Rick Santorum: Hollywood Abandoned Faith, Patriotism and Family

Rick Santorum: Hollywood Abandoned Faith, Patriotism and Family

Breitbart News contributor Kevin Williams (Fear of a Black Republican) recently spoke with EchoLight CEO and former presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum about his shift to movie making, his new western The Redemption of Henry Myers and why the entertainment industry doesn’t reflect the country as it did in years gone by.

Kevin Williams: How has your transition from full-time politics to filmmaking been so far?over EchoLight Studios.

Rick Santorum: It’s interesting because it is a transition, but it really isn’t a transition because I continue to be very active in the political world, and a lot of what I’m doing in the film world is really a part of the same battle. Trying to stand up for truth in the public square, and it is a little different public square. It is the media public square and the story-telling square. But it is one that is very, very important in moving the direction of the country and making sure that people are exposed to the truth and goodness and reason and faith and all the things that are very important to having a good and healthy society.

Kevin Williams: Andrew Breitbart used to say that culture is upstream from politics. How much influence do you feel that culture has on our American politics?

Rick Santorum: Tremendous [influence]. I think Andrew was right. I have repeated that over and over again over the past couple of years, but even before then when I was in the Senate. I recognized that and realized that if you’re setting the narrative to the culture… and as you can see, the culture in a whole variety of issues is moving from goodness and the truth. You are not going to get those truths reflected in your laws if the public doesn’t support them any more. So we’re seeing all of these things happen because we are probably more so than any generation in history… absolutely inundated with messages and cultural influences. Whether it is advertising, television, movies, Internet… you name it. We’re just bombarded with images and information. Even if you are a low-information person, you can’t avoid the information that you do get. And it is clearly one-sided and as a result of that, you are seeing the culture change.

Kevin Williams: Do you think that change includes more folks from the right side of the aisle getting involved in entertainment ventures and filmmaking such as yourself… is that kind of a generational change? Maybe where older conservatives were wary of the entertainment industry and scared of getting involved?

Rick Santorum: If you go back to the early days of mass media when movies and television started, they were on the sides of families. They were on the side of patriotism. They were on the side of values that were reflected throughout our culture and Hollywood decided to shift in the 1960s. A variety of different things happened in the 60s obviously, but in the industry… the Hayes Code was repealed. And you see Hollywood beginning to go off in a very different direction, driven by the elites in our culture. Liberal elites in our culture and academic institutions by that time had already gone over to the Left. They were now educating and influencing popular culture. So you’ve had this 50 years of erosion of vital institutions in our society because the media has basically pricked the balloon of all those institutions and made them almost a joke. Things like church and the faith, fatherhood and marriage. All these things that used to be foundational institutions are now the butts of jokes and seen as something to avoid or something that is old and should be discarded in the dustbin of history. As opposed to vibrant institutions for a healthy society.

Kevin Williams: And Hollywood is still just not getting the idea that there is a profitable business to be built around that too, such as what you are doing with EchoLight?

Rick Santorum: Well, what we are doing with EchoLight is saying that the truth can be very entertaining, very challenging, very funny and very scary. You can have all different genres of films with good quality entertainment, great scripts, and great entertainment with the truth in them. Hollywood did that for years and years and created some of the greatest movies of all time. There’s no shortage of great stories to be told. True and fictional of all different genres that reflect the values that are consistent with a good and decent, moral society. That is what we are trying to do and particularly with EchoLight, we are trying to focus on the issue of portraying faith in a more realistic and authentic light than what traditional movie fare has done in the last forty or fifty years. That is sort of our niche but we think it is an important one, not just for believers to have their beliefs seen on the screen and validated, but also for people who don’t have any exposure to those beliefs. Because you don’t see beliefs in the public square now. You don’t hear our politicians or any sort of public discourse about it. You don’t see it in schools. The Bible is not taught. Faith is increasingly being privatized and moved out of any kind of public perception. We think it is important to have faith out there, and movies are a very important way to do that.

Kevin Williams: You certainly nailed it with The Redemption of Henry Myers. All the things you just talked about felt very realistic in how it would have been handled in the Old West as far as the Bible, Religion and the Family. That was a gutsy call for you and EchoLight because Westerns can scare movie producers and studios as far as even making them, let alone putting them together with a message.

Rick Santorum: You are right. Westerns are not the most popular genre, let’s put it that way. So for us, we just thought that the story was so good and compelling. One of the things that I liked when I watched it the first time was how natural it felt to have the Bible be the center of the family. It didn’t look contrived at all. But that is the way life was and you can accept that because it is the way life was. It’s not a contrivance. It is actually true and it was very much naturally reflected in The Redemption of Henry Myers.

Kevin Williams: Often when conservatives start getting involved in filmmaking there is a lot of the scripting does seem contrived, or their message seems forced, or the story is built around their message. The Redemption of Henry Myers isn’t like that. Your film feels completely like a regular movie, looks like a regular movie and is beautifully shot and acted. What would you say to people wanting to get into the business or to support films like this as a producer… in order to not make the same mistakes and really make an impact?

Rick Santorum: Authenticity is so important. You have got to be authentic in what you are doing. People are going to see it. People are going to see whether what you are doing is real. Whether it’s quality. We are working on a film right now that is a true story and we’ve gone through eight re-writes of the script because we want to make sure that [it is ready]. You can’t make a good movie out of a bad script and so we are really working hard on the fundamentals to make sure that we get it right and that the film accomplishes what we want it to accomplish. Then you have to put a great team together with great actors and actresses and a good production team including the director. We are working on all the mechanics and we’re using people from all over the map. People who aren’t necessarily pulled from the Christian world, but are folks who are good at their craft and who are certainly not unfriendly… and in some cases, very friendly to the subject matter we are dealing with. Our feeling is that we want to bring good craftspeople to the table and produce really good quality content.

Kevin Williams: Is that helping you get a better reception than might be expected in L.A. and New York City?

Rick Santorum: We are out there casting and we are getting a lot of looks from a lot of serious folks for our projects. That is exciting to see. Sometimes we don’t make the close because they are looking for a lot more money that we have budgeted. Particularly when you go after some of the bigger names, you realize some of the sticker shock that some of these folks ask for. We can’t pay those prices as we’re not a big Hollywood studio. We’re in a business and we’re going to make sure that we make good business decisions as well as good creative decisions.

Kevin Williams: Now that you’ve had your third film since you’ve been at EchoLight… what is coming down the pike film-wise?

Rick Santorum: Well, we’ve had three films come out since I have been here… The Christmas Candle, Seasons of Gray and now The Redemption of Henry Myers. We have another one coming out In September that is a documentary called One Generation Away. We’re very excited about this film. The only sad part of this documentary is that almost every week goes by and things seem to get worse! You almost feel like, “We’ve got to go back and add that!” and then something else happens the next week and you say “Oh! We’ve got to have that!” But it sort of makes the point that the slope is slippery and we are sliding quickly. This movie is wrapping up in the next few days and we’re finally putting it in the can.

Kevin Williams: Congratulations on The Redemption of Henry Myers and for what you are doing in the film business. Thank you for your time, Senator.

Rick Santorum: Thank you.


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