SALT LAKE CITY — Paulist Productions and Covenant Communications have teamed up on the family movie Christmas for a Dollar, which will debut in Salt Lake City on Oct. 30, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Conference Center.
The Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, will join Paulist Father Eric Andrews, president of Paulist Productions and the movie’s co-producer, to watch the movie with co-producer Ron Brough, from Covenant Communications.
Covenant Communications is a subsidiary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Covenant Communications has been creating film and television programs for the past 50 years, and "we are delighted to be in association with a quality company like Paulist Productions, which has a great history of unifying the human family through the power of media," said Brough.
The collaboration that produced Christmas for a Dollar began last year, when representatives of both companies met at a conference and learned they had similar missions, said Brough. "We publish about 100 books a year, some music CDs, and we usually do some documentaries. We have started doing a feature film every year."
After Brough shared some of Covenant Communications’ movies with Fr. Andrews and Marybeth Sprows, Paulist vice president, the executives found that their missions coincided in feature films.
"We wanted to do feature films that would teach Christ-like attributes in a non-denominational way," said Brough.
As they were discussing projects, Brough told the Paulists about Christmas for a Dollar, a story by Gale Sears based on her father’s childhood and the death of his mother.
After reading the script for Christmas for a Dollar, Fr. Andrews and Strows thought it would appeal to the Paulist audience, so they joined forces with Covenant Communications, said Fr. Andrews, who is also president-elect of the Paulist Fathers.
The Paulist Fathers are a Catholic religious order formed in 1858; their charism is college-age youth ministry, reconciliation of people back to the church, ecumenism and missionary work.
The movie offers the messages that Christmas is about giving and it doesn’t take a lot of money to give.
"It’s also about a family pulling together during a rough time," said Brough.
Fr. Andrews agreed. "Very basically, Christmas is more about giving than receiving and the more one gives to serve others, it becomes a gift in itself," he said. "The movie is also about having the faith to overcome adversity and it doesn’t matter who you are, you are treasured by God. Kids and adults will both certainly enjoy this movie."
The main focus of the movie is the youngest boy, who "is struggling with polio, and he really wants to ride a horse," said Fr. Andrews. "At one point in the movie the horse gets injured and its owner wants to put the horse down. The boy basically makes the point everybody deserves a second chance."
The movie is about a boy who knows he is loved and has worth, said Fr. Andrews. "Paulist Productions’ mission is to challenge viewers to love others and to liberate one another from all that is dehumanizing.
"A lot of people are still struggling through tough times since 2008 and 2009," Fr. Andrews said. "It’s amazing what you can do with a little bit of resources and a lot of love, and Christmas can really be special even though you may be overwhelmed."