Raising up the next generation of Christian filmmakers

The men behind "Courageous", "Fireproof" and "Facing the Giants" are setting up their own production company to nurture new talent in Christian filmmaking.

Alex and Stephen Kendrick wrote, produced and directed the hit Christian movies under the umbrella of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia.

Although they will remain in active ministry with the church, their filmmaking is heading off in a new direction with the blessing of their pastors Michael Catt and Jim McBride.

Unlike the last films, which used volunteers from the church, their next movie will be made with aspiring Christian filmmakers and young students who have the same vision they do to make Christian movies, reports the Baptist Press.

"We have such a burden to help the next generation do this from a biblical perspective," Alex Kendrick told Baptist Press. "We've got to reproduce ourselves and duplicate ourselves, and we think this is the way to do it."

Stephen Kendrick added: "We want to teach the next generation of filmmakers."

The students will be mentored under the Kendricks as well as professional set crew. But it won't just be practical skills they'll be learning.

The Kendricks are also keen to educate the next generation theologically.

"What we're discovering is that many of these young students are developing a skill level to make movies but lack the deeper maturity level to know what kind of theology and biblical worldview to present," Alex told the Baptist Press. "We want to train them to do the craft and storytelling, but equally, we want to train them to think biblically and make sure their theology is correct' -- not just to make an action movie and sprinkle Bible verses on top."

Although their previous movies were all made on budgets of $2 million or less, they went on to be hits in the cinemas and via DVD worldwide, with Courageous grossing their highest returns at the box office with $35 million.

They're optimistic that the next generation will raise the bar in Christian filmmaking even higher.

Alex told the Baptist Press: "We're rooting for the guys coming behind us to get better than we are. The standard has to get better than Courageous and Fireproof. There's so much more room to grow. We would be selfish if we tried to stay where we are on a long-term basis. We've got to grow and teach and push them ahead of us. We've only made $500,000 to $2 million movies. These guys can come along and hopefully make much bigger movies that will compete with the best of Hollywood."