Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum has become CEO of EchoLight Studios, a Texas-based firm that plans to produce and distribute faith-based and family-friendly films.
Santorum has spent about six months raising money for the studio, and now EchoLight is just weeks away from closing a film fund totaling $20 million to finance studio projects.
The former senator from Pennsylvania is also on the studio's board of directors, and Santorum says he and his staff are ready to start taking pitches from Hollywood filmmakers.
Most of EchoLight's investors so far are wealthy Texans who support Santorum's conservative Christian message, though that message did not serve him well during his Republican presidential primary campaign against Mitt Romney and others.
The studio plans on releasing about four films per year, and its first will be "The Redemption of Henry Myers," a western about a left-for-dead bank robber saved by a widow and her young children. The film is due this year and already has a trailer available.
Santorum says he intends on making films like the 2011 release "Soul Surfer," the true story of a teenage girl whose arm was bitten off by a shark, and how she followed her dream of professional surfing.
“Even in faith-based films, Hollywood tends to water down the truth. "Soul Surfer" was a good film, but it didn’t accurately portray faith in that young lady’s life,” Santorum said. “I just want to portray faith as it really is, and we’re going to be telling a lot of true-life stories, and we’re going to make them comfortable even for people who are not of faith, because they are honest."
"Hoovey," directed by "Soul Surfer" director Sean McNamara, is now in post-production at EchoLight. The movie due next year stars Patrick Warburton and is the true story of Eric "Hoovey" Elliott, a high school basketball player who was forced to relearn how to walk and talk after his function was impaired by a brain tumor.