'Surge'

Theatrical program kicks off Oct. 9 at 500-plus locations

Hoping to tap into the faith-based theatrical market, Screenvision and Teen Mania Ministries are partnering to release a feature-length version of the 22-year-old annual event Acquire the Fire on Oct. 9, with an encore presentation on Oct. 16.

The theatrical event called “Surge” will launch at more than 500 theaters in the U.S. via Screenvision, an in-theater advertising company, which has relationships with all of the major exhibitors. Screenvision also specializes in alternative programming.

Doug Rittenhouse, “Surge” producer and director of Teen Mania’s film and TV division, said the theatrical event is an effort to attract mostly teens.

“We know that teenagers spend a lot of time in the movie theaters, so we’re taking what we have to offer to a place their comfortable in going,” Rittenhouse said.

Historically, alternative programming has had a difficult time gaining much interest, principally because the marketing for those events has been limited. With “Surge,” however, Rittenhouse said the organization was able to manage an effective grassroots campaign via ministries, as well as past youth attendees of the event, who have been vocal about the event.

“We have a base of people who are very much interested in youth ministry,” Rittenhouse added, “and a lot of times they stay in touch with us.”

Fans have been active on social media promoting the event.

Over the past 22 years, Acquire the Fire has attracted more than 3 million total attendees, according to Teen Mania. The event has featured such popular Christian artists as Casting Crowns and Newsboys, with a mix of comedy acts, a prayer message and interactive light shows.

Acquire the Fire is a 34-city tour, which runs Sept.-May. “Surge” was shot in Nashville, with a 17-minute segment of Casting Crowns filmed in Atlanta.

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