United States | A Christian studio on a crusade against Hollywood’s “woke culture”

United States | A Christian studio on a crusade against Hollywood’s “woke culture”
United States | A Christian studio on a crusade against Hollywood’s “woke culture”

(Los Angeles) Exploiting the flaws of Hollywood and its supposed “woke culture”: this is the leitmotif of Angel Studios, a Christian production house which was a hit last summer with the film Sound of Freedompraised by the American right and QAnon conspiracy theorists.


Posted at 8:02 a.m.

Andrew MARSZAL

France Media Agency

“Hollywood is just a bubble. They are not connected to the average citizen,” jokes Jordan Harmon, the co-founder of the small studio, to AFP.

“We make films for the other 90%” of Americans, he asserts.

Created by four Mormon brothers in Utah, a conservative land in the American West, Angel Studios made a name for itself by buying Sound of Freedoma thriller about child crime whose release was initially canceled by Disney.

The film was a surprise at the global box office last summer, with $250 million in revenue. A somewhat humiliating performance for Disney, which was at the same time suffering the commercial failure of its fifth Indiana Jones.

Inspired by the fight of an American agent against a minor trafficking network, Sound of Freedom has carved out a sulphurous reputation for himself, because of his very religious discourse on pedophilia and his success with conspiratorial circles, who brandished him as a standard.

But for Mr. Harmon, the phenomenon above all reveals Hollywood’s incapacity to understand the “culture wars” which are fracturing America.

“Listen to the customer”

Angel Studios acquired the film through its subscription model, where subscribers vote on which works the production house should produce or distribute.

“It’s just the basics of entrepreneurship,” says the manager. “Listen to the customer, and act. »

In its early days, the company was called VidAngel and promised families access to Hollywood productions, censored with “boobs, blood and swear words.”

But legal disputes for copyright infringement pushed it to an overhaul: the structure opted for the production of original works and chose a new name.

Angel Studios has made Christian themes its trademark. Its stated goal is to produce stories that “amplify light”, like the series The chosen on the life of Jesus Christ.

But the company has been controversial since the success of Sound of Freedom.

Its model, which allowed fans to buy tickets for strangers to spread the film’s message, was accused of artificially inflating its box office numbers.

Critics questioned how the company actually used the money, leading Angel Studios to release details of the film’s costs and profits.

Praised by the QAnon movement, which believes in the existence of a pedosatanist plot implemented by American elites, the film has been accused of peddling a dangerous message.

It was also criticized for its exaggerations on the reality of minor trafficking, depicted via a fictionalized infiltration of the Colombian mafia.

“Everyone has suddenly presented it as a right-wing movie, when in reality there’s nothing about it that leans right,” Mr. Harmon retorts.

“Very pro-life”

Angel Studios is now banking on its next film, Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot. A work structured by a militant message.

The feature film, which is due to be released on the weekend of July 4 – the American national holiday – is based on the true story of a small town in Texas, where 22 families decided to adopt children at risk to compensate the lack of host families during the 90s.

The film is “very, very pro-life,” summarizes Mr. Harmon, without directly addressing the issue of abortion.

A message that will not fail to resonate, in the middle of a presidential campaign strongly marked by debates on abortion.

The studio is also working on an animated film about King David for next year, and says it wants to “compete with Disney at the highest level” in this area.

Because Mr. Harmon does not have harsh enough words to criticize what he considers to be the “wokism” of the entertainment giant, which notably introduced LGBT themes in its recent series Star Wars: The Acolyte.

The big-eared firm has “discredited” itself in the eyes of the Americans, he complains. According to him, she embodies a Hollywood which “favors politics to the detriment of storytelling”.

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