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’Tis The Season . . . Rick Santorum Rings Out Word Of Christmas Movie

October 29, 2013 Featured Today No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

After Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum shook a security guard’s hand before last year’s internationally televised GOP debate in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, Ariz., the apparently impressed guard said twice, “I just shook the hand of the next president.”
It was Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2012, at the Mesa Arts Center auditorium, one in a series of Republican candidate face-offs.
Although Santorum eventually came in second to Mitt Romney, who won the GOP nomination, that security guard might still be proven correct.
The man who went on to retain the presidency in last November’s election, Barack Obama, wasn’t the next president, he was the re-elected incumbent.
Whoever the next president will be awaits the results of November 2016.
Recently asked by The Wanderer if he was thinking of making another presidential run, the former Pennsylvania U.S. senator certainly didn’t rule out the possibility.
“I do” think of it, Santorum replied. “I’m certainly still open to look into that,” but for now he believes he has to provide for his family and also “follow my calling to try to make a difference.”
Santorum spoke with The Wanderer in an October 16 telephone interview about how he has chosen to make that difference — by accepting an offer in June to become CEO of EchoLight Studios, a traditional-values entertainment company based in Dallas.
“I’d like to see Dallas and Fort Worth be to faith and family entertainment what Nashville is to music,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram quoted Santorum in August. “It’s an alternative to the coasts,” whose productions often are hostile to traditional values.
Giving media interviews in October to promote an upcoming holiday offering from EchoLight, The Christmas Candle, was the priority of the day for Santorum. The movie is scheduled to open in theaters nationwide November 22.
In a news release last February at the “PRWeb” publicity site, entertainment jargon came through in the description of Santorum’s studio:
“EchoLight Studios is the first vertically integrated Christian movie studio to offer production financing, marketing, and distribution across all releasing platforms. Based in Dallas, EchoLight produces and distributes high-quality faith and family friendly entertainment through a full film distribution platform, servicing theatrical, home video, digital/VOD and broadcast in both U.S. domestic and international markets.”
Santorum’s language is more direct about The Christmas Candle, set in the late 19th century. It’s a story, he said, about a man without hope and a woman without faith who find love.
A news release offers this tease:
“With the themes of Advent woven into its narrative, the story takes place deep in the heart of the English countryside, in the enchanting village of Gladbury. Legend has it, every 25 years an angel visits the village candlemaker and touches a single candle. Whoever lights the Christmas Candle receives a miracle on Christmas Eve. But in 1890, at the dawn of the electric age, this centuries-old legend may be forced to come to an end.”
A pastor in the movie has lost hope that “God is a God who’s present and active in the world,” Santorum said, explaining that in modern times the argument for the existence of God can seem less powerful when people are more self-sufficient.
Santorum told The Wanderer: “I want to provide some truth and some light to a popular culture that’s fairly dark, and particularly in the area of faith. . . .
“By and large, popular culture doesn’t do faith. Doesn’t do faith well if it does do faith,” he added.
Asked about a remark by producer Tom Newman that the movie’s cast members “appreciated the wonderful nostalgia factor of The Christmas Candle, commenting it had the flavor of It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street,” Santorum replied that it’s “a very tall order” to match those classics.
The Christmas Candle “is a beautifully shot film. . . . The cast is a marvelous cast of proven actors. . . . It’s delightful,” Santorum said.
A news release quoted Santorum: “It’s remarkable that we’ve gotten to the point where putting a traditional Christmas movie in theaters at Christmastime is a major event, but here we are! It’s a great blessing to be able to change the narrative after so many years of attacks on Christmas in our culture. Rather than cursing the darkness, we chose to light a candle.”
More information is at www.thechristmascandlemovie.com.
Noting that he has been “criticized quite a bit” for championing traditional morality, Santorum told The Wanderer that 50 or 60 years ago, “Republicans and Democrats alike would say the things I’m saying, and then some.”
Hollywood used to make films about people like the French visionary St. Bernadette Soubirous, he said. However, in recent decades, there has been a barrage of other values thrown at people through the media, “something that has a huge impact.”
This relates to Santorum’s belief that politics doesn’t transform culture, but cultural values flow into and create the political climate.
The Song of Bernadette, Franz Werfel’s 1941 novelization about the young visionary, was on The New York Times best-seller list for more than a year, according to Wikipedia, followed by release of the film of the same name.
In 1944, the actress who portrayed Bernadette, Jennifer Jones, won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role.
One can’t be surprised that a 21st-century entertainment culture that hails prostitutes and abortionists would produce a president like Barack Obama or the churning death factory that Obama champions, Planned Parenthood — both of them considered culturally beyond reproach for their seamy, squalid outlook.
“We have seen the edginess of films become sort of the gold standard as to whether it’s a good film,” rather than measuring by what’s good and true, Santorum said in the October 16 interview.
“We’ve cursed the darkness against what’s been produced by the popular culture, instead of engaging . . . to make our mark” in the lessons being taught, he said.
The Christmas Candle is based on the book of the same name by best-selling Christian author Max Lucado. The movie, directed by John Stephenson, includes Hans Matheson, Samantha Barks, Lesley Manville, and Sylvester McCoy, as well as British singing sensation Susan Boyle.

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