“Fireproof” is an independent Christian-based film by Alex and Stephen Kendricks. The movie was filmed in 2007 for $500,000. It earned a staggering $33 million, making it the top-earning independent film in 2008. “Fireproof” was preceded by an earlier 2006 release titled “Facing the Giants” made for $100,000. The Kendricks brothers are able to make low budget films because they are shot almost exclusively in their hometown of Albany, Georgia. Christianity Today described "Fireproof" in the following way, “It was written by novice screenwriters, cast nearly entirely with amateurs, staffed largely by volunteers, and shot almost all on location.”
Albany is the Kendricks’ hometown and their church the Sherwood Baptist Church. Hometown enthusiasm and support for the films is essential to filming a movie on a shoestring budget. The cast and crew for the film consisted of over 1,200 volunteers from the Albany area. The congregation of the Sherwood Baptist Church is 3,000, and many of the congregation volunteered to help with the movie. Volunteers included everyone from the actors, stage and set crews, to the caterers. Eight professional film technicians were hired to shoot the movie. The professionals agreed to work for less than scale reducing the overall costs of the movies. “Fireproof” was filmed at 16 locations around the Albany area.
Albany Fire Station
The primary character in “Fireproof” is a firefighter named Captain Caleb Holt, played by Kirk Cameron. Captain Holt is the fire chief in the town. The Albany Fire Department allowed the filmmakers to film at the Albany Fire Station free of charge. They also made a couple of fire trucks available for the movie. The fire station crew also provided technical support and expertise as well.
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital
The second central character in the movie is Captain Holt’s wife Catherine, played by Erin Bethea. The story focuses on their marriage. Erin wants a divorce, and Captain Holt is ready to give up on the marriage. His father intercedes by giving him a book to read titled “Dare to Love.” Catherine is a nurse at the local hospital. The Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany donated a wing of the hospital as well as the cafeteria to the film.
Local Albany Homes
Since the central character in “Fireproof” is a firefighter it makes sense that the movie features a couple of dramatic fire scenes. Two local Albany homes were donated to the film. The homes were condemned and scheduled for demolition, but their donation helped keep down the overall budget for the film. A typical Hollywood production that includes similar fire scenes has to build a set or purchase homes to set afire.
- Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images