Catalyst Resource Group engages and connects churches to faith and family-friendly movies. CEO Kyle Thompson and his team have worked with churches around the country since 1994. They understand the church world. They have direct communication with over 200,000 Christian leaders. They also provide church engagement services for clients such as Compassion International and Israel Ministry of Tourism.
Thompson has been promoting compelling stories of faith to the world through film and television for more than 20 years. He started by assisting the transformation of Impact Production’s TV commercial division into Media Outreach. His gifted leadership over a decade expanded the division into the following: media campaigns, media buying, made-for-TV film syndication, streaming sermons, custom video, and Web site production with 80 employees, serving over 7,000 local churches and proclaiming powerful faith messages to millions of people around the U.S. and in 26 countries.
By 2004, Thompson transitioned his focus to the “big screen,” when he joined the marketing team for Mel Gibson’s legendary film The Passion of the Christ. This experience led to his developing a syndicated television campaign leveraging the influence of more than 500 pastors to endorse and promote the movie through their local TV stations.
Since then, Kyle has served on marketing teams and produced behind-the- scenes videos to promote about 35 theatrically released faith & family films, including Miracles From Heaven, Heaven is For Real, Risen, and more.
With his broad base of experience and knowledge, Kyle has facilitated a wide variety of clients to find success for their projects. In 2014, Kyle and his team produced one of the largest single client movie ticket purchases in cinema history, buying over 200,000 tickets in coordination with more than 700 churches for opening weekend shows for 20th Century Fox’s, Son of God.
SCH Editor At Large Dr. Diane Howard exclusively interviews Kyle Thompson for Sonoma Christian Home.
SCH: We understand that you have worked with about 35 faith and family-friendly movies, which have included some of the top grossing faith-based movies. What films are on that list?
KT: The top grossing faith films we have worked on have included the following: The Passion of the Christ ($611,899,420); Hacksaw Ridge ($175,302,354); Heaven is for Real ($101,332,962); Miracles From Heaven ($73,883,359); Son of God ($67,800,064); War Room ($67,790,117) ; Soul Surfer ($47,088,990), Risen ($46,069,568); Courageous ($34,522,221); and Fireproof ($33,473,297). Further, we have worked on the following: October Baby; Mom’s Night Out; End of the Spear; Unconditional; Unstoppable; Grace Unplugged; Patterns of Evidence, Exodus; Finding Noah: Old Fashioned; The Remaining; The Song; When the Game Stands Tall, Christmas Candle, Soul Surfer, Grace Card; To Save a Life; Home Run; Facing the Darkness, Lost Kites, and more including upcoming Mully, All Saints, and I Can Only Imagine.
SCH: Who have been your key clients for these outstanding faith, family-friendly, inspirational film?
KT: They have included the following: Affirm Films and Columbia TriStar (Sony); Warner Bros.; Samuel Goldwyn Films; Fox Studios; Paramount Pictures; Provident Films, Rocky Mountain Film Company; New Line Cinema; Echolight Studios; Impact Productions; Outreach; WTA Group; Lightworker;, Impact Productions; Outreach; Compassion; Kendrick Brothers; Pure Flix Entertainment; Giving Films; and Israel Land of Creation.
SCH: How are you associated with producer, actor, and speaker Devon Franklin?
KT: As a resource group, we book Devon Franklin as a speaker for churches and conferences. He is humble, delightful, and accessible in small to large settings. He is the same person in person and on film. He is an example of how media and entertainment have a missional connection. Devon has written a wonderful book The Hollywood Commandments: A Spiritual Guide to Secular Success. In it, he shares the spiritual and biblical guide to success.
SCH: How have you worked to develop and connect businesses to fund missions?
KT: Early on we worked on businesses to fund missions. We also developed resources to strengthen missions.
SCH: How did you begin to connect film and churches?
KT: With our first film equipment, we made commercials. We made 30 second segment vignettes, “Got Jesus” commercials, to which churches could add a tag.
Upon graduation in 1994, I began my career in church engagement, marketing and media by working for a Tulsa-based ministry, Impact Productions. My first position involved the development of high quality TV commercials that were custom labeled and sold to literally thousands of local churches nationwide. This business grew into a multi-million-dollar sales producer while allowing me to develop invaluable marketing and sales skills, as well as to develop relationships with faith leaders around the U.S.
SCH: How did you connect churches with faith movies?
KT: In 2004, I became involved in movie marketing, as I worked on church engagement for Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of the Christ. It was during this time, that I formed Catalyst Productions. Success in gaining the support of church leaders for this film earned our newly formed company a respected position in the “faith movie” marketing sector.
SCH: How did you expand connecting churches to faith and family-friendly movies?
KT: From 2004 to 2014 my wife Deanna and I expanded the effective reach and services of Catalyst Productions through church engagement marketing on 18 theatrically released movies. During that 10-year period, Catalyst Productions developed a significant database of more than 200,000 church leaders and faith movie goers. This gave the company significant means for communicating directly with viable target audiences. Additionally, we became friends to many church and non-profit ministry leaders around the U.S.
