Faith-Based Movies Combine a Christian Message and a Good Story

“Let There Be Light” will be in theaters October 27.

Hollywood has recognized the power of the box office and that Christian films are big money-makers. DVDs, the home market, and church-based distribution systems have also supported the phenomenon. Yet for many Christian filmmakers, the focus has remained on the message and the value of a good story. One example is “Let There Be Light,” which debuts in 300 theaters nationwide Oct. 27.

“I’m excited because this film changes people’s hearts and lifts them up, and gives them hope … It’s the kind of film that makes you want to laugh and to cry, and to stand up and cheer,” says Sam Sorbo, the script’s co-writer, who also stars in the film.

Famed television and radio host Sean Hannity has teamed up with husband and wife duo Kevin and Sam Sorbo on the new faith-based movie. Hannity serves as the executive producer of the film, while Kevin Sorbo takes on a director’s role. Sam Sorbo co-wrote the movie’s screenplay with Dan Gordon. The movie also features appearances by Dionne Warwick and Travis Tritt.

“(Sean’s) not a film guy, but he understands good cinema. He wants to create good cinema that has family values and American values, exhibits virtue and uplifts people. He wants to be part of that force for good that we can have in cinema that’s [been lost] in Hollywood. Hollywood has gotten on this track of rooting for the evil villain. And, it’s too bad, because stories change people’s lives,” says Sam Sorbo.

Starring the Sorbo’s – Kevin (“Hercules,” “God’s Not Dead,” “Soul Surfer,”) Sam and their two sons, “Let There Be Light” is a PG-13 rated drama that follows an atheist, Sol Harkens (Kevin Sorbo,) down a destructive path after the traumatic loss of his youngest son to cancer. After a serious car accident, and facing a near death experience, Sol’s outlook on life is challenged – he discovers his purpose, draws closer to his family and finds God.

Kevin Sorbo says it’s about reaching across the aisle and hitting home with diverse audiences – both Christians and non-believers. It’s also about sharing a real-life story audiences’ can relate to. This movie is about two different people and how they deal with grief. One of them is of the secular world, and the other is a Christian.

“I think it comes down to the writing, and Sam and Dan Gordon did an amazing job with the script. And, yeah, it depends on what type of crew you put together, and how you look at the story … It’s not a cheesy story. It’s real life. It’s drama. It’s a love story, ultimately as well. It deals with fathers being involved with their families, husbands being involved with their wives, and the downfall of that in our society. This is a story that addresses that,” Kevin Sorbo says.

“As we’ve found out in the screening’s we’ve done so far, as much as women love this, it’s hitting men even harder. They’ve really found a lot of places in this [movie] that they can relate to and understand, and find their own short-comings in life, because none of us are perfect. This is a movie that points out that we need to have that relationship, not only with our children and our wife, but with God as well,” says Sorbo.

Although Hollywood still focuses on movies with superheroes and franchises like “Superman,” “Batman,” “Harry Potter” and “Despicable Me,” it continues to recognize the life-changing value of Christian entertainment.

One example is the blockbuster, “God’s Not Dead,” which earned over $60 million, and was one of the most successful independent films in history. “God’s Not Dead 2” made about $21 million. A DVD release date for “Let There Be Light” has not yet been announced. There is also a Let There Be Light companion book available. (October 17 release date, Izzard Ink, paper back and hard cover.)

—Ginny McCabe