Rick Santorum Is Already Making a Movie About the Hobby Lobby Decision

The trailer is as grandiose as you’d expect.

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at the 'Patriots for Romney-Ryan Reception' on August 29, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.
National Journal
Emma Roller
July 1, 2014, 5:40 a.m.

Rick San­tor­um: per­en­ni­al pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate, con­ser­vat­ive cul­ture war­ri­or … film­maker?

Echo­Light Stu­di­os, San­tor­um’s new film ven­ture, deals broadly with the threats Chris­tian­ity faces, and already has plans to weigh in on the Su­preme Court’s de­cision in Se­beli­us v. Hobby Lobby. On Monday, the Court found that some em­ploy­ers can re­fuse to cov­er their em­ploy­ees’ con­tra­cep­tion on re­li­gious grounds.

The film, One Gen­er­a­tion Away, is set to premiere on Sept. 1. The title is a hat-tip to the fam­ous Ron­ald Re­agan quote: “Free­dom is nev­er more than one gen­er­a­tion away from ex­tinc­tion.” Spliced between clips of Mike Hucka­bee talk­ing about the per­ils of gov­ern­ment over­reach, we see two uniden­ti­fied men saw­ing down a wooden cross in the middle of a field. The trail­er takes on a Ter­rence Malick vibe when a young girl wanders through this verd­ant scene to find the cross splayed on the ground.

Watch:

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Echo­Light, which is based in Frank­lin, Tenn., was foun­ded in 2011. San­tor­um be­came the stu­dio’s CEO last June. As Kev­in Lin­coln wrote in Na­tion­al Journ­al, Chris­ti­an cinema has gone through a renais­sance in re­cent years, with ma­jor stu­di­os pro­du­cing films like Heav­en Is For Real and Son of God, both which proved to be sur­pris­ing hits at the box of­fice.

San­tor­um isn’t the only con­ser­vat­ive cul­ture war­ri­or mov­ing in­to the movie busi­ness. Glenn Beck is de­vel­op­ing three “ma­jor mo­tion pic­tures,” in­clud­ing one tak­ing aim at his arch­nemes­is, Thomas Edis­on.

So far, Echo­Light’s films haven’t drawn the star power of your typ­ic­al Hol­ly­wood block­buster — un­less you count that one guy from Scan­dal. But Echo­Light’s busi­ness mod­el isn’t to seek the wide audi­ences of big-time Hol­ly­wood pro­duc­tions. In­stead, the stu­dio is tar­get­ing their main audi­ence — con­greg­a­tions — by host­ing screen­ings at churches. Why try to ap­peal to a mass audi­ence when you already have a niche of true be­liev­ers carved out?

It’s hard to scoff at that strategy — it’s worked pretty well for Rick San­tor­um’s brand so far.

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