Founder of Faith-Based Studio Pure Flix Is on a Roll With a New Uni Deal, a Successful Sequel and a Netflix-Like Service — and He Acts, Too!29 Jun, 2016 By: Thomas K. Arnold, Stephanie Prange
David A.R. White is a man of many talents. He’s a founding partner of Pure Flix — the largest indie faith film studio in the world — and an actor, producer and author. Pure Flix in January embarked on a long-term, multiyear distribution deal with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Universal exclusively manages sales and distribution for Blu-ray, DVD, electronic sellthrough and video-on-demand platforms of Pure Flix new-release and catalog titles in the United States. Pure Flix oversees consumer marketing to support Universal and manages sales, marketing and distribution for the Christian Booksellers Association.
“Pure Flix is the premier leader in faith-based entertainment as evidenced by its decade-long success in the category,” stated a UPHE press release announcing the deal. “Combining Universal’s world-class home entertainment distribution operation with Pure Flix’s robust catalog and ever-growing pipeline of high-quality, specialty fare perfectly positions us for success in this well-defined market.”
The partnership began Jan. 19 with the home entertainment release of Woodlawn, starring Sean Astin, Sherry Shepherd, Nic Bishop, C. Thomas Howell, Caleb Castille and Academy Award winner Jon Voight.
Next up is God's Not Dead 2, the sequel to the No. 1 indie faith film of 2014, which will be available on Digital HD July 26 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD Aug. 16. God’s Not Dead 2, which opened in theaters in April, has grossed more than $20 million and has received positive reviews and feedback from audiences, including a high ‘A’ grade from CinemaScore. The film stars Melissa Joan Hart, Jesse Metcalfe, Hayley Orrantia, Pat Boone, Robin Givens, the late Fred Dalton Thompson and White himself.
Home Media Magazine queried White on the faith-based market and the progress of his company.
HM: What promoted you to focus on faith-based films?
White: I grew up in a home where we practiced and embraced faith-based values. I have always had a love for films with faith-based messages that encourage and allow people to think. I grew up seeing faith films as a young person from movie night in church. I always had a passion to work with them and create them, and the more I became immersed in Hollywood, the more my passion grew to be part of it.
HM: How big is the audience, and how do you reach them?
White: A recent survey noted that 150 million people go to church once a month, so I believe a good portion of our country is the same as our audience. Based on various stats, feedback, social media following and theater polls, we know our audience consists of conservative families, parents, pastors, church leaders and moms.
HM: Is this audience underserved?
White: I believe so still. Although, what is exciting is we are currently in a time where we see more expression of faith and Christian values, which is encouraging to audiences and filmmakers. We are seeing more and more faith films in theaters.
HM: What message are you trying to impart through your films?
White: First and foremost, we want to inspire people with a greater understanding of who God is and the purpose He has for our lives. Our desire is also to encourage our audiences regarding matters of faith so they have a positive impact on those around them.
HM: What is your biggest opportunity?
White: I am really excited about our platform, pureflix.com, we are in the process of developing strong and dynamic original faith content — it's the faith-based version of Netflix, where the whole family can watch, be inspired and prompt relevant discussion topics that impact their lives.
HM: What is your biggest challenge?
White: I'm blessed to have many wonderful things going on. More importantly, it’s been amazing to see how the Lord has taken a humble dream he gave me when I was young and expanded it for his kingdom. I recently wrote a book, Between Heaven and Hollywood, that focuses on chasing your God-given dream. In the midst of the day to day, and everything that happens in my life, career and family, it offers a perspective on being centered, balanced, and most importantly staying on the path God has set for you.
HM: What's next for Pure Flix?
White: We are excited about some new films that we are developing and producing. We have several films coming out before the end of the year: I Am Not Ashamed, Hillsong's Let Hope Rise and we’re rolling into production on The Case for Christ soon.