Sherwood Pictures Looks to Keep Winning Movie Streak Going with ‘Courageous’

sherwoodcourageous.JPGPictured: A scene from ‘Courageous’
The question is no longer “Will they succeed?”

With a tried-and-true record of beating the odds, the question now is “How far can they go?”
We’re talking about the team behind Sherwood Pictures, which is set to release its fourth film, “Courageous,” on Friday in some 1,400 theaters nationwide.
On that team is Tampa’s own Rob Whitehurst, the film’s production sound mixer. Because he’s been with the group from the early days, he has some insight into the amazing journey from a small volunteer-based operation to a national model for churches aspiring to do film outreach.
“The quality has come a long, long way over the years,” says Whitehurst, a 1973 communications graduate of the University of South Florida. “On the first movie, I did the sound myself with a bag around my neck. The next one, we had eight people. I think we were up to 20 on this last one, with state-of-the-art digital equipment. Sherwood’s commitment to excellence is really apparent.”
This film company is about as far from Hollywood as you can get. It’s a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., a mid-sized town about three hours south of Atlanta. Its purpose: Produce movies that promote a Christian message using mostly volunteers, then funnel the profits into outreach programs that benefit communities and start-up churches.
“It’s not about making money with them. It’s about making a difference,” Whitehurst says. “They use movies as a way to get that message across globally. They know this is a medium that has the power to impact people way beyond the pews.”
What makes the Sherwood experience different from the secular productions he’s worked on? “They pray a lot,” Whitehurst says. “They aren’t moving on something unless God moves them to do it. And if you look at what they’ve accomplished, you will understand that God has answered their prayers.”
If Sherwood’s track record is any indication, the cop-themed, action-packed “Courageous” is going to make a profit and spawn a conversation, this time one that centers on the need for fathers to step up and put their families first.
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