‘Blue Like Jazz’ wins Wilbur Award

Doug Cannon, President of the National Religion 
Communicators Council, presents the Wilbur Award's Feature
 Film award to Director Steve Taylor.
Photo by George Conklin


Last year’s controversial faith-based film, Blue Like Jazz, won the Wilbur Award for Feature Film at the 2013 Wilbur Awards ceremonies held April 6 in Indianapolis. It joins last year’s winner, “The Help” and previous Wilbur Award winners such as “Schindler’s List,”  “Dead Man Walking,” “ Amazing Grace” and “The Green Mile.”  Director and co-writer Steve Taylor was on hand to accept the honor for Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate Entertainment.

The Wilbur Awards are presented by the Religion Communicators Council and honors excellence by individuals in secular media (print and online journalism, book publishing, broadcasting, and motion pictures) in communicating religious issues, values and themes. Other winners at Saturday night’s ceremony included CBS-TV, CNN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, The Christian Science Monitor, The Huffington Post and Simon & Schuster Inc.
Based on the New York Times Best Seller by Donald Miller and adapted for the screen by Miller, Taylor and Ben Pearson, Blue Like Jazz has had its ups and downs over the past few years. According to IMDB, the movie was created with an estimated budget of $1,200,000. Much of that was raised online through Kickstarter. Over $345,000 was raised through the fundraising website and has been known as the second most successful fundraiser of Kickstarter in 2010. Unfortunately, despite its healthy financial help from fans, the film only recouped about half of what it cost to make the film during its initial run. Some Christian critics complained that the film was too edgy and not family-friendly enough. With this new award, the flick has received some much needed reassurance and hopefully will pick up a few more fans.

The Religion Communicators Council has presented Wilbur Awards annually since 1949 and is named for the late Marvin C. Wilbur, a pioneer in religious public relations, longtime RCC executive director and former Presbyterian Church executive.

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