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Industrious Family Films: Two Sisters Making Wholesome Films

Industrious Family Films: Two Sisters Making Wholesome Films

Mary and Faustina Bowen, the founders of Industrious Family Films, a family-run filmmaking company dedicated to making clean family films. (Courtesy of the Bowen family)

Tiffany Brannan

Tiffany Brannan

1/11/2024

Updated: 1/16/2024

Commentary
It’s so easy to look around and bemoan the general state of young people today. This might seem like a strange point coming from a 22-year-old, but I frequently lament the lack of moral fiber I see in my peers. Nevertheless, it’s wrong to make sweeping generalizations about any group, for there are always exceptions to the rule.
Two young women who are trying to make a difference in the world are a pair of sisters who decided to start their own film company. Mary and Faustina Bowen are the founders of Industrious Family Films, a family-run filmmaking company dedicated to making clean family films. Growing up, their family didn’t watch many movies, because very few met their standards for wholesome entertainment. They knew there must be many other people who were similarly dissatisfied with entertainment options.
They describe their company as follows: “Industrious Family Films tells good stories through cinema that are always entertaining and never preachy—reclaiming the art of filmmaking one wholesome movie at a time.” I recently interviewed the Bowen sisters over Zoom, and their story is an inspiring example of a family working together on a worthwhile project to serve others and glorify God.

About the Bowens

At ages 23 and 21, Mary and Faustina are the oldest of ten children. All ten Bowen children were homeschooled and raised in the Catholic faith. Both their education and their faith prepared them for starting their own film company. When the children were younger, the family lived in Northern California for a few years, but now they live in Idaho. They bought ten acres of land and built a traditional Mongolian yurt, where all twelve of them live now. Having been homeschooled, they were encouraged to “be imaginative and play with things” in a way that most children who go to public school are not.
(Courtesy of the Bowen family)

(Courtesy of the Bowen family)

They described their inspiration for moviemaking as follows: “We were inspired to make movies about ten years ago, when we watched a film called ‘The War of the Vendee,’ which was made by a homeschool dad, using the homeschool group. He gathered between 150 and 200 kids and filmed the movie. It was actually very professionally done for the budget that they had and the experience that they all had. So when we watched that, we kind of felt like, ‘Well, we could do that, too.’ It just takes time and a little bit of talent, but it’s doable.”
The homeschool dad they were referencing is Jim Morlino, and the 2012 independent film has its own IMDb page. When the Bowens lived in California, Mr. Morlino was a mentor who encouraged and advised them during their own early film projects.
The sisters credit their creativity and ingenuity to the fact that their parents encouraged them “to be interesting” and explore. When Mary was twelve, their parents bought them a film camera. They loved the gift and learned a lot through using it, experimenting and playing with it until they ruined it. Their parents always praised anything their daughters made and encouraged them to put it out to the public, even if it wasn’t high quality. They recalled, “If we wanted to do something, they found a way that we could try to do it. And then whatever we came up with was very appreciated for what we were able to do.”

Behind Industrious Family

When the sisters were starting their first website in 2014, then ages 14 and 12, they were trying to think of a title. As a starting point, their mother asked, “What’s your favorite virtue?” Mary and Faustina responded, “Industriousness,” so they chose Industrious Family as their website’s name.
The Bowens are indeed an industrious family, and the whole family works together on the productions. The mother and father are the producers, overseeing all the finances of their projects. When the sisters have a new idea, they make a project proposal and pitch it to their parents. Mary is the director. Faustina is the main script supervisor and the leading lady in their films. One of their brothers handles the art department, overseeing sets, costumes, and equipment. Another brother is learning lighting. In addition, all the children and their parents act in the movies.
(Courtesy of the Bowen family)

(Courtesy of the Bowen family)

