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Faith Films Get Boost

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A major Hollywood deal makes a big impact on a local company. Hollywood is putting their faith and money into a growing religious movie market. The trend has one major studio pumping millions into Tulsa-based Impact Entertainment. News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims tells us what this means for Oklahoma's movie industry.

The movie “One Night with the King” earned Impact Entertainment quite a reputation; even Hollywood is taking notice.

"It’s just an amazing time when the major studios of our country recognize that this is a viable entity," said Tom Newman.

Newman is the head of Impact Entertainment, and movies are his ministry. He's now penned a deal with the Weinstein Brothers to produce and distribute six faith-based movies a year, each with a budget of $10 million.

"They're really good filmmakers, and they're really behind this adventure. I just couldn’t be happier. I'm just pinching myself over this opportunity," Newman said.

Newman's Tulsa based company has been around for two decades. But he says this deal never would have happened before Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ proved there is an audience for faith-based films.

"And it’s just very gratifying that the studios want to join with you to help you get your message out and so I couldn't be happier," said Newman.

The Weinstein deal won't only mean more motion pictures; it also mean existing Impact productions, like “Popahooee Island” and “Millard,” will reach a wider audience through home DVD sales.

Newman says as Impact's business grows so could Oklahoma's film industry.

"There’s a bunch of good quality people here that know what they're doing and know how to do great work, so I think we can deliver some great films from here," said Newman.

Impact is already working on two new projects, a film version of Max Lucado's new Christmas novel, and a soon to be released book by popular Christian author Joyce Meyer called the “Penny.”

"’Penny’ is based in St Louis, we're going to do everything we can to shoot that in Tulsa and in this environment," Newman said.

Obviously this is having a huge impact on Tom Newman's business here in Tulsa. He says ever since news of the Weinstein deal hit Variety magazine last week his phone has been ringing off the hook. He says he went from looking at one script a month to ten a week.
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