Homeschool graduate works to clean the silver screen
by Andrea Longbottom
Nineteen-year-old Carrie Stoelting enjoys a good movie, and she wants Hollywood to make more. At the age of 16, Carrie began a campaign to petition filmmakers to produce quality movies that uphold strong morals. She has spent the last three years publicizing the need for better movie content and encouraging others to join her effort.
Carrie Stoelting, founder of United for Movie Action
"Movies are a huge part of American entertainment," says Carrie. "Since the beginning of silent film production, people have considered movies to be recreational. For many years, going to the theater to see a movie was a family event." Today, however, immoral and obscene behavior and language are commonplace on screen. "Movies of poor [moral] content are giving a bad message to America's children and adults. . . . The public, especially young people, gains the impression that it [immoral behavior] is acceptable." Carrie also points out that many audiences in other countries base their idea of Americans on American films. "It is essential that Hollywood provide cleaner films to improve our nation's image," says Carrie.
Carrie began her campaign by writing letters to some of Hollywood's more conservative celebrities, asking for advice and assistance. She received encouraging replies from stars such as Charlton Heston, Joan Fontaine, and the late Janet Leigh. Carrie also contacted Home School Legal Defense Association, and attorney Scott Somerville responded to her request for advice. "That's when the action started to happen," Carrie says. Somerville contacted the Senate Judiciary Committee about forming a bill that would allow people to buy movies from which offensive content had been removed. Carrie's first big victory came in April 2005 when President George W. Bush signed the bill into law as part of the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act.
"But my mission is not over!" says Carrie. She wants to improve the movies shown in theaters. She encourages moviegoers to boycott offensive films, support quality family movies at the box office, and express their opinions to the Motion Picture Association of America. One of Carrie's "newer endeavors" is her website, United for Movie Action, which explains her mission and includes information about contacting filmmakers. Recently, Carrie was delighted to receive an endorsement by Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, Parents Television Council, and Conservative Communications Center. He says, "This is indeed an important undertaking, and I am excited that someone of your generation is picking up the torch to restore decency in American entertainment!"
Carrie, who lives in Northwest Iowa, has been homeschooled since 1st grade. She says her homeschool background enabled her to grow "both spiritually and academically," giving her a rich education and confidence to go after her dreams. Carrie says she has had "tremendous support" from her family in her campaign for improved movie content. Currently, Carrie is working on a degree in business through Liberty University's distance learning program, and she hopes to eventually obtain her doctorate in optometry. She spends much of her spare time helping her sister, Stacie (also a homeschool graduate), run Still Holding Hands, a ministry Stacie founded to encourage families coping with Alzheimer's disease. Carrie also enjoys singing and listening to bluegrass.
Carrie plans to press on with her movie mission, through college and afterwards. She would like to see the campaign expand to include speaking opportunities and travel. "I believe this campaign will grow," she says. "I'm waiting on the Lord."
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Visit Carrie's website at www.unitedformovieaction.com.