He has many credits here with us at Family Theater, including several of our Manifest Mysteries series…”Carrying On”, “You Will See”, “Finding Mary”, and “Assumptions”. He also has spearheaded efforts to increase our presence on the internet by creating content for our Youtube page, social media, and our ministry websites.
As National Director he will be responsible for all activities of Family Theater Productions, both media production and outreach. Our outreach efforts to young Catholics and other Catholics in the entertainment industry includes Prayer & Pasta, Bible Study, a weekly Holy Hour, daily Rosary, daily Mass, and spiritual direction.
We are very excited about the future here at Family Theater Productions with Fr. Guffey leading the way. If you are interested in attending any of our events, be sure to check out the calendar on our website.
William Ross Wallace was praising motherhood when he wrote his famous poem with the words “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”
And so it does.
Motherhood is the most important job that any woman will have during her life. It’s also one of the most under-appreciated. This Mother’s Day weekend, Tri-star Pictures, wants you to know they appreciate all the Mom’s out there with the release of the new film, Moms’ Night Out.
Moms’ Night Out is a delightful, fun, clean, and entertaining comedy about the ups and downs of raising a family. Allyson, played by the charming Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy), loves her husband, loves her kids, and loves raising her family. But sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming. Needing some time to recharge, she plans a ladies night with two other Mom’s who also could use a night out. Leaving the kids with their husbands, they embark on an evening filled with adult conversation and fine dining. However, things don’t go quite as they had planned. Sarah Drew gives a great performance as a woman who just wants to be the best Mom she can be but wonders if she’s good enough. I think many Moms can relate.
Filling out the wonderful cast is Sean Astin (Goonies, Rudy, Lord of the Rings) as Allyson’s supportive husband. The always fantastic, Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle), gives a fun performance as Sondra the Pastor’s wife who is dealing with “the teenage years” of her own daughter. Country star, Trace Adkins, delivers great comedic timing as the imposing-yet-lovable tattoo artist, Bones.
Even though the big names in the cast did a great job, my favorite character was the Tattoo Desk Guy played by Manwell Reyes. Those scenes had me laughing hard! Apparently, Manwell’s day job is not acting. He is the lead singer of the Dove Award-winning Christian hip-hop band Group 1 Crew. Maybe he should start adding comedic actor to his resume as he was hilarious and really stole those scenes.
Moms’ Night Out is a movie the whole family will enjoy. It does something that is hard to find these days…it’s funny without being crude. You can actually enjoy this film with your family without worrying about the language used or any innuendos that you would feel uncomfortable trying to explain to your kids afterward.
The writer of this script is Andrea Nasfell, an Act One alumna here in Hollywood. Act One was founded by our friend and former Board Member, Barbara Nicolosi, as a program to teach Christians how to make a difference in the entertainment industry especially writers and producers. It’s wonderful to see them making a difference!
Give the Mom in your life a break this Mother’s Day Weekend and take her to see Moms’ Night Out. Then tell her how much you love and appreciate her for everything she does for her kids and the world. She deserves it.
Do you believe in Heaven? Do you really believe in Heaven? That is the question that is asked in the new film by Sony/Tri-Star Pictures, Heaven is for Real, opening this Easter weekend. Based on the book of the same name, the story is about the Burpo Family and their son Colton, who had a near death experience when he was just 4 years old. After his recovery, Colton starts to talk about how he went to heaven, what it was like, and the people he met there. These statements shake the small rural town the family lives in and the small church family that is ministered to by their Pastor, Colton’s father. As Christians, they have always said they believed in Heaven. But now they are forced to decide if they really do believe what they always have said they believed.
Heaven is for Realstars Greg Kinnear as Pastor Todd Burpo. Kinnear gives a convincing performance as a man who is confronted with the beliefs that he preaches. Connor Corum debuts in his first major role as Colton. For a 4 year old, he does quite well in the role and is adorable and endearing to the audience. The rest of the cast is rounded out with veteran actors such as Thomas Haden Church, Margo Martindale, and Kelly Reilly. Audiences will appreciate the portrayal of a loving family who rely on their faith to stick together during the difficult times. They will also enjoy the loyal friendship seen between Greg Kinnear and Thomas Haden Church.
As Christians it can be easy to “talk the talk” but more difficult to “walk the walk”. This film will inspire you to look inside and ask yourself if you really do believe what you say you do. Heaven is for Real is a sweet and gripping story for the whole family that is perfect to enjoy this Easter Season.
