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‘Christmas for a Dollar’ DVD to be released

by Stefani Manowski
November 4, 2013

It’s 1931 in Bakersfield, Calif. America is in the midst of the Depression, and the Kamp family is struggling to get by, especially after Mrs. Kamp’s untimely death. Now little Ruthie, with her mother gone and her father overwhelmed by doctors' bills resulting from her brother’s polio, expects another Christmas without presents or festivities. But when her father brings home one dollar in change and lets the children use it to buy special gifts for each other, the Kamps come to find that money isn’t what fills Christmas with joy, love, and miracles.

This fictional story of the Kamp family is the premise of “Christmas for a Dollar,” a movie co-produced by Paulist Productions that will premiere on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. EDT on the UP (Uplifting Entertainment) channel. A DVD will be available through Paulist Press ( beginning Nov. 12. “Christmas for a Dollar” is based on the book of the same name written by Gale Sears and illustrated by Ben Sowards.

“We are always looking for material and content that can reach families," said Father Eric Andrews, CSP, the president of Paulist Productions. “People always tell us that they just want to have a movie that they can sit down and watch with the family. That is always in the back of my mind.”

And so Father Andrews took to the idea when Paulist Productions was approached by Covenant Communications, a Mormon production house out of Utah, and Mainstay Productions.

“This movie has a message of hope, service, unconditional love, and giving rather than receiving,” Father Andrews said. “Working on a media project that is an ecumenical effort to showcase the best of Gospel values to people outside the pews is uniquely Paulist.”

Filming began in Utah in March 2013, and the premiere was held in Salt Lake City on Oct. 30.

The Catholics and Mormons that worked together on this project prayed together at lunch, and shared their respective faith traditions.

“We celebrated where our beliefs overlapped, and were respectful of our differences,” said Father Andrews. “It was a Christ-like environment that was refreshing and professional.”

Father Andrews marveled at the Mormon work ethic, and said he enjoys working on projects where people of faith come together.

“It was clear that faith and mission were more important than profit,” he recalled. “I love the creative atmosphere that comes with being on a set, and the community that forms. It is incredible that this much talent came together to praise God, and we did it making a movie.”

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