Christian video producers are stepping up the quality of their efforts without diluting their clear moral message. Once hampered by slim finances, less than state-of-the-art production values, and bland talking-head formats, today's Christian filmmakers now command larger budgets and growing respect. But one challenge remains: convincing people to drive past secular video outlets well stocked with hits such as The Lion King and Forrest Gump and travel instead to a local Christian bookstore to buy Christian videos.

A 1993 study by researcher George Barna found that although 56 percent of Christians with videocassette recorders had purchased a tape within the previous year, fewer than one-third of those Christians had bought a Christian video recording. The study also found that 64 percent of Christians said they lacked information about which Christian videos were of interest to them and available on the market.

"I see the church walking away from the power of visual media while non-Christians and secular organizations are saying they want more of this," says Kenneth Dymmel, a film consultant in Pasadena, California.

ENTERTAINMENT WITH VALUES: That perception may be about to change, according to those who attended an International Christian Visual Media (ICVM) meeting in July in Denver. Members of the trade association, which represents more than 130 people and companies involved in production, distribution, and marketing of Christian visual media, expressed cautious optimism about the "Entertainment with Values" campaign that ICVM plans to launch this fall.

The effort will target Christian mothers ages 28 to 45, an audience that focus groups reveal is concerned about buying high-quality and spiritually uplifting videos for their ...

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