Suzette Schafer has joined as Image’s svp of specialty product and will manage the line-up. Slingshot will premiere in November with the release of period romance Alleged.

“With a current estimate of $4.5bn annually, the faith-based market continues to grow and, at present, is underserved,” Image Entertainment chief acquisitions officer Bill Bromiley said.

“With the addition of Suzette and her vast knowledge of this market, we have identified several films that we feel are perfect for audiences and will continue to add more films to the label’s library.” 

Alleged is set against the background of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial” pitting Creationists and against evolutionists. Brian Dennehy, Nathan West, Ashley Johnson and Fred Dalton Thompson are among the cast. The initial line-up includes family dramas Decision and The Heart Of Christmas.

“I’m excited to be launching this new label for Image Entertainment,” Schafer said. “It is our goal to acquire films that have strong family values, messages of hope and are life affirming as well as spiritually enriching. Slingshot Pictures will bring these films to audiences through standard distribution channels as well as explore new innovative outlets to broaden accessibility and bring inspirational content to consumers worldwide.”

Schafer most recently served as head of faith and family division at Genius products where she built strategic, point-of-sale relationships with Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, Blockbuster and many others. Prior to that she was svp of sales at GT Media, a subsidiary of lifestyle media company Gaiam.

She has held posts at Sony Pictures, Hit Entertainment, USA Films/Polygram, Turner and Orion.