Family Friendly

Hollywood didn’t want to touch The Promise, producer Ralph Winter says (interview)

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Veteran filmmaker Ralph Winter calls The Promise the movie that Hollywood didn’t want to touch.

But it is a project he couldn’t resist.

The historical drama opens this weekend and recounts the true story of the Armenian Genocide, a largely forgotten episode from World War I in which 1.5 million Armenian Christians living within the Ottoman Empire were exterminated. It sometimes is called the “forgotten Holocaust.”

It is told through the eyes of three fictional characters: Mikael (Oscar Isaac), a medical student; Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), an artist from Paris; and Chris (Christian Bale), a photographer from the U.S. All three are living in Constantinople – modern-day Istanbul – when the war breaks out.

Winter, an executive producer of the film, said filmmakers got pushback from every segment of society, including the studios.

“They didn’t distribute this movie. They don’t want to touch it,” he told SCENES.

The nation of Turkey, which was formed out of the fall of the Ottoman Empire, still denies that the genocide even took place. That has led to some awkward moments in U.S.-Turkey relations, such as Barack Obama calling it a genocide as a presidential candidate but then refusing to use the same term after he was elected.

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FandangoNOW

FandangoNOW holding $5 Easter family movie sale

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FandangoNOW, Fandango’s movie streaming service, is holding an Easter sale on family movies through Monday, with some films as low as $5.

The sale includes such popular titles as The LEGO Movie ($9.99), The Peanuts Movie ($9.99) and Paddington ($7.99).

Classics such as The Sound of Music and E.T. (each $9.99) also are on the list, which is quite impressive.

View all of the movies here.

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Case For Christ

Case For Christ ‘most significant movie of my career … in Kingdom impact,’ screenwriter Brian Bird says (interview)

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Brian Bird has had a hand in more than 25 movies and television shows over the past three decades – including Touched by an Angel and When Calls the Heart – but his latest project, The Case For Christ, ranks near the top in his book.

Bird was screenwriter for the film, which opens this weekend and follows the story of Lee Strobel’s transformation in the early 1980s from atheist to Christian apologist.

“In my 30 years of doing this work, this is the most significant movie of my career in terms of kingdom impact,” he said. “And I think the results on-screen bear that out – not because I’m such a great screenwriter, but we had a great team on this.”

Bird was executive producer and wrote the screenplay for the 2015 movie Captive, is executive producer of the ongoing Hallmark TV series When Calls the Heart, and was a producer of the hit show Touched by an Angel from 1999-2003.

His faith and his extensive experience with family-friendly content is one reason Strobel asked him to write the screenplay for The Case For Christ (PG).

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The Promise

The Promise spotlights ‘forgotten genocide’ of World War I

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The persecution of religious and ethnic minorities has tragically become common in some parts of the world, and an upcoming movie serves to remind us that the battle against prejudice is far from new.

The Promise (PG-13) opens in theaters April 21, spotlighting a time during the 1910s when the Ottoman Empire turned against its own people and killed an estimated 1.5 million Armenian Christians in what became known as the Armenian Genocide.

Although it was one of the worst atrocities in human history, few people in America know about it. It is sometimes called the “forgotten genocide. It took place during World War I.

The Promise stars Golden Globe Award-winner Oscar Isaac as Michael Boghosian, a medical student who returns to his village in Turkey in 1914 with the goal of bringing modern medicine to the people. There he meets Chris Myers (played by Academy Award-winner Christian Bale) and Ana (Charlotte le Bon), an Armenian artist from Paris.

The two men love Ana, but those interests are put aside when the Ottoman Empire turns against some of its own people. Watch the trailer below.

The Promise is rated PG-13 for thematic material including war atrocities, violence and disturbing images, and for some sexuality.

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ClearPlay

ClearPlay CEO opens up about VidAngel & future of movie filtering (Interview)

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More than a decade after helping spark the movie-filtering craze, ClearPlay appears to be the last company standing.

ClearPlay launched its first DVD player in 2004 and then added a streaming service in 2014 before an upstart company – VidAngel – took a chunk of its business by offering streaming movies for only $1. But when Hollywood studios successfully sued VidAngel last year in a copyright/license case and a judge forced VidAngel to stop streaming movies, ClearPlay was left as the only remaining company in the U.S. offering families a way to skip violence, nudity and coarse language in movies watched at home. (VidAngel is appealing.)

“VidAngel did eat into ClearPlay’s business,” ClearPlay CEO Matt Jarman told SCENES. “From the outset we knew that VidAngel had legal problems, though.”

ClearPlay offers two services: 1) DVD and Blu-ray players that allow families to watch clean versions of PG-, PG-13- and R-rated movies, and, 2) a streaming service that works on a laptop or desktop through Google Play.

Jarman would not provide additional details but did indicate that ClearPlay could be offering a new streaming service as soon as later this year.

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