News Column

Santorum to head faith-based film company

June 25, 2013


June 25--Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania who was a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, has been named CEO of the faith-based family film company EchoLight Studios.

Mr. Santorum announced his leadership of the Dallas-based company Saturday on Fox News Channel's "The Huckabee Show."

"This is the right place and right time, and I've jumped in with both feet," Mr. Santorum said in a statement. "Dallas can become the Hollywood of the faith-and-family movie market. And the keys are great content and economic success."

Bobby Downes, president of EchoLight Studios, said Mr. Santorum came to Texas to visit the studio from his home in Washington, D.C., once each week for the past year as a board member. Mr. Downes said Mr. Santorum helped the 2-year-old company with "hands-on" development, which included funding and discussing scripts and projects.

Mr. Downes said it "just made sense" for Mr. Santorum to become CEO.

"The public will just have to learn who Mr. Santorum is through the films that he releases," Mr. Downes said. "That cannot be skewed."

EchoLight will release its first film, "The Redemption of Henry Meyers," in the fall.

Its second film, "Hoovey," set to be released in 2014, tells the story of a promising Illinois basketball player whose dreams are threatened by a brain tumor. After surgery, he has to learn to relive his life, guided by faith. It stars Patrick Warburton and Lauren Holly and is directed by Sean McNamara, who also directed "Soul Surfer."

During the past 10 years, more movies have been made by Christian artists than ever before, Mr. Downes said. The movies represent hope, inspirational entertainment and positive role modeling, he said.

EchoLight touts itself as being the first movie company to produce, finance, market and distribute its films on all platforms, which include movie theaters, home video, video on demand and broadcast.

"That's what caught Mr. Santorum's attention," Mr. Downes said.

Mr. Santorum said in a news release that EchoLight is "using money from all over to build out the industry."

"We're in a position with potential to transform the industry," Mr. Santorum said. "EchoLight is a wide door into movie excellence and to more of it -- which is why we're also helping to cultivate young filmmakers in the faith community, helping them develop cinema that, in many, many ways, can go further and do more."

Marina Weis: 412-263-1889 or


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