Tuesday, December 7, 2010


During the past 20 years at the helm of The Dove Foundation, I’ve received hundreds of letters and thousands of emails from people who either love what we do here, or who have a bone to pick with a particular movie review we’ve published.  Some people think we’re too liberal while others accuse us of being rightwing nuts. In all those years, however, I’ve never had a high school freshman write to me to express concern about topic that we deal with on a daily basis – violence in media; that is until Emily Schafer wrote the following refreshingly candid letter…
Dear Mr. Dick Rolfe
Hello, my name is Emily Schafer and I am a freshman at Forest Hills Northern High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have recently become aware of the situation of media violence in the United States, and I think it’s become a problem we need to solve.
Media violence has become a very troubling issue. Violent and action-packed movies and television programs may be what the public adults want most, but our children deserve better. Especially for kids below the age of eight, it can be hard for them to distinguish the difference between fantasy and real life.  This confusion can sometimes lead to violent behavior, thinking that it’s okay. However, violence is not okay.
Our country has released some startling statistics in the past few years that really shocked me. For instance, did you know that by the time a child reaches age 18, they will have seen 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders in TV programs and movies?  It is also astonishing to me that about 82% of the American public believes that Hollywood movies are too violent.
As a concerned citizen, I was wondering what your organization, the Dove Foundation does to protect children from media violence. What have you done in the past? Do you plan on taking more steps in the future against media violence?
Thank you so much for your time and reading this letter. I would really appreciate a response!
Emily Schafer

I wrote back and thanked Emily for taking time to write me about a subject that is so vital to our society’s values.
I stated further that I was impressed by her passionate, intelligent arguments opposing violence in media, and that I read her letter to my staff and board of directors.
I went on to address her concern…
“You asked what The Dove Foundation does to protect children from media violence. One thing we do is encourage parents to teach their children about the importance of discernment when it comes to making their entertainment choices.  Obviously, your parents are doing just that, and doing it well!
I believe your words of wisdom can be an inspiration to others to think more carefully before choosing to watch violent movies or television programs.  Your point of view as a teenager can very persuasive to others of your peers.“
And this is where I extend Emily’s appeal to you parents and teenagers reading this story. Please consider seriously the research that shows a direct link between the violent media that kids are exposed to and the increased aggression they exhibit.  How many times have we read a news story where a youngster committed a crime of violence to mimic something he or she saw in a movie?
Members of the Motion Picture Association are the arbiter of the movie ratings system (G, PG, PG13, R). They admit openly to revising their ratings downward occasionally to reflect the changing (read that “degrading”) social norms of society. In other words, violence that was once considered too extreme to be portrayed is now considered as mild.
An example of this effect was explained to me by a Disney executive who compared the death of Bambi’s mother in the 1942 animated classic, to that of Simba’s father in The Lion King.  In Bambi, a mere gun shot off camera was enough to send most children into fits of tears knowing that Bambi’s mother had been killed by a hunter.  (I know, because I was one of those children.)  In The Lion King, however, animators found it necessary to show Simba nuzzling Mumphasa‘s dead body on screen in order to elicit any sympathy from youngsters in the audience.  Psychologists call that affect “coarsening.”
The Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association all three consider violence in media so serious that they’ve declared it a public health problem.
I’m grateful to Emily and others like her who are becoming aware of the seriousness of the impact of violence in entertainment on our society, and particularly today’s youth.
Let’s begin by asking ourselves the question Emily posed in her letter; “What do we intend to do to protect children from media violence?”

Friday, August 27, 2010

Toy Story 3 crosses $1 billion mark!

Well what do you know? Family films ARE profitable! 


BURBANK, Calif. – August 27, 2010 – Two weeks after becoming the highest-grossing animated film of all time, Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 3 will cross the $1 billion mark at the global box office today,  joining Alice in Wonderland as the second $1 billion film this year from The Walt Disney Studios – the first studio in history to accomplish this feat.  Disney first crossed the $1 billion threshold with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest in 2006.  Toy Story 3 becomes the only animated film to reach this milestone and the seventh title in industry history. 
“It’s been an incredible year as we saw the Pixar team bring Buzz and Woody back to the big screen and watched Tim Burton’s vision for Alice in Wonderland take the world by storm,” said Rich Ross, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios.  “These box office triumphs prove that creative storytelling brought to life by imaginative, inspired and talented professionals is something audiences respond to the world over.” 
As of Thursday (8/26/10), Toy Story 3 tallied more than $592.9 million internationally, Disney’s largest international animated release. Latin American audiences have contributed $138 million making Toy Story 3 the highest grossing Disney film ever released in the region.  Toy Story 3 is the most successful UK release in Disney history and currently stands as the fourth biggest title in territory history with $102.4 million in box office receipts so far.  In Japan, the film has taken in $111.2 million and spent five consecutive weeks as the #1 movie.  Toy Story 3 currently ranks as the #7 film in global box office history and domestically ranks #9 with $404.6 million in receipts to date.
Alice in Wonderland began setting records during its opening weekend (March 5-7), becoming the biggest March opening in industry history, the highest 3D opening ever and The Walt Disney Studios’ biggest opening for a non-sequel film.  Internationally, the film went on to tally more than $690 million, becoming Disney’s biggest overseas release of all time and the fourth biggest title ever released overseas.  Worldwide, the film took in $1.0243 billion, ranking it as the #5 film in global box office history.  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Dove Foundation - address change

