Former rocket scientist, shark safety diver and award winning screenwriter, Dan Goforth’s most recent assignments were RIDING ON FAITH, the true-life story of rodeo champion Amberley Snyder and the feature film adaptations of New York Times bestselling author Col. Walter J. Boyne’s DAWN OVER KITTY HAWK, as well as the sci-fi graphic novel, THE CHRONIC ARGONAUTS, from New Baby Publishing. Visit Dan’s blog, Script Soup and follow him on Twitter @Dango_Forth.
Faith-based films have a long history in the cinema, dating back to 1903 with the French silent film Vie et Passion du Christ (Life and Passion of the Christ). In 2015, films in the faith-based genre accounted for over $100 million in box office receipts. The “Cross Road To Films” series focuses on Christian filmmakers, bringing a spotlight to their upcoming movies, as well as insights into the processes behind these films.
The Christiano brothers’ Five & Two Pictures has been lauded for its many successful faith-based films, including A Matter of Faith and The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry. On August 26, 2016, their latest film, Remember The Goal, makes its theatrical run.
Remember The Goal is the first ever movie about a girls cross country team. It follows a new Coach, just out of college, who takes over the girls cross country program at a private Christian school and attempts to lead them to a state title. “Allee-Sutton Hethcoat plays the lead role of Coach Courtney Smith-Donnelly” says Dave Christiano. “She is terrific in this movie and a strong role model and leader, with high character. We need more people like her in real life and my hope is that she will be a positive influence for many.”
I asked writer-producer-director Dave Christiano about what inspired him to write this film. Dave explained, “I look around and most teenagers are driven by the ungodly movies and music of the day. They are plugged into the liberal media and listening to that wrong voice. Their focus needs to change.”
Dave ran cross country in high school and college, in addition to coaching two high school cross country teams. He pulled from his experiences in order to speak to young people who are now at that same stage in life. And to adults, as well. “The main issues presented in this movie apply to all athletes and all sports! It shares insight on four different life lessons for Teens and two for Parenting. The movie also presents a principle for Coaches that could change the way they lead their teams.” Christiano hopes that this film provides teens something they may desperately be seeking: a purpose in life.
Dave says, “We hope to start a movement among teens called 10:31 with an inspirational dramatic movie about girls cross country. ’10:31′ is based on 1 Corinthians 10:31 which states, “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”. That one verse alone takes your eyes off self and puts it on the Lord. That one verse is life-changing.” He wrote the screenplay to help teens deal with worldly issues facing them today, such as self-esteem and addictive vices, in order to encourage and inspire them toward the Lord.
He was also just as purposeful about the running depicted in the film, ensuring that it reflected the true realities and challenges of the sport. ““It was very important to me to make sure this movie, especially the
running scenes, were portrayed accurately and realistically,” states the director. Actresses Quinn Alexis, Jayla Palmer, Sydney Marks and McKensie Miller had to spend several weeks of running training in order to prepare for their roles. Only Margaret Tant, the other actress who rounds out the top 5 runners, was an active member on her school’s cross country team.
Christiano says this his five actresses actually could be a pretty decent cross country team if they kept at it. They all became quite good and are very believable in their roles as runners. Some other good results also came about with those involved in this film. “The girls and I have formed such a strong bond over these past months. They are some of my best friends.” said Sydney.
“Cross country is a lot like life,” said Christiano, “and Remember The Goal will relate the two together.” This will be the 16th film from Dave and Rich Christiano.
With all the changes in the business, especially with the introduction of the digital element, I wondered where Dave saw the future of faith based films.
Dave: The film industry is changing as did the music industry years ago. Digital access to music, and now movies, has made getting income for your work a bit more difficult. Therefore, to survive, I see the future of Christian films in the public performance arena, meaning, showing films in theaters or even for church rental again in a greater way. This is how the Christian film industry started back in the 40s, with church rental, and today, I see public performance being an important factor to stay alive in the Christian film industry.
- More articles by Dan Goforth
- Riding on Faith in True-Life Scripts
- Cross Road to Film:The ‘War Room’ of Christian Filmmaking
Get tips on the faith genre in Brad Wise’s webinar
Writing the Faith-Based Screenplay