SCH: Tell us about the connection between Compassion International with the Son of God movie?
KT: In January of 2014, James Olson and I joined forces to work on a major project, 20th Century Fox’s, Son of God movie. For Compassion International, a global missions organization, we set up approximately 650 movie showtime buyouts for churches across America to enjoy a sponsored show on opening weekend.
With this tremendous project, a business partnership was formed and Catalyst Productions began the transition to become the more comprehensive model now called, Catalyst Resource Group.
SCH: How has Catalyst Resource Group developed since the partnership with Compassion International and the Son of God movie?
KT: Since the formation of partnership in 2014, Catalyst has continued to provide marketing services for faith movies. To date we have worked with about 35 theatrical releases of faith and family-friendly movies. In addition, to church engagement and marketing services for movies, the company has also developed other unique church engagement services for clients such as for the Israel Ministry of Tourism.
SCH: How did you become involved with the Samaritan’s Purse movie, Facing the Darkness?
KT: They contacted us to do their marketing and to engage churches.
SCH: Was this the first feature film produced by Samaritan’s Purse?
KT: Yes, although it is a seedling from Billy Graham, Worldwide Pictures.
SCH: From Fireproof to War Room to Hacksaw Ridge, how did your marketing services develop?
KT: We became more strategic in bringing the Gospel in movies to people who were not active in the faith, at reaching specific markets, and to drawing caring people.
SCH: Please tell us about your current movie project, Mully.
KT: The movie Mully, due in theaters in October, is about is about an amazing Kenyan man, Charles Mully. He is revered as a “Father to the Fatherless.” Mully is a Kenyan business tycoon turned founder of Mully Children’s Family, the largest children’s rescue, rehabilitation and development organization in Africa.
Charles Mully was a six-year-old boy in Kenya who was abandoned by his family and left to raise himself on the streets. Mully is much more than a rags-to-riches tale. It’s the true story of Charles Mully now 65, who has rescued 12,000 children and become their legal guardian. He is known by these children as Daddy Mully, who encourages his children to become what their tribes, which abandoned them, need and to go back prepared to meet those needs.
Charles Mully experienced an unlikely stratospheric rise to wealth and power, but it left him questioning his own existence and searching for meaning in life. Against the better judgment of family and community, he set out to enrich the fate of orphaned children across Kenya. Jeopardizing his own life, selling everything, and risking all, he set in motion an astonishing, miraculous series of events.
SCH: You are also working on some other wonderful movies. What are they?
KT: All Saints, due in theaters the end of August, is the story of a man that perceived God’s will was one thing and discovered that it was much more. This movie is based on the inspiring true story of salesman-turned-pastor Michael Spurlock (John Corbett) whose tiny church was ordered to shut down; but together with a group of refugees from Southeast Asia they risked everything to plant seeds for a future that might save them all.
I Can Only Imagine, due in theaters in 2018, is an Erwin Brothers movie based on the true story of Bart Millard, lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe, who lost his father to cancer but was inspired to write the mega-hit song, I Can Only Imagine.
SCH: Today, how does Catalyst Resource Group provides consulting and strategy services?
KT: Consulting is always meant to connect outside experience with an organization’s current challenges to create bridges to success. We build bridges to connect projects to the next most firm step.
From our team’s combined experience of six decades, we bring inspiration and excitement, which is tempered in realism to the table. In both huge success and head-scratching disappointments for movie releases, marketing outreaches, missions assignments, and sales training and strategies, we have learned, duly noted, and reassessed the success metrics to constantly make improvements for the future.
SCH: How do you approach production and funding for your clients?
KT: Concerning production and funding, Catalyst Resource Group provides influencers and leaders for specific visits to build early awareness and partnership opportunities. We provide a Christian leader “voice” for projects to avoid pitfalls and traps. We produce behind-the-scenes vignettes and interviews to be used in marketing to develop early fans of the film, exclusive media outlet video opportunities, and later, home entertainment marketing and DVD extras. We work to develop the presentation, to secure the investment and develop church engagement products with retail partners.
More than 40 years of combined marketing, media, church and missions experience has helped Kyle and his colleagues to develop their uniquely effective products and services. A lover of movies and a lover of Christ and His church, Kyle is known by many pastors as “The Movie Guy,” and he has become a sought-after consultant for movie development and marketing at all phases.
Thompson is the co-owner and Chief Executive Officer for Catalyst Resource Group; a group which serves to engage an audience of 200,000 church leaders and other non-profit groups with the products, services and programs of its clients. These clients have been in entertainment, non-profit, and tourism industries, including Sony Pictures, Compassion International, and Israel’s Ministry of Tourism.
Matthew 10:16 says “Therefore, be wise as serpents an innocent as doves.”
To learn more about this author, please visit Dr. Diane Howard