Five uplifting motion pictures were recognized recently with CAMIE awards for “Character And Morality In Entertainment.” Former Miss America, Tara Dawn Christensen emceed the event, co-hosted by United Families International at a gala banquet at the Sheraton Phoenix in Mesa, Arizona.
A CAMIE award is the highest recognition in the entertainment world for entertaining and uplifting motion pictures without offensive content. Instead of rewarding wholesome and entertaining movies with just one CAMIE, each of the nine or ten key people involved in writing, producing, directing, and acting in these wholesome films is given a CAMIE award, cast individually from an original sculpture of a young woman named CAMIE for Character and Morality in Entertainment.
The five motion pictures that were honored with CAMIE awards were, Love Comes Softly by Hallmark Entertainment, The Rookie by Disney, The Locket, by Hallmark Hall of Fame, Miss Lettie and Me, by The Polson Company, and The Other Side of Heaven by 3 Mark Entertainment. Two of these were feature films released in theaters and three were movies made for television. Each of these CAMIE award films was inspiring without having any offensive content.
Beth Polson, producer of Miss Lettie and Me said, “Let me tell you how much this CAMIE means to me. In my world it is very hard to sell movies that uplift the human spirit and celebrate the things that are important to us in this room. We work very hard against the opposition.
“I want to tell you what power you have. I’m sitting here with the remote control and there’s not one thing I want to see. I want you to become missionaries. I’m going to stand up for values on television. I hope you will take the time to write network executives. Every letter means a lot. Write sponsors, those people who are willing to put their money up for values. More than that I want you take control of that remote control. “
Polson has made a movie Secret Santa that will be premiering on television December 14 against the final episode of Survivor. She said that it was like David going up against Goliath and urged people to vote for values.
Love Comes Softly begins as newlyweds, Aaron and Marty, arrive in their covered wagon on the western frontier. They decide they can handle anything–if they have each other. The next day, Aaron is killed in an accident. Grieving after the funeral, Marty, is startled by a marriage proposal from Clark, a widower, played by Dale Midkiff. He knows the timing is bad, but his daughter, Missy, played brilliantly by Skye McCole Bartusiak, needs a mother. Marty accepts a most unusual marriage arrangement, agreeing Marty and Missy would share the cabin bedroom while Clark sleeps in a lean-to. Challenges follow. Marty, (Katherine Heigl), can’t understand Clark’s faith or why God lets bad things happen. Clark’s answers, and prayers for guidance, are inspiring examples rarely portrayed in movies.
Cindy Kelley, Michael Landon’s co-writer, and Elizabeth Yost, Director of Programming Development at the Hallmark Channel which produced this fine film, talked about the importance of creating wholesome entertainment. And the bright young star who played Missy, Skye McCole Bartusiak, who is only eleven years old, reveled in the spotlight as she received her CAMIE. It was a treat to visit with Skye, who is certainly up-and-coming starlet, along with her mother, Helen McCole, about being careful about which films for her to choose in the future–more uplifting ones like Love Comes Softly. Everyone at the CAMIE awards event and who has seen this touching movie recognized Skye McCole Bartusiak’s exceptional talent. This outstanding film will be released on DVD and VHS in January 2004. In announcing the award, Linda Woodfield said: “It’s refreshing to see a show about faith-and to hear a movie character explain God is there to comfort us when bad things happen. Love Comes Softly is a family favorite.”
Miss Lettie and Me, written and produced by Beth Polson of The Polson Company starred Mary Tyler Moore who said this movie was positive and has hope. We agree. When we first screened this movie, a group of young people spontaneously, and quite unexpectedly applauded. Co-starring with Mary Tyler Moore was Charlie Robinson, a great actor, who was in a previous CAMIE winning Beth Polson movie, The Last Dance-and who will also appear in Beth’s latest film, Secret Santa, which premiers on NBC on December 14th.
Charlie had tears in his eyes as he received his CAMIE award. And six year old, Holliston (Holly) Coleman, another sparkling young starlet, was overjoyed to receive her CAMIE award for playing the part of Travis in Miss Lettie and Me. After seeing the clips from this excellent show, the audience responded warmly as we held Holly’s hand high in the air-waving to the people. She loved it-and the solid bronze CAMIE which is surprisingly heavy when grown-ups pick it up, let alone an eleven year old. Holly and her father, Bob Coleman, flew in after an audition in Los Angeles, just in time to be there for the CAMIE awards
The Rookie by Walt Disney Pictures, a classic motion picture starring Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, and Tyler T. Jones about never giving up is much more than a story about a guy who pitched baseballs 96-miles a hour. It is the true story of a high school science teacher and coach of a small town high school baseball team who went on to play in the major leagues. But getting there is a story of determination and never giving up.
The Locket by Hallmark Hall of Fame, stars Vanessa Redgraves, Marguerite Moreau, and Chad Willett and is based on the book by Richard Paul Evans. This is a story about faith, trust, and forgiveness. Jan Parkinson, the President of Hallmark Hall of Fame accepted Hallmark’s third CAMIE award with joy for being recognized for Hallmark’s many years of leading the way in producing wholesome entertainment.
Jan Parkinson said, “Hallmark is a family-owned company that stands for belief and values in everything they do. CAMIE awards honor individuals who produce entertainment that enriches our lives and that’s the kind of reinforcement our industry needs more than ever these days.”
The Other Side of Heaven by 3 Mark Productions and Walt Disney Entertainment. A true story of John Groberg, a twenty year old missionary sent to a remote Tongan island in the 1950’s, he embarks on a harrowing, adventure- filled journey that would change him forever. The Other Side of Heaven is the true story of John Groberg, a 20-year old missionary sent to a remote Tongan island in the 1950s. After leaving behind the girl of his dreams, John embarked on a harrowing, adventure-filled journey that would change him forever. In a film with superb acting, directing, and cinematography, John encounters fierce tropical storms, physical and spiritual struggles, and real examples of love and service. Letters between John and his girlfriend back home, Jean, tell an inspiring love story.
Just when he thinks things are going well, a young native girl shocks the young missionary by trying to get him to make love to her. The bewilderment is multiplied by the girl’s mother who can’t understand why he would not be with her daughter. John Groberg’s responses are powerful and inspiring.
In receiving the award, Elder Groberg said, “I love my wife. I always have and I always will.”
Director and writer, Mitch Davis noted, “When we previewed this movie before audiences, some response cards came back saying of the main character’s devotion to his mission and ideals, ‘Nobody would do this.’
“I came across a few words that inspired and haunted me as a director and writer. Only those who are morally courageous should be allowed to speak to their fellow men alone in the dark for two hours. There is probably no place where our children and our own consciences are more at risk than in our own living room. You don’t go into a movie without submitting yourself fully to whatever you will be fed for the next hours.”
Commenting on the responsibility of filmmaking, Davis said, “Who do we make our movies about? Immortal sons and daughters of God. Who do we make them for? Immortal sons and daughters of God.”
Producer Gerald R. Molen said, “I thank the CAMIE organization for caring about our culture when so many want to take the easy road, undermining our youth.”
Two of these films were made for the theater, and the other three CAMIE award winning movies premiered this year on television. Each of these CAMIE award films was inspiring without having any offensive content
An individual CAMIE award goes to each of the following who were involved in making these outstanding films: