Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum to head firm making films with Christian message

'We want good writers, actors, and producers who want to make honest, uplifting content'

Rick Santorum, the evangelical candidate who ran Mitt Romney a close second for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, has announced that he is the new CEO of EchoLight studios, a Texan film production firm dedicated to making and distributing movies with a Christian message.

The former Pennsylvania senator, who opposes gay marriage and abortion, argued in a 2011 speech that conservatives ought to become more involved in popular culture, and produce better quality Christian-themed content. "The problem in the past is that you have these people who create these Christian films - great message, terrible acting, horrible editing," he said. "They are not entertaining, they're preachy."

Santorum has been fundraising for EchoLight for around six months, and says the firm is now close to securing $20m in financing for future film projects. He officially announced his new role as CEO on Monday, inviting filmmakers to pitch ideas for movies in the $2m budget range. "We're looking for talented people who want to make quality films, even though we won't be spending tens of millions of dollars on each of them," Santorum told The Hollywood Reporter. "We want good writers, actors, and producers who want to make honest, uplifting content."

Founded in 2011, EchoLight has already released eight straight-to-video features, and intends to produce up to four films per year. The Dallas-based firm's early investors are reportedly wealthy Texans without much movie industry experience, but Santorum said he was confident nonetheless that "Dallas can become the Hollywood of the faith-and-family movie market."

The company's first release under Santorum will be The Redemption of Henry Myers, a western in which a bank robber, left for dead following a failed heist, is taken in by a comely widow and her children. The studio is also at work on a contemporary version of the Old Testament tale of Joseph and his coat of many colours, and Hoovey, the true story of a high school basketball star who had to learn to walk and talk again after suffering a brain tumour.

Hoovey will be directed by Sean McNamara, who also helmed 2011's Soul Surfer, the true story of Bethany Hamilton, the teenager who pursued a professional surfing career despite losing her left arm in a shark attack. Santorum says he was disappointed by that film's lack of focus on Hamilton's Christianity.

"Soul Surfer was a good film, but it didn't accurately portray faith in that young lady's life," he said. "I don't want to preach to anybody, I just want to portray faith as it really is, and we're going to be telling a lot of true-life stories, and we're going to make them comfortable even for people who are not of faith, because they are honest. That's the challenge for us, and it's what Hollywood tends to shy away from."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk / Trainee Application Support Analyst - Hampshire

£25000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor