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3rd ‘Left Behind’ film to launch via family night screenings

TORONTO (BP)–Peter and Paul Lalonde, executive producers of the “Left Behind” film series, are aiming to help bring back one of the great evangelistic outreaches of the 1970s and ’80s –- the family film night.

The Lalondes’ Christian-themed film company Cloud Ten Pictures, in partnership with Sony Pictures, has decided to distribute its newest film, “Left Behind: World at War,” first by way of church screenings and then by DVD/video.

Asked why the film night revival, Peter Lalonde responded, “In 1983, I set my foot in a church for the first time. It was a small independent gospel church in northern Ontario, Canada. I went because it was Thursday night, I was broke and they were having a church film night. The movie was ‘The Prodigal’ and I did enjoy it. It was the pastor’s 10-minute message after that scorched my heart.

“I didn’t go forward [during the altar call], but I did return on Sunday morning. And the next. On the third Sunday, I became a believer. I was a member of that church for years before moving to Niagara Falls, with the blessing of my pastor, to form what would become Cloud Ten Pictures.

“Why the church theatrical release? For those 10 minutes. For those moments when pastors -– in the spirit — can sense the right word for the right soul. I don’t want people walking out of a theater without those 10 minutes,” Lalonde said.

“We have the support of a major studio and the keen interest of every major studio in seeing how this works,” he said. “If this takes off — and we are convinced it will with the support of pastors, youth pastors and outreach ministries — the studios are telling us they will want to incorporate this entirely new delivery vehicle into their distribution model. But here’s the gem of it all: They will have to start making movies that pastors will play in their churches.”

“Does it mean studios will be making all Christian films? Of course not,” Paul Lalonde said. “But they will be making some. This is an opportunity to really get into the core of the machine that drives our culture.”

Left Behind: World at War, the third in the film series, is based on the last part of the book “Tribulation Force” by Left Behind authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.

The film plot picks up a year and a half after millions of people have vanished off the face of the earth, and the world is now controlled by a self-proclaimed Messiah named Nicolae Carpathia and his One World Government. The president of the United States, as played by Louis Gossett Jr., wholeheartedly supports Nicolae’s global leadership. But after an attempt on his life, the president begins to have doubts about this new world order.

Journalist Buck Williams (Kirk Cameron from “Growing Pains” fame, reprising his earlier Left Behind role), who became a born-again Christian toward the end of the first film, believes that Nicolae is actually the prophesied Antichrist. With the aid of Buck and militia spy Carolyn Miller (Jessica Steen), the president uncovers this new government’s horrific plans for genocide and quickly joins the very resistance he had sacrificed so much to destroy.

Left Behind: World at War will be available for family film night viewing on Friday through Sunday, Oct. 21-23. For further information, including a clip from the opening sequence, go to: www.leftbehind-worldatwar.com.

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  • Phil Boatwright