Dear Friend of Dove.
We've moved into newer digs in the burbs.
Please change your records accordingly,
(especially if you ship movies/DVDs for review).
The Dove Foundation
4467 Byron Center S.W. Ste D
Wyoming, MI 49519
(Phone and Fax numbers have not changed)
Ofc: (616) 454-5021 
Fax: (616) 454-5036  

Saturday, April 10, 2010

FLICKA 2; The Exhilarating Family Film Arrives On DVD

Clint Black Takes the Reins from Tim McGraw in the All-New Family Adventure Flicka 2

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The wild mustangs of Wyoming return when Flicka 2 makes its exclusive premiere on DVD and DVD Combo Pack May 4th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The uplifting film, directed by Michael Damian (Moondance Alexander), a continuation of the popular 2006 Flicka that starred Tim McGraw, features Patrick Warburton (“Family Guy,” “Seinfeld”), newcomer Tammin Sursok (“The Young And The Restless”) and country legend Clint Black in a thrilling story of the special bond between one girl and the mustang no one could tame.

Carrie (Sursok) is a big-city teenager whose life is turned upside down when she moves to a horse ranch in Wyoming to live with her father (Warburton). But everything changes when Carrie meets Flicka, a wild, jet-black mustang who’s just as free-spirited and strong-willed as Carrie. The two form a special bond and Carrie opens her heart to her father and a handsome, local boy, but when a jealous rival puts Flicka’s life in jeopardy, Carrie must do whatever it takes to save her best friend.

The Flicka 2 DVD includes behind-the-scenes featurettes; a documentary on the North American Mustang; an in-depth interview with Clint Black; bloopers and more for the suggested retail price of $22.98 DVD and $34.98 Flicka / Flicka 2 2-pack DVD. Fans, families and Flicka friends can find the DVD and 2-pack DVD on May 4th.
Check Dove's review and Trailer here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Christian Task Force Develops New Rating System for Films

A task force made up of representatives from Christian retailers including ChristianCinema.com and The Dove Foundation, developed a new rating system for DVDs and theatrical films to equip customers with information about content.

“No one wants to be surprised with unexpected language or uncomfortable situations depicted on the screen when the family settles down to view entertainment,” said Ron Forster, owner of The Open Door in Terre Haute, IN, and a member of the task force. He said the ratings help give consumers information they need to confirm a purchasing decision and assist retailers by providing definitive information about the content.

The Dove Foundation's new rating system, which should be finalized this summer, adds categories for films  that are "Faith Based," "Faith Friendly," in addition to their already popular "Family Approved" Seal.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Want to See a Family Movie? There's an App for That!

Dove Foundation launches a mobile app for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The Dove Foundation announces the launch of mobile apps for the new generation of smart phones, including a FREE app for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Dove is a nonprofit advocacy organization that encourages Hollywood to produce more family-oriented movies and DVDs. The Foundation publishes reviews of all the latest movies and DVDs on its website at www.dove.org.

“Many families who rely on our online reviews asked us to make them available in a mobile format,” added Rolfe. “We are grateful to Six Voices, a technology company in Grand Rapids for setting up our iPhone/iPod Touch app.”

The Dove mobile app offers smart phone owners several key advantages. One advantage is that people can gain instant access to Dove’s comprehensive reviews even when away from their home computers.

While standing in the theater trying to decide which movie to see, people can type in www.dove.org on their iPod Touch, iPhone or any other smart phone and read Dove’s reviews instantly before purchasing their tickets. The same application applies to anyone browsing through the DVDs in a retail store.

Another nice feature of the mobile app is that it renders Dove’s reviews in a special, easy to read format designed for the small screens on mobile phones. “The technology we use recognizes whether the inquiry is coming from a computer or cell phone,” said Director of Operations, Scott Rolfe. “That way, people don’t have to memorize two web addresses to get their information on various platforms.”

With the help of technology partner, Six Voices, Dove is looking into other advanced technologies that that will help deliver to families everything they need to remain informed in this exciting, and challenging age of new media.

The Dove Foundation is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1991 whose mission is to encourage and promote the creation, production, distribution and consumption of family-friendly entertainment. Nearly 200,000 unique visitors each month rely on Dove’s in-depth movie and DVD reviews at www.dove.org to determine what is appropriate for their families.

Six Voices is a mobile technology company that transforms ideas into reality. “You dream it, Six Voices will deliver."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


You voted and you won! It’s not often that families can influence the entertainment giant called, Hollywood. Voting for your favorite family-friendly movie in the annual CRYSTAL DOVE SEAL awards is one of the very few opportunities to do so.  Here are the winners in each of seven major categories.

