FPA has just signed an agreement to create two new films about the rest of C.S. Lewis’ profound spiritual journey. By God’s grace, we will be back in production in summer 2023.
This is a historic opportunity for FPA, and I want to tell you why we’re seizing it and where we hope to go.
When The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewispremiered as a one-night-only event in cinemas across the country last November, film industry experts told us to expect about 20,000 people to see it. Here is what happened instead:
It opened as the No. 2 film at the box office in the country, No. 1 in per-screen average.
Theaters extended this “one-night event” three times, finally closing a month later.
It expanded into Canada and then the U.K.
Over 250,000 people saw it on the big screen based on box office receipts.
This story repeated itself in December where the film was downloaded in 130 countries. In April, it was picked up by Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play and YouTube. It soon reached No. 4 on Apple TV for independent films, and No. 12 on Amazon for DVDs!
How did this happen? And can we do it again? The answer to both questions is the same. Seek the Lord’s guidance. First, to direct us to what stories we should tell. Then, wait on Him to bring the right people to us to open doors.
Over the years, the Lord has led us to the works of Clive Staples Lewis. Scholars and experts routinely describe Fellowship for Performing Arts as one of the leading interpreters of his work, especially as it relates to theatre and now film.
In the process of doing that, God has brought to us an extraordinary team of artists, designers and key players to help us create our work at the highest level of excellence that our combined talents and budgets allow.
I believe this is what enabled us to exceed expectations. Our first film reached a vast worldwide audience with the simple but nuanced story of how one man came to faith in Christ.
Lewis’ life is so full, so rich and so deep an expression of the Holy Spirit’s transforming power that we are going back to that well to create two new films.
The plan is to finalize the storylines and budget for both films within the next month. The first film will cover Lewis’ post-conversion rise to influence from 1931 to 1949. And the second movie will cover his last years from 1950 to 1963.
Combined, the films will show how this obscure, young scholar became the most influential Christian writer of the 20th century. They will dig into Lewis’ friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings; the resistance he experienced in academic circles; and his collapse and hospitalization from exhaustion. We will take another look at his late-in-life marriage to the American divorcee Joy Davidman and relive his last day on earth, Nov. 22, 1963 — that fateful day when both he and John F. Kennedy died at roughly the same time.
Next, we will spend the following 6 to 9 months writing the scripts with the intent to shoot both films on location over 10 to 12 weeks next summer and fall.
The budget is still being built, but shooting both films at the same time will save time and costs. Still, the combined cost for both films will be in the $10 to $12 million range before marketing and distribution.
These films are the next manifestation of our mission to create art from a Christian worldview to engage a wide audience. They will need to be told with excellence and imagination by skilled artists and filmmakers. To do that, we need your help.
I am asking you to help us begin to fund the cost of these films now so that we can release the first one in 2024.
By God’s grace, this is the path He has laid out for FPA over the next 18 months. Will you join us in this effort to impact a global audience with high-level filmmaking from a Christian worldview? I am fully aware these are uncertain times for many of us. But we are trusting God to lead us as we engage men and women the world over with this expression of God’s grace as exemplified in Lewis’ life.
Your gift and support of this initiative is part of His leading. He has arranged things so that the vision He has given us will come to reality only through the partnership of friends like you whom He has called to support us. Whatever you feel led to give will help this important effort.
Thank you for standing with us in this great work.