Crusader has Epiphany with spiritual banner

Minister Beltz to o'see project marketing

Crusader Entertainment has formed Epiphany Films, a specialty label to develop and produce indie features with spiritual themes.

Bob Beltz, an ordained minister, has been appointed director of special projects for Epiphany and will be responsible for marketing its films to the emerging Christian market. Projects under the new banner are expected to be budgeted under $20 million, with most in the $8 million-$10 million range. Epiphany is expected to produce one or two projects each year.

New division’s pics at this stage fall outside of Crusader’s first-look deal with Paramount and its new overall international distribution deal with Summit Entertainment.

Starting with ‘Joshua’

Epiphany’s first release will be “Joshua,” based on the international bestseller by Joseph Girzone, adapted by Brad Mirman and Keith Giglio and directed by Jon Purdy (“Star Portal,” “Dillinger”). Pic stars Tony Goldwyn as a charismatic stranger whose arrival has a profound impact on a small town, bringing the community together in unforeseen ways.

Co-starring are F. Murray Abraham and Giancarlo Giannini. Howard and Karen Baldwin and Paul Pompian produced the pic, which was co-produced by Beltz and Nick Morton.

Pic will be released April 19 in selected U.S. cities.

“We believe it is appropriate that a special and specific brand be created for those movies dealing with overtly spiritual themes,” said producer Howard Baldwin. “There’s a real desire for entertainment that is spiritually rewarding, meaningful and inspirational. Crusader’s current slate includes a wide variety of feature films, all varying in subject matter and scope, which is why such a distinction is necessary.”

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