Thursday, October 7, 2010
Houston’s Kingdom Media Group Partners With Swishahouse to Distribute Gritty, Christian Hip Hop Flavored Films
If a mainstream rap label like Swishahouse is distributing Christian movies, it’s a pretty safe bet that those films will be a little more “street” than Left Behind or Facing the Giants.
The first title to be released through their new partnership with Kingdom Media Group (also a Houston-based company) is PAIN: The Movie. Its story centers on a street hustler whose days are filled with drugs, guns, money, and threats of brutal violence. And increasingly, they begin and end with stress-filled smoke sessions that attempt to numb his inner turmoil.
As you might surmise, PAIN: The Movie is not your average church flick.
PAIN’s co-writer/co-director/producer/supporting actor is Terrance Levi. He said he birthed the vision for this and a multitude of other multi-media projects after praying about his displeasure with programs that were targeted to people of faith.
“I remember standing at the sink washing dishes and saying ‘God, why do Christians have to have the cheesiest shows on TV?” Levi recalls. “And not to be negative about Christian programming, but I look at things through the eyes of the unchurched quite a bit and I just really felt a tug on my spirit to do something about it.”
Soon after, Levi said he believed God was bringing specific people into his life with talent sets and passions that could help him fulfill this dream. From there, he developed a script and plan for PAIN along with a case-study drama called Tales from the Player’s Manual Volume 1.
Although there is no cursing, nudity, or sex scenes in the straight-to-DVD films, Levi is hesitant to call them “family friendly.” Neither title has been through the official Motion Picture Association of America process, but he believes that if his movies were to be graded, they would earn between a PG-13 and R rating due to the amount of gunplay and illegal drug content in their narratives.
“If I have a definite point and target that I’m aiming at, I’ll smoke a cigar or two on a movie set and take a whiskey glass and pour some Diet Dr. Pepper in it to make it look like I’m drinking alcohol,” Levi said.
He said such steps were necessary to illustrate his character’s hypocrisy which plays a critical role in the story.
The Swishahouse connection came as a result of a relationship that began because of misdelivered mail – something Kingdom Media Group members believe was more “divine appointment” than “happy accident.”
Levi said that Swishahouse (who helped give Paul Wall and Mike Jones nationwide exposure) is launching their independent movie venture with his films and had absolutely no issues with the content or message. The same couldn’t be said for all of the Christian businesses he spoke to about similar distribution options.
Houston’s Delbert Harris (known by his stage name of Lil Raskull) has known Levi since high school and acts in PAIN along side Yung Ro, Beau Williams, and Baby Bash who were able to bring their audiences to the project from the worlds of mainstream hip hop and traditional gospel music.
“Levi has always been a street evangelist and to do this type of movie certainly takes a certain level of maturity,” Harris said. “I see this as The Cross and the Switchblade of our time.”
PAIN: The Movie will be available through Swishahouse in U.S. stores on October 12 and through Integrity Distribution to Christian bookstores in South Africa later this November. For more information, visit www.painthemovie.com