The reason these faith-based films are mostly unknown today boils down mostly to bad timing. When home video came along, the major secular film and TV studios were financially positioned to digitize and distribute the retro content in their archives. Such was not the case with Christian film and TV libraries. The 16mm film exchanges around the country that distributed mainly to churches found dwindling interest as cable TV and home video options proliferated. As Cathedral Films, Family Films and other Christian film studios dissolved in the 1990s, their films ended up in the hands of private archives and collectors and never found their way to VHS or DVD.
The abundant film content being acquired by Gospel Films Archive chronicles how the Bible, faith and Christianity in the modern-era were presented to 20th century audiences through the medium of films and television. Many of these rare and neglected historic films were crafted by talented Hollywood filmmakers expressly for Christian organizations. Other films with strong spiritual content and themes were produced by traditional studios for mainstream theatrical and television audiences. Fans of classic movies and Bible history buffs will find them especially appealing. The content remains engaging and inspiring, and the films richly deserve to be restored, preserved and widely accessible.
GFA is immensely grateful for continuing support and collaboration by a growing roster of distinguished pioneers and success stories in contemporary Christian film media. Including:
Vision Video has been a dedicated distributor of Christian film and video products for over 40 years. Bill Curtis and the VV team have provided invaluable guidance in organizing GFA’s films for widest circulation to both commercial and free-based platforms. Many of our Gospel Films Archive thematic collections are available here at the Vision Video site.
ICVM shares our passion for Christian film history and is GFA’s fiscal sponsor for preserving and making our films widely available. Donations for this purpose are tax deductible. Paul Marks has contributed over a hundred rare classic Christian films and materials preserved from his father, Harvey Marks’ original Visual Aid Center network of 16mm film rental libraries.
Movieguide is a vital national resource dedicated to the celebration and promotion of family movies and entertainment. Founder Ted Baehr is an advocate for GFA’s mission to restore and reissue hundreds of 20th century Christian films and TV programs to contemporary audiences. Here is an article published by Movieguide to promote GFA’s new free film website: 50 Free Film Classics are Streaming Online Right Now.
Dirk Schroder is a successful app developer who created the Wise Believer free Christian app that has become popular worldwide. Dirk offered to create for GFA a parallel website of select Christian films from the Gospel Films Archive library to be freely available to existing ministries serving the poor and disenfranchised. You can visit Christian Movie Classics here.
Christian Cinema offers 32 of GFA’s rare films On Demand. Many have never been released on VHS or DVD and relatively unseen since their original release 60 or more years ago. Check out the titles here. You can read a GFA background article published by Christian Cinema called “Gospel Films Archive: Where Old is as Good as New” here.
Jim Friedrich, son of pioneer Christian filmmaker and founder of Cathedral Films James K. Friedrich, is collaborating with GFA to fully restore, preserve and perpetuate the entire Cathedral Films library. You can read about the project here, and more about Jim Friedrich here.
GFA is collaborating with this groundbreaking controversial independent filmmaker to preserve and perpetuate his remarkable film legacy. Forsberg films provided inspiration for Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. Thus far GFA has recorded commentaries by 92-year old Mr. Forsberg for nine of his most historic films, including Parable, The Antkeeper and Ark. You can read more about this project here and here.
Kirk McCrea and his family operate this free mobile Christian Bookstore based in Michigan that distributes vital Christian resources, including special GFA film collections
provided free to the poor, homeless and disabled. Visit the King of Kings Book Table here.
The GFA library mainly consists of original 16mm film prints which were distributed to churches, television and theaters during the 1930s thru 1970s. A partial list of films which have been converted to digital, sorted by Producers, is available HERE. Many other titles will be added to this list once they have been converted. Virtually all could use some restoration and conversion to high definition.
Meet The Gospel Films Archive Team
Bob is recognized as an authority in classic American film history and content. He is co-creator and producer of Matinee at the Bijou (1980-88) one of PBS’s most popular original series. Bob is a Christian with a shared passion to organize and widely reissue as many worthy Christian films, docs and TV shows produced during the 20th century as is possible.
Ron is founder-owner of Festival Films, a media company that specializes in providing vintage film and television shows to movie theaters, DVD markets, TV broadcast and the Internet. Ron too is a foremost authority on classic film and has been finding, restoring and distributing classic content under the Festival Films brand for over 35 years.
Derek is a TV industry veteran, founder-owner of Myers Memories and a devout Christian. He has been collecting 16mm original films for over 30 years, has a knack for ferreting out lost and rare content, and a special passion for tracking down Christian-themed films and TV shows. As a media producer Derek provides public domain TV shows and vintage features to WGGS-TV, a Christian TV station in Greenville, SC.
Pete is a multi-talented editor, producer and artist with decades of multi-media experience producing national TV shows and series. He is a producer on the GFA film collections and key architect of GFA’s new Bible Footage Hub for Artbeats.
Kirk and his family operate a free mobile Christian Bookstore based in Michigan for the poor, homeless and disabled called the King of Kings Book Table. Kirk is an executive producer on the GFA Easter Collection and a new GFA Children’s Film Collection DVD currently in production. Kirk is also the key architect of GFA’s Benevolent Wing, currently in development.