Glory to Jesus! I apologize for such a long time between updates. It's hard to explain but we are doing all we can to conserve your donated dollars and only spend what is absolutely necessary on admin. That means a skeleton staff and all of us doing the jobs of many people. So normally a film production - especially one of this magnitude - would have its own full-time social media/web people. But that costs a lot of money, and we want to dedicate your every donated dollar directly to actual production. And that means me, as producer etc., on top of all my producer etc. duties, meetings, blah blah blah... doing all these updates myself (usually late at night after my family is all tucked in, shhhhh!). So all that to say, I hope you cut me some slack, haha! Glory to Jesus!
But if you follow us on Facebook you'll know that the wheels have been turning on the fundamental aspects of putting a production like this together. I've brought on an Israeli production designer to assess the feasibility of shooting in Israel (It may surprise you to know Bible films are rarely if ever done in Israel because of cost/logistics factors). He's identified a number of excellent locations and his thinking is we can shoot 60% of the film live on location and the rest will have to be done on a green screen stage - which is how big films are done these days.
Now pretty much everyone who is "in the know" is telling us Israel just isn't do-able. Pretty much every Bible film you see was filmed in Morocco, Tunisia, southern Italy, maybe some scenes in Malta; but 99% Morocco. In fact the film I did in the 90's, "The Gospel of Matthew," was filmed in Morocco. But all recommendations aside, in my prayer life I have long felt the Lord would have us shoot "in the land." So I've been pursuing that. So as it stands we will shoot as much as we can live on location in Israel. Then where that isn't do-able, we will use authentic photography of Israeli locations for what we call "background plates." Using those plates as a foundation we build the details digitally around the actors who perform the action on a "green screen stage."
And that takes us to the next step of the "choices, choices, choices" process. It may surprise you but the top green screen stages, given the much lower cost than US, are in eastern Europe. The sequel to "300" was shot entirely on a green screen stage in Bulgaria. They're filming the remake of "Godzilla" on a stage in Budapest. If you saw "World War Z," all those remarkable effects were done by a European company called Cineste. You can google Cineste and on their website you'll see videos of how the did it. You'll be shocked to realize how little of what we see on the screen these days is actually real, yikes!
But as I hinted above, transcending all these practical choices and considerations... is the will of God. It was twenty years ago that the director of "Matthew" said something to me that I hold as a paramount edict: "You can't make a movie about God without God." Many have tried and good films have been made. But it's like real life - there's what man can do that is great - and then there's what God alone can do which is mind-blowing, anointed, and changes lives for all eternity. This is why we are making this film Word-for-Word God's Word only (John's Gospel) - because it is God's Word that changes lives, not works of man.
For "My ways are not your ways, nor are My thoughts your thoughts..." For "stand back and watch and be utterly amazed for I will do a thing in your days that you will not believe even if you were told..." Yes, there is what man does, which may be really great and impressive and garner a lot of attention and accolades... and then there is what God alone does, which no one, even the greatest everything in the world, couldn't come close to in a million-billion tries.
So all choices and decisions and practical considerations aside, this has got to be our target and our way - to simply do as the Lord leads no matter how much it doesn't make human sense or satisfy human thinking. I can promise you it isn't easy - especially when people are looking at you like, "Why on earth do you want to film in Israel?" And when you tell them, "I just feel strongly it's what the Lord wants us to do," oh, to see them roll their eyes! And all I can say is, may God give all of us who are in the decision-making seats the grace to simply seek Him and then simply do as He asks. And "oh Lord, please ask!" For therein is the only way we will know which way to go!
May God go before us! May our every choice be made in obedience! And may this film be all that HE desires it to be! Glory to the name of Jesus!