One of the more popular Catholic devotions during this time of Lent is praying the Stations of the Cross. The Way of the Cross by Deacon Richard Ballard, Ruth Ballard, and Jody Cole is a beautiful companion to this great prayer.
Throughout the history of the Church, art has been used to foster the prayer lives of her members. At one time, the Church was a great patron to the Arts…such as Michelangelo’s Pieta and the Sistine Chapel. These works of art inspire contemplation and wonder at the beauty and majesty of God and His creation in our world.
Michelangelo’s Pieta and The Sistine Chapel
Even today, art is being used to inspire prayer. Every year on Good Friday, I watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and meditate on its story to help me fully engage in the meaning of the day. Classic films such as The Song of Bernadette and Babette’sFeast help us to go deeper into the mysteries of God.
The Song of Bernadette (1943) and Babette’s Feast (1987)
Deacon Richard Ballard and his wife, Ruth have compiled a beautiful book of icons to help us pray the Stations of the Cross. Each icon, by iconographer Jody Cole, is written specifically for each Station, taking the reader deeper into the mystery of Christ’s life and death.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Art in all its forms, whether it’s icons, films, paintings, music, books, etc., should help us grow closer to God. It’s time we have a new renaissance…one where truth, beauty, and goodness shines forth in all art forms so that when people see art they will be lifted in prayer to the One who is Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Himself.
The Romance of Religion: Fighting for Goodness, Truth, and Beauty by Father Dwight Longenecker is a wonderful book about the quest that we all take and the treasure we all seek. Father Longenecker shares with us, that inherent in our own humanity, is the longing for both the adventure of the quest and the treasure found. That treasure is God who is Truth, Goodness, and Beauty Himself.
We love stories that express this on the big screen. The box office doesn’t lie. Audiences are drawn to these stories because they are caught up in the quest of a hero that is representative of their own journey in life…or what they wish that journey to be. It’s part of their DNA.
The next time Hollywood moguls are sitting around wondering what the formula for the next big blockbuster is…I would highly recommend they read The Romance of Religion. They may be surprised that the formula has always been the same.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the virtue of hope “responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude.” (CCC 1818)
The Hallmark Channel’s latest dramatic series, When Calls the Heart, brings the idea (and the DRAMA!) of hope to our living rooms. Set in rural Coal Valley, Alberta, Canada in 1910, we meet the new teacher in town, Elizabeth Thatcher. Elizabeth, played by the beautiful Erin Krakow (Army Wives), is the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate who has come to Coal Valley for her first teaching job. She soon learns that her high society upbringing is not the best formation for life in the wild Canadian west.
Coal Valley has just endured a horrific tragedy…an explosion in the mine that killed off most of the men in town leaving the women and their children to pick up the pieces and fend for themselves. This is the atmosphere that the new school teacher finds herself in.
After such a devastating loss, the town of Coal Valley is in great need of hope. Elizabeth brings this hope with her as she helps the women and children grieve and helps them continue on with their lives and open their hearts to the love that God has for them.
Elizabeth is supported by the wisdom and love of Abigail Stanton, played by the wonderful Lori Laughlin (most famous for her role as Aunt Becky in the hit 90s family sitcom Full House), whose own husband was foreman of the mine and died in the explosion. Abigail helps Elizabeth navigate her new surroundings and also her heart as she encounters the new constable, Jack Thornton, played handsomely by Daniel Lissing (Last Resort).
When Calls the Heart is based on the best selling series by the Christian fiction author Janette Oke. Fans will remember that another series of this author was the basis of the Hallmark Channel’s hit film series, The Love Saga. Hallmark also reunites the author with Executive Producer and Director Michael Landon, Jr. Michael Landon, Jr’s first film in The Love Saga…Love Comes Softly…was the highest rated movie in the history of the Hallmark Channel. His second, Love’s Enduring Promise, surpassed the first giving him the top two highest rated movies ever on the Hallmark Channel at that time. He went on to write, direct, and produce four more installments of the hit series. Needless to say this duo is a winning combination.
There isn’t a lot out there for families to choose from when looking for television that they can watch together. Thanks to the Hallmark Channel, Janette Oke, and Michael Landon Jr., families don’t have far to look. When Calls the Heart is a show that brings us all hope…hope that Hollywood is starting to realize what families really want in entertainment.
When Calls the Heart airs Saturday nights at 9 EST/8 CST on the Hallmark Channel.