Christians counter ‘Fifty Shades’ exploitation with ‘Old Fashioned’ and Standforlove movement
On February 10, the sequel to FIFTY SHADES OF GREY opens in theatres nationwide. FIFTY SHADES DARKER promises to be just that and push the envelope even further than its predecessor.
Two years ago, when the first FIFTY SHADES movie released, a tiny, shoe-string budget indie film made in rural Ohio picked a David v. Goliath fight with the worldwide juggernaut and sparked a remarkable amount of debate (in Time, Yahoo, MTV news, etc.) around the ideas of love, romance, and cultural standards.
While unsurprisingly taking a critical beating in many circles, the faith-based and clearly divisive OLD FASHIONED was also praised by many religious critics and even by the veteran film critic Glenn Kenny, writing for rogerebert.com:
“It’s incredibly rare to see an American movie with a Christian perspective that’s more invested in philosophizing and empathizing than in eschatological pandering, and for that alone OLD FASHIONED deserves commendation. The movie’s also very well acted and beautifully shot.”
Opening on only 224 screens, the “little indie film that could” actually made over a million dollars in its opening weekend and broke the record for a faith-based movie opening on less than 300 screens.
And when OLD FASHIONED released on DVD, it quickly rose to the #1 Romance DVD spot on Amazon, for a brief time unbelievably surpassing even the phenomenon of FIFTY SHADES.
Ultimately, the film was named “The Best Christian Movie of 2015” by Focus on the Family’s Plugged In and was also awarded “Best Picture” at the annual ICVM Conference (International Christian Visual Media).
However, all of those accolades are actually the smallest part of the story.
After releasing on DVD—and with virtually no money left for additional marketing or promotion—an off-the-radar, grassroots, word of mouth miracle began to spread, little by little… and the ripples caused by the throwing of that one stone continue still…
It all began with a fan-created Facebook group page of about 40 people who wanted to go through the official non-fiction companion devotional for OLD FASHIONED together.
As that Facebook group grew to its now over 2,000 members (and the film’s official Facebook page to over 200,000), OLD FASHIONED spread to Brazil, South Africa, the Netherlands, and elsewhere around the globe.
Specifically, in summer/fall 2016 in the Philippines, two singles ministries (B1G in Antipolo and Unwind Young PROfessionals in Bacolod City)—all on their own—created ministry campaigns designed to promote God-honoring standards for the singles in their regions, all built around OLD FASHIONED and its themes. Reports of revival came in and additional efforts are now being planned by local organizers.
Also, in the summer of 2016, the film was featured at a large evangelistic campaign being in held in Hope, British Columbia, and…
In the fall of 2016, a small group of diehard fans from California to Indiana and beyond actually met up in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, to visit many of the shooting locations from the film and be of encouragement to one another.
Coming up on February 17 of this year in Limburg, Germany, there will be a special screening of OLD FASHIONED hosted by a local fan who wants to see the film’s message have a deep and lasting impact for those in her part of the world as well.
The ripples continue…
Officially, there is no sequel for OLD FASHIONED being released in theatres in another David v. Goliath Valentine’s Day showdown with FIFTY SHADES, but… while tens and tens and tens of millions of dollars are being spent to push the entertainment envelope even further and make the world even DARKER this Valentine’s Day…
A quiet, gentle revolution that began over two years ago continues to spread around the world, little by little… fueled not by millions of dollars but by the desire of like-minded souls who don’t want to give up on the idea that love can indeed by something sacred and that honoring God—in all areas of our life, including romance—is something worth taking a stand for.
To that end, OLD FASHIONED is continuing to fully support and sponsor standforlove.com, a grassroots free online resource designed to honor life-affirming approaches to love and romance by serving as an interactive hub for a romantic date ideas, small group and church events, and a variety of ministries (for Valentine’s Day and beyond) as well as support for those who might be lonely or hurting.