 If you are one of those who complain that Hollywood is not producing enough wholesome family-oriented movies, here are seven selections that you can choose from when you want to enjoy a high-quality, uplifting entertainment experience.  You can add your vote to those already cast by purchasing or renting the DVDs of these CRYSTAL DOVE SEAL award-winning titles.

The Dove Foundation is proud to be able to represent discriminating families by presenting this cherished award to the key executive of each winning entry.  Recipients will be permitted to display the CRYSTAL DOVE SEAL on all promotional materials as well as on the packaging of the winning DVDs.

We wish to exhort the producers of these award-winners to continue producing more of the same kind of wholesome, entertaining stories that can be watched with impunity by families everywhere. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

World's Largest Sound Stage Opens in Grand Rapids, Michigan

The state's largest film production studio, featuring the world's largest sound stage, has officially opened for business today in Avastar Park in Walker, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids.

Hanger42 Studios, owned by a group of local investors, has invested $45 million into purchasing and renovating 450,000 square feet of the former Lear Corp. auto parts manufacturing plant at 2150 Alpine Ave. NW. The investors plan to turn the massive space into production-ready studios, office space and post-production suites.

"This is a project that has been in the works for quite some time and represents a true public-private sector partnership. We couldn't be more excited to now officially open for business and are very appreciative to the Michigan Film Office for all the support it has provided," said Joe Peters, a principal with Hanger42 Studios, in a release.

Hanger42 Studios bought the facility from John Buchanan, a partner in the local law firm Buchanan and Beckering, and Blue Bridge Ventures LLC CEO Jack Buchanan. They purchased the plant from Lear nearly four years ago, redeveloped the buildings and the property, and gained a Renaissance Zone designation for the site with help from local and state officials.

"The vision was always adaptive reuse for this building when my father and I purchased it in 2006, and it's rewarding to be able to collaborate with Joe to put this innovative project together," said Jack Buchanan, who studied film production in college and will serve as a consultant to the new enterprise.
"We've seen the early fruits of this with two films and I look forward to working with Hanger42 Studios in an advisory role. Based on the buzz and activity we've already created for the studio, I am highly optimistic about the future for Hanger42 Studios," he added.

Peters said they've hired Studio O+A, a San Francisco firm, to design the interior space with a
goal of eventually creating more than 50,000 square feet of production offices. A full range of concierge services, pre- and-post production space, a state-of-the-art screening room and ample office space will make up Hanger42 Studios.

"Hanger42 Studios concierge services will multiply the economic impact to the local West Michigan community and tie more companies, people and jobs to the growing film industry," said Peters, who expects up to 1,000 jobs to be created in the studio's first three years.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vote for the best Dove Family-Approved movies for 2009

The Crystal Dove Seal Trophy
You may now cast your vote online for your favorite Dove Family-Approved movie of 2009. Click on this link: http://www.dove.org/cdsballot09.asp The winners in each of 7 categories ADVENTURE, ANIMATED, COMEDY, DOCUMENTARY, DRAMA, LIMITED RELEASE and MUSICAL will receive the coveted Crystal Dove Seal trophy. Deadline for voting is February 15th.   

In preparation for this article I Googled the “ten best movies of 2009” and found a mere 2,080,000 entries.  One would think that this topic has been thoroughly covered. Upon further research, however, I found that the vast majority of the 2 million plus entries reflect the opinions of single bloggers.  Most of the rest were op-ed pieces written by film “critics.” Not much consensus there. A few websites reflect collective opinions from voters or members, such as the American Film Institute (AFI).
          Actually, voting is a very credible way of selecting the best of anything, so long as we acknowledge that the results reflect the subjective opinions of voters. There are absolutely no objective criteria where voting is concerned, even if someone can site the tangible basis for casting their particular vote. So, what separates one “best of” award from another?  The qualifications and commonalities of the voters.
Crystal Dove Seal Award          Acclaimed awards like the Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globes represent the collective opinion of each group’s members/voters, most of whom are critics or pundits. Others like the Academy Awards, Producers’ Guild, Writers’ Guild, and Screen Actors’ Guild Awards represent peers voting for peers; hardly an objective group.
          Voters of their favorite Dove Family Approved movie of 2009 are joined by a set of common values based on traditional Judeo-Christian ethics and standards of behavior. Dove voters are mostly enthusiastic movie-goers who look for quality motion pictures that entertain without offending.  
          Major movie studios and independent filmmakers value the Crystal Dove Seal. This award is a tribute to you and the hundreds of thousands of other Dove families who care about making wise entertainment choices and acknowledging when Hollywood produces movies that reflect their values.
          Vote now and we will send you a copy of the results and the comments of each studio exec. You will also be included in a special drawing for some pretty nice Dove family approved DVDs.
          The polls are now open - vote today! 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tiger Woods advised to turn to Christianity

On “Fox News Sunday” Brit Hume served up some personal advice to Tiger Woods. 

Hume says, “Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer, whether he can recover as a person, I think is a very open question as it’s a tragic situation with him. I think he has lost his family. It’s not clear to me whether he will be able to have a relationship with his children. But the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value does out of this scandal, the extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith.

“He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. My message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."