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‘Journey to Bethlehem’ Filmmakers Discuss Approach and Spiritual Opposition while Shooting

The team behind the Nativity musical “Journey to Bethlehem” has opened up about the spiritual challenges they faced in bringing the story of Jesus’ birth to life. 

Grammy-nominated director Adam Anders, at the red carpet premiere of the film, shared that he experienced spiritual opposition every day during filming, similar to what he encountered when creating the musical “The Passion” in 2016. 

Anders acknowledged that telling such a powerful story would naturally attract opposition, but he remained steadfast in his faith and his commitment to bringing light, hope, and the love of Christ to a dark world. He candidly shared that his family had faced a higher level of spiritual attacks during the production of “Journey to Bethlehem,” but they trusted in God’s guidance and were excited to see what He would do with the movie. 

The process of making “Journey to Bethlehem” spanned 17 years for Anders, from conception to final cut. It necessitated significant sacrifices, including being away from his family for six months. However, he found that these challenges strengthened his faith and deepened his reliance on God each day. 

Scheduled to hit theaters on November 10th, the Sony-AFFIRM film features an impressive cast, including Antonio Banderas as King Herod, Fiona Palomo as Mary, Milo Manheim as Joseph, Lecrae as Gabriel, and Joel and Moriah Smallbone. Described as a “live-action Christmas musical,” the film combines classic Christmas melodies with new pop songs, showcasing elaborate costumes and dance numbers. 

Anders, along with Peter Barsocchini and his wife Nikki Anders, co-wrote the script and composed the music for the film. Producer Alan Powell, known for his work on the hit musical “A Week Away,” emphasized that the music in “Journey to Bethlehem” was carefully crafted to enhance the story without compromising its scriptural essence. 

The team acknowledged the need to expand on certain aspects of the biblical narrative while staying true to the overall truth and reverence of the story. Anders made it clear that while the film is inspired by a true story, it is not a documentary. 

The filmmakers explicitly state this within the movie itself. He approached the creative process in a prayerful manner, seeking divine guidance on when to remain faithful to Scripture and when to exercise creative liberties. The production team acknowledged that faith-based musicals often employ music to communicate profound truths that words cannot capture fully. They aimed to create an emotionally rich experience for the audience, allowing the music to touch hearts and convey meaningful messages. 

Despite the spiritual opposition faced while working on faith-based projects, Anders expressed his determination to continue telling stories of this nature. He humorously mentioned needing a break and joked about making a soccer movie or a film that nobody cares about. However, he acknowledged that there are countless more stories he wants to share, and he plans to push forward with his passion for faith-based filmmaking. 

Watch Movie Trailer Here

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