Parents are concerned about what their children watch. Whether it is a movie, video, or DVD, there seems to be a lack of family-friendly films and programming elements.
Enter Dick Rolfe, cofounder and CEO of the Dove Foundation. He first started the Dove List in 1990 which had parents review and assign their own ratings to films. Family-friendly is the name of the game.
“We wanted to find clean, pure wholesome entertainment. We started the Dove List and circulated it. Before we knew it an AP reporter got a copy of the list. The Wire service picked it up and our beginnings were written about in 165 newspapers nationwide. We had over 2,00 phone calls,” he explained.
And from there, the project exploded.
The list was such a hit that they decided to expand the idea and created the non-profit Dove Foundation dedicated to advocating for families and moving Hollywood in a more family-friendly direction. The Dove reviews, posted online at www.dove.org, are based on traditional Judeo-Christian values. There is a content chart and descriptions that gauge six criteria: Sex, Language, Violence, Drug and Alcohol use, Nudity and Other.
The Dove Seal is what the non-profit is probably best known for. Motion picture studios strive to be endorsed by the Foundation as it leads to bottom line improvements in video rentals and movie tickets.
The non-profit runs with three people on staff. Rolfe said that people are constantly asking them where their national corporate offices are. “We are right here in West Michigan–Wyoming to be exact. We have grown through a series of divine mistakes,” he laughingly said.
Dick said that they review about 40 films and DVD’s a month.
The Dove website is visited by parents like Vickie Vermeer. She logs on to www.dove.org for guidance when it comes to choosing which movies her kids can see. Ten times out of ten she says she’ll trust Dove’s scorecard review over one written by a film critic in the general media.
“When we read a review in our local paper or in the NY Times, the reviewers are coming from a different perspective,” says Vermeer. “They’re looking more at the quality or artistic value of the film. They have more tolerance for the violence or language or sexual content for the movie; whereas The Dove Foundation’s guidelines are more in line with our own family’s values and that makes us feel comfortable when choosing our entertainment.”
Plans for the future, according to Rolfe, are to have the general public become more aware of the Dove Seal and what it means.