Is the ‘Christian Fatwa’ over? Makers of ‘Blue Like Jazz’ and ‘October Baby’ talk it out

We reported previously on a “Christian fatwa” allegedly imposed on Steve Taylor’s Blue Like Jazz by the Kendrick brothers. Their company, Sherwood Pictures, makes Christian market movies like Fireproof and Courageous and distributes them with Provident Pictures. The most recent distributed through Provident was October Baby. The “fatwa” involved a refusal to promote Blue Like Jazz via trailers at October Baby screenings and a threat that people who worked with Blue Like Jazz would no longer be able to work with Sherwood and Provident.

In a blog post just published, Taylor describes a phone call Saturday night in which he hashed out the issue with Alex Kendrick, whom he describes as “warm, humble, and generous” and “a Christian brother who wanted to make things right.” Taylor writes:

He explained how he and his brother/filmmaking partner Stephen had no prior knowledge that their church’s Executive Pastor (who is also an Executive Producer on their movies) had issued the edict last year that I described in a previous blog, wherein he let it be known that anybody who worked on Blue Like Jazz would not be working on future Sherwood Baptist movies. Alex told me that, while he and his brother are members of the church and have worked closely with this pastor in the past, they disagreed with his decision, and he further confirmed that none of them, including the pastor, have seen Blue Like Jazz.

It seems the two also found a way to bridge the gap between Kendrick’s sweet faith-based films and Taylor’s more edgy style.

As I’ve stated before, I have great respect for what Alex and his brother have accomplished as filmmakers. Making movies is hard. They’ve had extraordinary success using very limited resources, and each time they do it they get better. We’ve had a number of their fans tell us how much they liked Blue Like Jazz, and Alex and I agreed that there are a variety of ways for Christians to approach storytelling. We’re humbled and grateful that he reached out to us in such a direct and personal way.

Sounds like a good ending to the story. Maybe it would make a good movie.

More on this story:

Read our original post about the “Christian fatwa.

Read our review of Blue Like Jazz

Read our interview with Steve Taylor

Read our interview with John Schneider for October Baby

Update: October Baby is not made by Sherwood Pictures, but is distributed by Provident Films, which has co-distributed the Kendrick Brothers’ films for years and is closely tied to them. A previous version of this story identified October Baby as a Sherwood production, which it is not. Thanks to reader Matt Smith for the catch.

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  • Matt Smith

    Good to hear this; thanks for posting it. All of these Christian filmmakers need to show each other plenty of grace.
    On another note, I didn’t know Sherwood Pictures and the Kendrick brothers had anything to do with “October Baby”. It’s missing at IMDB:

  • Rebecca Cusey

    It’s not actually Sherwood Pictures. It’s the co-distributor Provident Pictures which is closely tied to Sherwood and was accused of issuing the “fatwa.” Thanks for the catch. Good to be precise.