January 29, 2010
Posted: 03:43 PM ET
CEO of Gener8Xion Entertainment on why he's donating 100% of his proceeds from tonight's box office of the new movie, Preacher's Kid, to Haiti relief.
LKL Web Exclusive
By Matthew Crouch, CEO of Gener8Xion Entertainment
I first visited Haiti in 1976 when I was fifteen years old. My parents, Paul and Jan Crouch, co-founders of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, had just become involved with serving the needs this terribly poverty-stricken country. Numerous return trips ensued as my family’s love and passion for the Haitian people grew through the years. I watched my mother spend millions of dollars building a hospital, supporting an orphanage, funding other aid groups working in Haiti. We didn’t know it when we began, but our work in Haiti would become Trinity Broadcasting’s longest running on going project. I can recall a very special trip just a few years ago, spent filming a documentary featuring my wife Laurie working along side my mom as they fed and cared for the beautiful Haitian children.
All this is to say that news of the earthquake struck us particularly deep. To mention the countless images and memories that overwhelmed us as we looked upon the devastation on TV is to infer that our pain is somehow comparable to what the Haitian people have experienced and this is most definitely not the case. Yet I know we’ve all been touched by this tragedy as evidenced by the incredible and compassionate response from around the world.
So many times when tragedy strikes as it has in Haiti, our natural response is to question why. Why did this have to happen? Why did so many people have to die? Why is there so much ongoing pain and suffering. Unfortunately, those are answers we rarely get to know, at least in this life. Of course, that doesn’t seem to stop the endless parade of pundits, prophets and prognosticators continuously chiming in like a flock of vultures encircling their prey.
Yet as I’ve watched the amazing outpouring of love and support toward the people of Haiti coming in from all over the world, something has begun to crystallize in my mind. Perhaps the “reasons why” aren’t meant to be discovered by us, but determined by us. “What are we doing about it?” is a far more fundamental question in the face of trapped and starving people than “Why did it have to happen?” In fact, the world’s response to this tragedy, their very act of doing something about it on such an enormous scale demonstrates to me that we indeed have the power to create, if not “The” answer, than at least “one” answer as to the question of why.
So much of our daily lives are focused on ourselves – sometimes out of selfishness, sometimes out of pure need for survival. For good or for bad, however, ours is a society that allowed a pre-earthquake Haiti to exist with conditions that would be considered reprehensible if found here in America. For decade after decade the plight of the Haitian people was virtually ignored. Yet today, the world sees and today the world cares. Nothing can quantify or replace those whose lives have been lost in this tragedy, yet in the response of people around the globe we have united to create purpose out of otherwise seeming purposelessness.
Today, I stand at a time that would normally be the cause of great celebration. I’m a movie producer and CEO of Gener8Xion Entertainment and my latest film, Preacher’s Kid opens today, Friday, January 29. Ironically, the film is something of a modern day version of the Biblical parable of the “Prodigal Son,” a story ultimately about restoration and the rebuilding of a life that had been left to ruin.
Gener8Xion’s films have always sought to engage an underserved audience and rally people around the timeless themes of faith and family. For almost as long, it’s been our desire to produce a film that speaks to the heart of the African American community. Preacher’s Kid attempts to do just that. Yet how do we stand and celebrate when there is still so much need? How do we say, “Hey, look at us!” when there is so much else to focus on?
Thus we felt ourselves called to once again stop asking the questions and start being the answers. And so we’ve decided to put our money where our mouth is and commit to donating 100% of Gener8Xion’s opening night net proceeds for Preacher’s Kid to the Haiti relief efforts of several prominent charities including Smile of a Child, Samaritan’s Purse and Friend Ships.
What this means in terms of dollars and cents, we’ll have no way of knowing until after this weekend. With theaters keeping upwards of 60% of all revenue, we figure around three to four dollars out of every ten dollar ticket sold on Friday will go to helping Haiti. As for the total, it could be a little or it could be a lot. It depends on how many people go to see it. We’re obviously praying for a lot, though for the first time, it has nothing to do with making a dent in the box office charts. Rather, we see this as giving people a way to utilize something they’d ordinarily be doing on a Friday night – going to a movie – to be another means of blessing to the Haitian people.
The movie itself is a timeless, inspirational story of a 20-something daughter of a minister who is longing to experience more of life – and with dreams of fame and fortune in her mind – strikes out on her own for the very first time, joining a traveling gospel show. She soon discovers that life on the road is tough; but even more, she fears going home with nothing to show for herself, or worse, to a father who might no longer love her.
Written and directed by Stan Foster (Woman Thou Art Loosed), Preacher’s Kid stars platinum-selling R&B singer, LeToya Luckett (formerly of super group, “Destiny’s Child”) in a standout film debut, which includes both acting and singing. There’s a stellar supporting cast which consists of current Grammy® nominee, Trey Songz; R&B singer/producer, Tank; Sharif Atkins (currently appearing in “White Collar” on the USA Network); Gregalan Williams (Remember the Titans); Essence Atkins (“Half & Half”) and Kierra “Kiki” Sheard, an EMI Gospel recording artist. All this to say, Preacher’s Kid is a real movie, not some low budget cast away in need of a publicity stunt. We believe it will do well, which is why we believe donating our revenue from opening night will make a difference.
As someone with a longstanding relationship with Haiti, it’s my hope and my prayer that we will all remain focused on rebuilding the nation, on restoring it to someplace is has never yet achieved, on defining ourselves why this happened through our actions and involvement. People have given so much already. So much more is needed. We’ve created a simple yet satisfying was to continue to fill the need Please come out to support Haiti and in doing so get to see Preacher’s Kid, a high quality film that celebrates the human spirit and the love of family.
For more information about relief efforts in Haiti and to get further involved, please visit www.smileofachild.org. For more information about Preacher’s Kid and how to find where it’s playing, please visit www.preacherskidfilm.com
Filed under: Haiti Earthquake
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