Director Ken Carpenter has never before seen a theatrical release for any of his films. After all, in his over twenty years of experience in film and video production, he has primarily done (as he describes on his LinkedIn page) documentaries in the “faith-based feature film arena” and “family-oriented programs, which were televised on faith-based broadcast outlets and distributed on DVD.” Thus, Carpenter’s profile has to this point remained confined to a small niche. However, that may change with his latest documentary, One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty, as EchoLight Studios, the distribution and production company headed by GOP figurehead and ex-presidential contender Rick Santorum, has just set its theatrical release date for September 1st this year.
This news story is another example of the political right’s continuing crusade to thwart the federal government’s alleged infringement on religious freedom. One Generation Away, whose title derives from a quote from President Ronald Reagan, explores through seven current, relevant U.S. court cases how religious freedom – or specifically freedom of practicing Christianity – is increasingly becoming endangered in this country. One of these cases is the now recently settled Supreme Court case Hobby Lobby vs. Burwell in which, in a win for the conservative movement, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Affordable Care Act goes against a federal law protecting religious freedoms and cannot force family-owned companies to pay for insurance covering contraception for their employees.
The film has garnered much publicity since the ruling in Hobby Lobby vs. Burwell. Moreover, even though One Generation Away is a highly political documentary, it may find enough success in a market in which theatrically released Christian-themed films have been surprisingly strong this year. Out-of-nowhere films such as Heaven is for Real and God’s Not Dead were astoundingly successful at the box-office and revealed a strong audience base ready to consume such Christian-themed content. Granted, as the success (and controversy) of 2004’s The Passion of the Christ revealed, audiences for such films have been around for a while. EchoLight Studios will first screen the film in churches before releasing it in theaters. Check out the trailer below.