It all started in Spring 2011 when three people’s thoughts collided. Rev. Dr. Robert Scudieri was serving at Faith Lutheran Church in Naples, Florida at the time. Entertainment industry executive Rebeca Seitz and her then business partner, Steve Feldman, an Emmy-winning director, were up in Nashville. The three came together over a dinner at the home of James and Grace Seitz in Naples, where they discussed the general decline of American culture and the entertaiment industry’s ability to address it.
They decided to hold a film festival and see if the local community had any interest in culture-enriching media – and making more of it.
The festival was held February 24, 2012, and Rebeca and Steve brought Micheal Flaherty, President of Walden Media, to be the keynote speaker at an opening dinner on Friday and a panelist for Saturday’s events. Other panelists included Howie Klausner (Space Cowboys), writer, director, and producer of The Grace Card and Michael Joiner, star of The Grace Card.
To introduce festival-goers to the wide conceptual range of Christian films and filmmakers, The Grace Card and Of Gods and Men were screened, with lively discussion following amongst the audience and panelists.
By the end of day two, the festival organizers could see that, yes, a large and sincere interest existed among the southwest Florida population.
For the next nearly three years, SON held film screenings, book readings, industry informational sessions, and member gatherings in and around the Southwest Florida area. These included:
- UNLIMITED at the Waldorf-Astoria Naples, featuring special appearances by Fred Thompson (star), Chad Gundersen (producer), Davis Bunn (writer), and Harold Finch (executive producer)
- UNCONDITIONAL at First Presbyterian Bonita Springs and Faith Lutheran Naples, featuring special appearances by Brent McCorkle (writer/director) and Eva Marie Everson (writer of the film’s novelization)
- STATE OF THE INDUSTRY address by DAN MERRELL, co-founder of media marketing company Propeller
And then Rebeca Seitz, who had been serving as President of SON on a voluntary basis, moved to Naples full-time. Within a year of the move, SON’s life story changed drastically.
In responding to the sudden dissolution of the decades-old Christian Writers Guild and the resulting instructional void, SON quickly added educational offerings to its list of services. Within its first year, over 2,000 writers had received instruction and/or mentoring through SON.
Upon receiving the donation of the nine-year-old company Glass Road Media and all its IP, SON was immediately blessed with PR and agency clients and the staff to serve them. This would account for nearly half of the revenue by year’s end.
Membership spread across 26 states and Canada.
The PR division helped bring a dozen culture-enriching film and book projects to the attention of target audiences and placed a conservative-values-driven speaker in front of over 10,000 people via small, grass-roots events.
And, oh yes, after bringing producers and directors to Southwest Florida from all across the country and exploring the feasibility of a donor’s suggestion, SON committed to building what, at present, will be the largest film and television studio in the State of Florida at 184,000 square feet.
Which brings us to…
Having experienced explosive growth in 2014 and 2015, the SON Board of Trustees held an all-day meeting in May to review activity and determine whether the primary SON mission was being met. Did all of the activity serve to better society? To seed it with conservative values via mainstream media? Was SON the best home for each of the services offered?
At the end of that day, with the Board in unanimous agreement, a slightly edited mission statement and new tagline emerged:SON exists to create relevant, mainstream media that has a positive impact on society.
In short,We Make Media For Good.
Please look around the site, learn about our projects and people, and let us know if you’d like to be a part of bending the culture toward good.