Faith-based movie filming in Lynchburg

Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) recently hosted a press conference filled with media from local news stations, as well as multiple leaders from the area. “Finding Faith,” a Christian-based film, will target the issue of Internet child predators and is set to cast Erik Estrada, formerly known as the law enforcement officer from the 1970s and ‘80s show “CHiPs.”

Actor — Chips actor Erik Estrada discusses his leading role in the upcoming film. Photo credit: Melanie Oelrich

Estrada, who is the international face of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, is a staunch supporter of the Safe Surfin’ Foundation and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces.

Estrada, a big fan of Liberty, mentioned how he and the production team in charge of shooting the movie plan to utilize parts of TRBC and Liberty’s campus for the film.

“Liberty’s a terrific place. I think it’s wonderful that there is a place where Christians can come and continue their education,” Estrada said. “The facilities are great here, and the people are totally professional.”

According to his website, Estrada is a professing Christian and starred in “The Cross and the Switchblade,” the first faith-based movie ever made.

Delegate Scott Garrett and Senator Steve Newman were also in attendance at the press conference and are supportive of the efforts of the movie.

“Because of the work that Sheriff Mike Brown is doing, we have put in place a 25-year mandatory minimum (sentence) for sex crimes against children,” Newman said.

“This project is not about one man, and it’s not about one problem — it’s about our society and what we value. This film will strike a chord of harmony for our families, for our faith, for our fundamental freedoms and for the future of our greatest assets, which are our children,” Garrett said.

Sheriff Mike Brown of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Department is the man behind the big idea. Brown has stood behind the Internet Against Crimes Task Forces for many years. During his 42 years of law enforcement, Brown has witnessed numerous events which spawned the idea for this film. Because the film has a Christian message and is targeted toward teens, Brown requested that Liberty and TRBC be involved with the film.

“It didn’t take a lot of thinking to say this is the avenue we want to go — utilizing Thomas Road and Liberty University for support — and they’ve been great. We couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Brown said.

Scottie Ward, the film’s producer, is excited for the film, and firmly believes Lynchburg will make an impact for Christ.

“The doors that have opened on this…in two months, we’ve locked up the post production house, the distribution … the biggest hitters in the industry side,” Ward said. “Lynchburg, in my opinion — because of Liberty and TRBC — is going to be the new Christian Hollywood. I’m 100 percent positive of that fact. The great thing is that faith-based education is now going mainstream, and I think it’s awesome. The support of the university is everything,” Ward said.

Casting has already begun and production is expected to start this summer.


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