘Make a movie about fatherhood.’” The result was “Courageous,” which Kendrick said “is taking off like a rocket” since its release in January 2012. It has already grossed more than $34.5 million in the box office.
“Through every movie, God stretched our faith,” he said.
Kendrick added that he did not just want to discuss his movies - he believes “people in America need to face three battlefields. ... One - a personal battlefield, where I stand with God; two - a corporate battlefield, where are as a body of believers; and three - the Kingdom battlefield, the heart of a nation.
“We need Christian men and women to fight all three battles,” he said. “We have to fight for the next generation.”
Among the people at the banquet was Neil Sneed, who said “Courageous” is his favorite of Kendrick’s movies, because it is about “seeking to be better men.”
Mike Crane, whose son, Mitchell, is a HLGU student, chose “Facing the Giants,” noting it is about a football team, but it is more than about football. “It is about conquering and overcoming the giants in our own lives, whatever they may be.”
“In the movie David was a small fellow who tried out for the team as a kicker and it was on his shoulders to kick to win the game,” Crane said. “He pulled it off. The message was you have to do the best you can and leave the rest to God.”
Adding he enjoyed hearing Kendrick “share his passion about making faith-based movies and how God is truly the director of what they do,” Crane said Kendrick “also reminded us to strive for unity in the body of Christ,” and shared “the promise from God that if we seek Him with all of our heart, we can find Him.”