Mary and Faustina Bowen made their first full-length film at the ages of 16 and 14. It was called “Outlaws of Raven Hurst,” and it was based on the novel of the same name, which was written by a Franciscan nun in 1923. They made that film with their homeschool group in California; 50 people acted in it. The original script they wrote was so close to the book that it was three hours long. Their mentor, Jim Morlino, advised them that it was too long. Taking his advice, they cut it down, but the story remained close to the book. Their next film was an original script based on a historical event instead of an existing book, so they had the challenge of writing all the dialogue from scratch. Since starting their company in 2017, they’ve “learned a lot more about storyboarding and learning how to tell stories better through films.” In all, they’ve made two full-length films and two short films.
Regarding their interest in moviemaking, the sisters credited that fact that they were guarded against movies with bad language, immodesty, or other sinful elements. “As movie makers, we didn’t watch movies or have a TV. We spent time making movies instead.” They were allowed to watch a very limited number of movies, and they knew that there must be many other children who were being raised with the same conscientious entertainment guidelines. They explain, “We wanted to make entertainment that they could enjoy without needing something like VidAngel, fast-forwarding, or recording it and skipping certain parts, so that you have it available without the things that violate the Hays Code.”
Most of the movies the Bowen family watched were from the Golden Era of Hollywood, when the Motion Picture Production Code, commonly called the Code, ensured that all movies followed traditional Christian and American values of decency.
(Courtesy of the Bowen family)

(Courtesy of the Bowen family)

Coming Soon: ‘Fabiola’

Industrious Family Films’ fifth movie, “Fabiola,” is currently in pre-production. It’s about the persecution of early Roman Christian martyrs, following the life of a wealthy pagan lady who is unknowingly influenced by the Christians in her life and eventually turns to the faith herself. It was originally going to be a miniseries, but once they wrote the script, they realized that it would be better as an epic film. They plan to make a pilot and pitch it to Angel Studios. If a film idea submitted to the guild is accepted, the filmmakers can ask for up to $5 million to make the film. That would be a huge break for Industrious Family, but even if it doesn’t come through, they will make the film on their own, as they’ve made their four previous films. They’ve already raised half the funding to make the pilot.
The Bowen sisters plan to spend years making “Fabiola,” but they have other ideas for wholesome films in the works, most of which are inspired by their favorite books. They hope that their movies will inspire other people who are interested in filmmaking to realize they can make their own movies, too. Most of all, they hope to inspire people to work together to use their unique talents.
They explain, “Neither of us went to college. I feel like there are different types of talent in different places; if it could all just come together, it could really be something great. Way down the road, I would really like to see collaborating with lots of people like us and just bringing what we are good at to the project, with somebody else bringing what they’re good at to the project. We sometimes have, for instance, good shots or good audio, but not some other things. And then we'll watch other people’s homemade movies, and we see that they have what we’re missing.”
They are excited to provide opportunities to act and work behind the scenes on movies to people who love filmmaking but want to avoid the corruption of Hollywood. If they receive funding for “Fabiola,” they plan to hire people from all over the country and fly them to Idaho for filming.
Since starting Industrious Family Films, the Bowen sisters have filmed, edited, pressed, and released four movies, developed content for industriousfamily.com, and have been devoted to promoting wholesome entertainment by publishing a children’s book and designing a #Catholicheroes line of merchandise. In May 2023, they hosted their first film festival, which featured ten low-budget, wholesome films by independent filmmakers, as well as workshops and a gala dinner. They are currently planning their second film festival, which is scheduled for April 2024.
Since starting their company, the Bowens have enjoyed meeting other filmmakers with similar goals, learning from each other’s strengths and inspiring each other’s projects.
(Courtesy of the Bowen family)

(Courtesy of the Bowen family)

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Tiffany Brannan

Tiffany Brannan

Author

Tiffany Brannan is a 22-year-old opera singer, Hollywood historian, vintage fashion enthusiast, and conspiracy film critic, advocating purity, beauty, and tradition on Instagram as @pure_cinema_diva. Her classic film journey started in 2016 when she and her sister started the Pure Entertainment Preservation Society to reform the arts by reinstating the Motion Picture Production Code. She launched Cinballera Entertainment last summer to produce original performances which combine opera, ballet, and old films in historic SoCal venues.

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