Former Pennsylvania Senator and 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum has picked up a new gig as CEO of a faith-based movie company, EchoLight Studios. Weeks away from settling a $20 million film budget, the Dallas-based firm will use the fund for producing, marketing, and distributing faith based family films.
"This is the right place and right time, and I’ve jumped in with both feet," Santorum said on Mike Huckabee's Fox News program. "I often say that culture is upstream from politics, and I know entertainment also can be strength and light for people who want to be uplifted and reinforced in their values."
The company says Santorum has spent the past year working with Dallas-based EchoLight, and a few months ago he joined the studio's board of directors. The company’s first film, "The Redemption of Henry Myers," is set to release this fall, and it has another movie in post-production.
Santorum admitted the move was an unlikely transition from politics. "I know what you are thinking," Santorum said in a release. "Rick Santorum is getting into the movie business?"
"Many of you have heard me talk about that if we are going to make a positive impact on our country's cultural challenges, we have to do it by reaching the masses often through entertainment. For too long, Hollywood has had a lock on influencing the youth of this country with a flawed message that goes against our values. Now, we can change that," Santorum wrote.
This is not the first time Santorum has discussed ways Hollywood can better collaborate with the faith-based community. In a January 2011 speech at the Heritage Foundation, the former senator criticized conservatives for being out of touch with popular culture and encouraged Christian conservatives to become actively engaged with Hollywood.
"The problem in the past is that you have these people who create these Christian films—great message, terrible acting, horrible editing," Santorum said. "They are not entertaining, they’re preachy." In that speech, he said that conservatives needed to go to Hollywood. But “’Dallas can become the Hollywood of the faith-and-family movie market,” he said Monday.