Fireproof: What Every Relationship Should Be
The 700 Club
MICHAEL CATT & SHERWOOD PICTURES
Michael Catt is the pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church, a 3,000 member church, in Albany, Georgia since 1989. He has served as the Executive Producer for all three of Sherwood Pictures’ films: Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and the upcoming release, Fireproof. Michael’s goal is to change the world from Albany, Georgia. While that may seem like a radical, even ridiculous, statement from a pastor in Southwest Georgia, it has, in fact, become a reality through Sherwood Pictures.
Michael said his pastoral team has to unanimously agree on the subject and script before they move forward with a movie. He says as believers we are judged by a higher standard. You can’t ask believers to spend money on a movie that lacks excellence.
“When you put anything out there that is poorly done that lacks excellence the gospel will be laughed at.,” says Michael.
His advice to other churches that are interested in starting a film ministry is to find the right team and a compelling story.
MICHAEL CATT & FIREPROOF
Sherwood's third major motion picture, Fireproof, will deal with the subject of covenant marriage.
“Marriage touches almost every life. In my lifetime the divorce rate has climbed to one out of two marriages, and the marriage rate has dropped 30 percent. What if we can make a dent in those statistics?" says Michael.
Kirk Cameron, best known for his role in the television series Growing Pains is the lead actor in the new film. Michael says they auditioned 35 males for the lead part, but they never found the right person until three weeks before shooting.
“Kirk just seemed right for the part,” says Michael.
Kirk has supported Sherwood’s efforts in the past and attended the Hollywood screening of Facing the Giants. He did not receive payment for his role in the movie. Instead, the church made a contribution to his foundation, Camp Firefly, a camp for seriously ill children and their families.
The movie Fireproof had a $500,000 budget. As with the church's first two films, the production was driven by 1200 volunteers while one professional film crew of eight people who worked at a discounted rate. They received widespread community support from the city of Albany.
“You have to know that this movie is a team effort. It’s the whole church that makes the movie. Without our people and their willingness to serve, none of this would be possible. Without their willingness to buy into the vision of ‘Changing the world from Albany, Georgia,’ we wouldn’t be in the movie business. I’m grateful to pastor a church that will think outside the box,” says Michael.
Michael, along with Stephen Kendrick, has worked with Provident Films, Outreach and LifeWay Resources to develop Bible studies in conjunction with Facing the Giants and Fireproof in order to help churches use movies as a resource.
STEPHEN KENDRICK & SHERWOOD PICTURES
Stephen and his brother Alex Kendrick grew up in Smyrna, Georgia in a home that did not have television. As kids, the brothers would shoot short films in their backyard on a neighbor’s Super 8 camera. In college, they both received communications degrees, but did not go to film school or take any script writing classes. Instead, they learned how to make movies by trial and error.
As pastors, Stephen started doing videos with his brother for various churches. After doing a summer camp video, his brother was hired by Sherwood Baptist Church in 1999. Stephen would later join the staff in 2001 as the associate teaching pastor.The brothers approached their senior pastor, Michael Catt, with the idea to start a film ministry after reading a study that showed how movies and television are more influential in our culture than the church. The proposed ministry would produce positive and inspiring Christian-themed stories. The pastor saw the film ministry as an opportunity to further the church’s mission of reaching the world from Albany, Georgia. So, Sherwood Pictures was established in 2003. The brothers credit Michael with being the visionary who allowed them to make the first movie, Flywheel, when they didn't think a church would be willing to take on a risky project.
Stephen worked as a co-writer and producer for both of Sherwood Pictures’ movie releases, Facing the Giants and Flywheel. He helped to rally and organize the production teams during filming, provide special effect elements during the editing process, and develop promotional materials for distribution. Stephen also worked with Provident Films in developing marketing and Bible study resources for churches in conjunction with Facing the Giants. That film was shown in over 1,000 theaters and drew over $10 million in box office receipts. The best-selling DVD was later released in 10 languages and in 56 countries and every continent. Over 6,500 churches have utilized the movie for ministry outreach in their communities.
On February 22, 2007, the Georgia State House of Representatives and Senate read a resolution honoring Sherwood Pictures and Sherwood Baptist Church for the success and positive impact of Facing the Giants. When he is not producing films, Stephen oversees the church’s prayer ministry, directs major ministry events, teaches an adult Sunday school class and leads The Great Adventure, an adult discipleship program he developed. Stephen also serves as the senior pastor’s preaching assistant filling the pulpit when the pastor is gone.
STEPHEN KENDRICK & FIREPROOF
Stephen Kendrick says Sherwood Baptist Church opted for a third movie, Fireproof, based upon the success of earlier releases Flywheel in 2003 and Facing the Giants in 2006. Since the release of Facing the Giants, the church has received 10,000 e-mails and reports of more than 5,000 professions of faith. Sherwood Productions believes that Fireproof has that same potential.
“We are preaching a two-hour sermon in the format of a Hollywood movie and will be able to reach people who would never set foot inside a church,” says Stephen.
The scheduled release date for the movie is September, 26, 2008. It will be distributed through Provident Films.
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