Thursday, 30 January 2014

Movieguide’s Lili Baehr on the Early Days of a Hollywood Ministry (Video)

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When the Klieg lights blaze on and the Hollywood stars traipse down the red carpet for the photo shots and media interviews at the 22nd Annual Movieguide Awards Gala on February 7, Lili Baehr (shown) will be there — although she may not be in the limelight. She is one of the executive producers of the star-studded gala, as well as being the chief financial officer of Movieguide. 

One of the serendipitous pleasures of our recent trip to Movieguide’s headquarters in Camarillo, California, was to be able to meet — and have a spontaneous interview with — this charming lady, who has been a moving force in the Movieguide ministry since its inception. Besides her executive duties with Movieguide, the Christian Film and Television Commission, and Good News Communications, Inc., Lili Baehr is the wife (of 39 years) of Movieguide founder Ted Baehr (see our interview with Ted here) and the mother of Movieguide’s Evy Baehr (interview here) and Robby Baehr (interview here).

Lili studied at Rice University in Houston and received her bachelor's degree in architecture. “We started Movieguide inadvertently,” she told us in an interview, because one of their Good News Communications board members owned a movie theater and wanted to be able to provide patrons and parents with some guidance. (See video below.) When Ted Baehr began doing movie reviews on the radio, they received many requests from people who wanted the reviews in writing. “So, I literally typed them out, glued them on a piece of paper — in those days that’s how you had to do it — went to the Xerox machine, made copies and sent them out,” she recalled. “So that’s how Movieguide got started to begin with, and then it grew and grew and grew.”

One of the key accomplishments of Movieguide’s research and its Annual Report to the movie industry, she believes, is that it has dispelled “the myth that violence, sex, and profanity are what people want” in entertainment. The bottom-line numbers show, she points out, that year after year, movies that are friendly to faith and family do far, far better at the box office than those promoting sleaze. 

Among the studio executives and celebrities who will be participating in this year’s Awards Gala — often described as "The Christian Oscar Awards" — are Andy Garcia, Mark Burnett, Roma Downey, John Ratzenberger, Kevin Sorbo, Sharif Atkins, Corbin Bernsen, James Denton, and A.J. Mikchalka.

Some of the top honors given away each year include Movieguide’s "Best of the Year" family and mature movies, the Grace Award for Inspiring Acting, The Faith & Freedom Awards, and the financial incentive awards supported by grants from the John Templeton Foundation: The $50,000 Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays from Beginning and First-Time Screenwriters; the $50,000 Chronos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays from Established Filmmakers; and the celebrated $100,000 Epiphany Prizes for Inspiring Movies & for TV.

This year’s Gala will be aired on March 1 on the Reelz Channel.

For more information on the 22nd Annual Movieguide Awards Gala, click here.

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