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November 12th, 2013
 

Santorum on His New Movie, Iowa’s Senate Race, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie and 2016

2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum returned to the state Monday to begin a different kind of campaign. Santorum is now a movie mogul. He is the CEO of EchoLight Studios, a movie company that promotes faith-based, family films.

Their first release is “The Christmas Candle”. It is set to debut nationwide in 400 theatres on November 22. Santorum offered a select group of Iowans a peek at his new venture with a private screening on Monday at Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines.

“I could not come out and do our first movie that we’re bringing into the theatres without coming to Iowa, because I wouldn’t be running this company if it wasn’t for Iowa,” Santorum said.

Prominent Iowa officials, faith leaders and conservative activists were among the group of 200 that attended the screening.

Film Review

The Christmas Candle”, based on a book written by Pastor Max Lucado, is set in 1800s England. The story centers around a London preacher who has left the ministry, due to reasons that are explained much later on.

The preacher, played superbly by Hans Matheson, is lured back to the pulpit by a down-on-its-luck, rural community desperately in need of a spiritual leader.  His new flock is awaiting a Christmas miracle.

The community believes they are visited once every 25 years by an angel who grants one miracle, by blessing a candle. Almost everyone in the film is seeking his or her own miracle and hopes to be the recipient of the candle. The preacher, however, believes the story of the candle is a fairy tale. He is also grappling with a crisis of faith.

“What we’re trying to do is bring good quality entertainment that has faith as an important element to the story,” Santorum said. “Authentic faith and how that impacts people’s lives is important for our culture. That all came from the fact that I was given that gift by the people of Iowa and subsequent states.”

Moviegoers will see shades of some Christmas classics in this film, including “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. However, there is at least one significant element that sets this one apart.

“Other than a Bible story, name another movie that talks about the birth of Jesus in a Christmas story. There aren’t any,” Santorum told the audience after the screening.

The film is beautifully made, thanks to the craftsmanship of Mike Brewster, who also served as director of photography for the Harry Potter films. Just as those movies transported audiences seamlessly to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, “The Christmas Candle” takes you on a journey back in time, immersing you in the 1800s English countryside.

The cast is entirely British and includes the film debut of songstress Susan Boyle, who also provides a beautiful new hymn for the soundtrack. However, the accents are not too thick for American audiences. The film is rated PG and is very family friendly.

“If you can bring a family a little closer together or maybe open their eyes to the importance of faith in their life, maybe something that’s been planted a long time ago, that’s what I want to repay folks who put their faith in me,” Santorum said.

“The Christmas Candle” is sentimental, without being too cheesy. There are plot twists that you will not expect. Although a happy ending in a film like this seems to be a foregone conclusion, the story takes you an interesting journey before reaching its end.

“I wanted to come back here and say, ‘Here’s what I’m doing with the gift that you gave me,’ and hopefully people will see that it’s something that’s good and positive and uplifting. It’s a wonderful little Christmas movie at Christmas time,” Santorum said.

Questions about 2016, Iowa’s Senate Race, Chris Christie and Ted Cruz

Prior to the movie screening, Rick Santorum visited with the media and discussed a wide range of topics.

Regarding another presidential run, Santorum said he would not make any decision until after the 2014 elections. Santorum has already gotten involved in one of those races. He endorsed Walt Rogers in the First Congressional District primary.

U.S. Senate candidate Sam Clovis was a big booster of Santorum’s long before the former Pennsylvania senator rose to the top of the presidential field in Iowa. He has not endorsed Clovis, or anyone else, in the senate race, yet.

“Sam’s a great friend, someone who was a wonderful supporter of mine and I think the world of him,” Santorum said. “At this point, I haven’t gotten involved in a whole lot of races for 2014. It’s very, very early in the process. What I basically have told everybody is let’s just wait and see how that works out and we’ll start looking at that next year and make some decisions at that point.”

As for his potential opponents in the 2016 presidential primary, Santorum was asked if he thought New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was too moderate. He opted not to directly criticize Christie, but provided an indication of his thoughts regarding Christie’s conservative bona fides.

“What they’ve fought for and what they haven’t fought for are good indicators of what they will fight for,” Santorum said. “All that is fair game and one thing I know is the people of Iowa do a pretty good job analyzing it.”

Santorum also scoffed at the notion that Ted Cruz, or anyone else, is the frontrunner for 2016.

“I remember in July of 2012, everyone was saying somebody is going to be the nominee, and then in August it was somebody else, and September it was somebody else. Saying someone’s going to be the nominee three years out, I just sort of roll my eyes. I’ve been there. A lot of things can happen between now and then.”

In the meantime, Rick Santorum is focused on marketing “The Christmas Candle” He hopes the movie will become a holiday tradition and launches EchoLight Studios on a path that changes the film industry

“I want to be the Pixar of faith movies. That is, provide quality entertainment that uplifts and inspires.”

Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com


About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for TheIowaRepublican.com.




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