After the FCC mandate was scrapped amid the deregulation of the broadcast industry in the 1980s, Paulist Productions focused on feature films and documentaries. Some, like “Romero,” the story of the assassination of the archbishop of San Salvador, and “The Lost Valentine,” a romantic drama, were successful; others less so.
“They are in flat-out competition with every other production company in town,” said Jim McGinn, a veteran television writer and a longtime member of the Paulist board. “They are trying to do good things, (but) it is a lot tougher road than it was when Father Kieser was doing it.”
Still, Andrews is confident there is a market for Paulist projects. And the company’s $8 million endowment means he doesn’t have to fret about day-to-day expenses. He, too, mines talent in the pews of St. Paul, where he lives and celebrates Mass regularly.
It’s not unusual for the professional to turn personal with Andrews at the conference table, Sprows said.
“I have found that executives and agents and managers and writers are much more open,” Sprows said. “They will talk about personal things that are happening in their lives because Eric is a priest.”
Andrews said he doesn’t find his dual responsibilities as priest and producer to be at odds. He provides impromptu counseling when the occasion calls for it, but remains focused on forging deals and executing projects.
“We are trying to tell stories that transcend,” he said. “They are commercial, but they also have depth and soul to them.”
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