Family Christian Stores Adds Filmmaking

Written by Editor in Chief on . Posted in Local

familychristianThe idea that turned the nation's largest Christian retail chain into a giving engine to support widows and orphans now expands to movies. Family Christian Stores' new sister company, Family Christian Entertainment (FCE), announces the Atlanta shoot, starting Jan. 26, of 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, the 2004 New York Times best-selling book about Pastor Don Piper's near-death experience.

In 1989 Don Piper died in an automobile accident when another pastor at the site prayed over him. Before Piper returned to life, and to a protracted physical recovery, he saw Heaven, met family members, friends, church folks, teachers . . . even joined the procession as a heavenly choir entered Heaven's gates.

"Piper struck me as a reliable witness," Christianity Today editor and former Christian History editor Mark Galli wrote in CT's December 2012 cover story about the rise in accounts of "near-God experiences." "Piper simply had the look and sound of sanity, of someone who was telling the truth, whose word was his bond," Galli said.

Piper knows well his story's effect and is eager to see it translate into theaters. "In the 10 years since the book's release--in 46 languages--the response always is moving and personal to each reader," he said. "To think now that it's also going to be a film is humbling and gratifying, and for Family Christian Entertainment to produce it is immensely exciting."

"We know our audience, we know the power of stories, and we plan to make at least two films a year," 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN Producer Rick Jackson said. Jackson founded and is CEO of Jackson Healthcare, the nation's third-largest healthcare staffing company. He and two other investors formed Family Christian Ministries, a non-profit holding company that owns Family Christian Stores, IDisciple, Family Christian Entertainment-and sends 100 percent of profits to Christian charities.

While Family Christian Stores is the leading seller of Christian DVDs, Jackson emphasizes that FCE theatrical films, as they become DVDs, will sell in many outlets beyond Family Christian Stores. And, again, all movie profits will go to charities.
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