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Jefferey Katzenberg of DreamWorks Gets Special Kudos for Consulting Christian Leaders on PRINCE OF EGYPT

By Dan Wooding and Tom Snyder

Hollywood, Calif. (March 4, 1999)- Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commision, praised Hollywood today for making more movies in 1998 that feature God and the Bible.

"There were more movies with a moderate to strong Christian worldview and content released in 1998 than ever before- 26 to be exact," Dr. Baehr noted enthusiastically. "that's almost twice as much as 1997's number, 14! If we add the 49 movies with clear Christian worldview, elements and/or content, then 1998 saw a whopping 75 movies with Christian elements, worldview and content out of all the movies released!"

"Moreover," Dr. Baehr added, "34 movies featured a moderate to strong moral worldview and content based on biblical principles, compared to only eight in 1997. And, 146 movies contained some form of moral worldview and content in 1998, compared to only 94 in 1997."

The Commission's figures were based on its critical reviews and extensive content analysis of 286 movies released theatrically in 1998. The Commission publishes its reviews and analysis in MOVIEGUIDE, the highly respected media guide known for its comprehensive family-oriented film and television reviews and commentaries. Dr. Baehr is publisher and editor-in-chief of MOVIEGUIDE.


Dr. Baehr singled out studio executive Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks SKG, for consulting Baehr and other Christian leaders while making THE PRINCE OF EGYPT.

"PRINCE OF EGYPT was an answer to a prayer, a significant breakthrough and a blessing," Dr. Baehr explained. "It marked the first time since the Golden Age of Ho;;ywood that Hollywood took the time to listen to religious leaders, experts and theologians. DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg deserves thanks and praise for seeking out the advice of advocates and experts. He also deserves thanks for bringing the Church into the Hollywood marketplace by seeking out Christian publishers."

Dr. Baehr said 1998 was also the year of great Christian theology in movies.

"THE PRINCE OF EGYPT demonstrated the power of the creator God," he said, "not only over life, death and the elements but also over the false gods of the world. SIMON BIRCH showed that God is more concerned about people than about bake sales and church events. WIDE AWAKE showed that God is with us in times of grief. MADELINE demonstrated that God answer prayer. LES MISERABLE showed that the law leads to us to God's Grace. THE TRUMAN SHOW showed that the prince of this world cannot keep God out and that God answers prayer. And, the list goes on and on and on, thank God!

"The good, such as THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, was clearly so good," Dr. Baehr added, "that I felt like God was shouting from housetops to the millions of faithful Americans, "Let my people go!" But, the immoral movies were so bad that I felt like God was shouting to a few filmmakers, just as Flik told Hopper and his small band of marauding grasshoppers, "Let my people go!"

"Many people were liberated by seeing movies such as THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, LES MISERABLES, WIDEAWAKE, MADELINE, and SIMON BIRCH where God was the hero behind the scenes. While others, regrettably, remained trapped and manipulated in a virtual media world by those adversarial directors who thought of themselves as the "kings of the world." To which group you belonged depended on whether or not you were a media-wise family who read MOVIEGUIDE so that you knew before you or your children forked over your hard-earned dollars at the box office."

Baehr concluded, "From an industry perspective, it was also a great joy to see Hollywood release several movies which came out clearly against divorce, such as THE HORSE WHISPERER, DEEP IMPACT and THE PARENT TRAP, and several romances which were not based on lust but on intellect, values and beliefs, such as EVER AFTER and YOU'VE GOT MAIL. Furthermore, it was great to see anti-collectivist, anti-fascist movies using incisive humor rather than excessive violence, such as ANTZ, and the wonderful, pro-family masterpiece, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL."


Dr. Baehr also announced that MOVIEGUIDE will present its 7th Annual MOVIEGUIDE Awards Gala on Thursday, March 18, 1999, beginning at 12 noon, at the Hilton Universal, Universal City, California. PaxTV, the new national television network dedicated to wholesome, family-friendly programming, will televise this year's event for the first time.

Baehr said, "PaxTV is America's newest network, and now owns the greatest number of TV stations in the U.S. MOVIEGUIDE and PaxTV, in joining together for this event, will reach what is probably the largest family audience in the country, the more than 110 million people who attend church each week."

The theme of the awards event will be "Celebrating The Century: The best of Hollywood," a look at Hollywood's contributions to wholesome entertainment over the decades. Each decade will be highlighted with personal appearances by some of Americas best-known and most loved show business personalities.

A major part of the program will be the awarding of the Epiphany Prizes - which include a $25,000 cash award each - for the movie and television show "that is uplifting, inspirational and acknowledging of God, His love, mercy and grace." The Epiphany Prizes were originated and are donated each year by the John Templeton Foundation , to encourage writers and producers to create more inspiring works of entertainment.

Other awards will include two grace Prizes, for $1,000 each, for outstanding individual performances by an actor in film and television, sponsored by Morgan H. Grace, Jr., the Swiss America Awards for television programs evidencing outstanding principles and values, and MOVIEGUIDE's annual Teddy Bear Wards for the best films for mature audiences and family.

Always a newsmaking part of the event is Dr. Baehr's annual "Report to the Entertainment Industry," an extensive, probing analysis of movies and television. Dr. Baehr's report is unique because it is an in-depth study of the moral, religious and political convent of the past movies, using box office statistics.

For more information about the March 18 Awards Gala or MOVIEGUIDE, please call: (800) 899-6684, or write: MOVIEGUIDE, P.O. Box 190010, Atlanta, GA 31119.