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Faith & Family News: Movieguide; Flannery O'Connor; 'Frog & Toad'; Stream C.S.

| January 31, 2023 | By

This month, we're looking at plans for the 30th annual Movieguide Awards on UPtv; Ethan Hawke's upcoming biopic of Catholic author Flannery O'Connor; AppleTV+'s new animated version of the beloved 'Frog and Toad' books; and how to stream the C.S. Lewis biopic.

Three Decades of the Movieguide Awards

This may be Movieguide's moment. As reported here, last fall, Warner Bros' TV head Channing Dungey actually bragged in front of colleagues and press at a screening about winning a Movieguide Award for the Christmas-themed The Waltons: Homecoming, which it produced for The CW.

These awards for faith- and family-friendly entertainment are normally an afterthought in Hollywood, but that could be changing.

This year, on Feb. 26, UPtv is airing the honors, which take place Feb. 10 at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood.

This isn't too surprising, since the head of UPtv is Charles Humbard, whose father was renowned TV preacher Rex Humbard.

“We are excited to be the television home of the Movieguide Awards this year,” said Charles Humbard, Founder and CEO, UP Entertainment. “The audience alignment is perfect with our uplifting entertainment brand.

"[Founder] Ted Baehr has done a fantastic job helping keep Hollywood focused on what is important for families while making quality entertainment.”

As relayed in The Hollywood Reporter, Terry Crews takes his third turn as host of the event.

Also, This Is Us star Chrissy Metz will sing, as part of a celebration of the release of When I Talk To God, I Talk About You, an inspirational children’s book she wrote with Bradley Collins.

The article also says:

Presenters at the ceremony will include Candace Cameron Bure, Paula Abdul, Kate Flannery, Kathy Ireland, Bruce Davison, Haylie Duff, Rob Meyes, Tiffany Daniels, Feny Rokpthavana, Reagan To, Kristi Murdoch, Jonathan Roumie, Jason Cook and Michelle Morgan.

Full list of nominees here (also in The Hollywood Reporter).

AppleTV+ Welcomes Frog and Toad and More to Family Slate

Home to the utterly charming Lovely Little Farm, AppleTV+ is filling up its basket with more kids and family programming.

From Variety:

Apple TV+ announced its spring kids and family slate, which includes Peanuts specials new to the platform, a variety of original series and a “Frog and Toad” show, based on the beloved Arnold Lobel books.

“Frog and Toad,” premiering on April 28, boasts a voice cast including Nat Faxon, Kevin Michael Richardson, Ron Funches, Fortune Feimster, Cole Escola, Aparna Nancherla, Yvette Nicole Brown, Margaret Cho and more. 

Among the other shows are (more details at the Variety link above) are Eva the Owlet (March 31), based on the Scholastic book series Owl Diaries, by Rebecca Elliott; Jane (April 14), the story of a "budding environmentalist," and inspired by Dr. Jane Goodall; and A Charlie Brown Valentine (Feb. 9).

Flannery O'Connor, Wildcat?

Multitalented Ethan Hawke (First Reformed, The Good Lord Bird) is directing, producing and has co-written (with Shelby Gaines) Wildcat, a new film starring his daughter Maya Hawke (Stranger Things) as Southern-Gothic Catholic writer Flannery O'Connor.

Principal photography began on Jan. 10 in Louisville, Kentucky.

From Variety:

“Wildcat” will follow O’Connor as she struggles to publish her first novel. A devout Catholic from Georgia, O’Connor was invited to the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Famous for her offbeat short fiction about the American South and her faith, she was plagued by lupus for much of her life, and died at 39. Her work continues to be read, studied and admired, and she received posthumous acclaim, including the National Book Award. ...

“Maya has been working hard for years to put this project together, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to introduce a new generation of filmgoers to the genius of Flannery O’Connor,” says Ethan Hawke. “Her work explores themes important to all artists — the intersection of creativity and faith, the blurred relationship between imagination and reality.”

Hawke is Episcopalian, but he joked with Catholic talk-show host Stephen Colbert:

“We’re wannabe Catholics,” Hawke agreed, “My mother always said we’re wannabe Catholics. We just didn’t want to do the hard work, and we want to be able to get divorced.”

The title Wildcat comes from an early O'Connor short story of the same name, which first appeared as part of her 1947 master's thesis for the Iowa Writers' Workshop. It was published posthumously in 1970 in The North American Review, and later appeared in a 1971 collection called The Complete Stories.

Streaming Lewis

After a theatrical run in late 2021, The Most Reluctant Convert, the story of how atheist writer C.S. Lewis became a Christian, is now streaming on Christian subscription service PureFlix.

It also streams on the Roku Channel and Vudu with ads, and can be digitally purchased or rented on several other platforms.


Image: Movieguide Awards

Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager at Family Theater Productions.

Keep up with Family Theater Productions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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