Reel Corner - May 2024

Discovering Angel Studios

May 2024 Issue
Reel Corner by Donne Paine

Discovering Angel Studios

Angel Studios was originally founded as VidAngel, which had the mission to show any movie to children without worrying about explicit material. VidAngel provided a filtering service that allowed viewers to skip or mute scenes they did not want to watch from streamed movies and television shows, by allowing them to set customized filters on graphic violence, nudity, and profanity. In 2021 VidAngel sold the filtering device and developed a new business model in Angel Studios.

Angel Studios is named after the “angel investors” who participate in the new model that uses equity crowdfunding to finance original productions. These productions are distributed via the Angel Studios streaming platform for free. The company relies on a pay-what-you-want revenue model, coined “Pay It Forward”, in which viewers can optionally pay for the content if they choose to support it.

The Reel Corner first encountered this “Pay it Forward” model at the end of the film Sound of Freedom. The audience was encouraged to “pay it forward” by purchasing tickets to the movie for friends.

The studio has become known for its Christian-themed films. Notable titles Angel Studios has produced include Sound of Freedom, Cabrini,  The Chosen, and the upcoming film Sight.

Starring: Cristiana Dell’Anna, John Lithgow, David Morse, Giancarlo Giannini
Directed By: Alejandro Monteverde

This film depicts the life of Catholic Missionary Francesca Cabrini, as she encounters resistance to her charity and business efforts in New York City. Cabrini explores the sexism and anti-Italian bigotry in New York City in the late 19th century. This is a story of courage, determination, and a never-quit attitude.

Cabrini, a nun with lung disease, visits the Vatican after multiple attempts to found her own missionary order. A cardinal rejects her proposal, but she insists on seeing Pope Leo XII. She tells the Pope she wants to help the poor and build an orphanage in China, and that the world is not large enough for what she wants to do. He notes that no woman has been allowed to establish such an order, but allows her to do so, albeit recommending she should go to New York instead.

Cabrini migrates from Italy to New York with her fellow Sisters to take care of poor Italian immigrants and immigrant orphans. What she finds is deplorable living conditions, a medical community that turns away immigrants, and an ineffective priest in the Five Points area

No matter what obstacles are presented, Cabrini finds ways to move forward. Despite her lung condition, Cabrini endures to the age of 67 and becomes hugely celebrated. Later, she is canonized, making her the first American saint (the patron saint of immigrants), with her order spread over all the world, including China.

This is a well-made film with an excellent cast.

Starring: Greg Kinnear, Fionnula Flanagan, Terry Chen
Directed By: Andrew Hyatt

Sight will be released later this month. Based on a true story, this film tells the story of Dr. Ming Wang, a poor Chinese immigrant, who defies all odds to become a world-renowned eye surgeon in the United States. Set in 1970s rural China, a young Ming faces persecution and despair at every turn. However, with support of his dedicated family and his own unwavering determination, he finds his way to America, attends Harvard and MIT, and helps develop an innovative technology that restores sight in millions.


ReelCorner 1219 DonneDonne Paine, film enthusiast, once lived around the corner from the Orson Wells Theater in Cambridge, Massachu-setts, where her strong interest in films, especially independent ones, began. Supporter of the arts, especially films, she has traveled to local and national film festivals including Sundance, Toronto and Tribeca. There is nothing like seeing a film on the big screen. She encourages film goers to support Hilton Head local theaters, Park Plaza Theater and Northridge. To support her habit of frequent movie going, Donne is a vaccine medicine nurse consultant and also the author of 4 Interview Pillars available on Amazon. See you at the movies!

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