Amazing Grace — coming in February 2007

The Hollywood Reporter, via Reuters, says Amazing Grace, the historical abolitionist biopic directed by Michael Apted and produced by Walden Media, has secured a distributor:

Independent distributors Samuel Goldwyn Films and Roadside Attractions said they would release the film on February 23, the 200th anniversary of the British parliament’s vote to abolish the slave trade. . . .

The companies are planning to target the traditional art house crowd, human rights groups and faith-based audiences.

“Wilberforce is a hero to many Christians because he combined political actions and his belief in God,” said Howard Cohen, Roadside co-president.

The film was produced by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz’s Bristol Bay Prods., which aims to make uplifting family-friendly fare. It scored a hit with “Ray.” . . .

Okay, I admit I included that last paragraph not because it has anything to do with Amazing Grace, per se, but because it strikes me as more than a little funny that anyone would suggest, however inadvertently, that Ray (2004), with its infidelities and drug addictions and so on, was “uplifting family-friendly fare”.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • Anonymous

    “Wilberforce is a hero to many Christians because he combined political actions and his belief in God”

    WHAT? This make it sound like the distributor is playing this up to the “Christian” Coalition.

    NO…he is a hero because he stopped the slave trade through vision, sacrifice, and incredible perseverence. Politics was merely the method.

    I wonder if this film will give much attention to Wilberforce’s second great passion: “The reformation of manners”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07395937367596387523 Peter T Chattaway

    Christian Coalition? Not necessarily — the first public screening of this movie anywhere will be at an event featuring the left-leaning likes of Jim Wallis and Anne Lamott. But Wilberforce is popular with Christians all across the political spectrum, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the distributors wanted their film to appeal to the right-leaning types, too. Who knows, this film could offer the two sides some “common ground”!


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