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Why JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM Director Created Musical for ‘Entire Family’

Photo courtesy of EPIC

Why JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM Director Created Musical for ‘Entire Family’

By Movieguide® Contributor

JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM director Adam Anders opened up about why he decided to share the Christmas story as a musical. 

“I really wanted to make a movie for the entire family that was a celebration and colorful and vibrant and fun, because so many biblical movies are more somber, people don’t smile… I don’t want that,” he told Movieguide®. “I want it to be my story book Bible as a kid come to life, so kids will be engaged the whole time and lean in and want to watch this over and over again and see what Christmas is about.” 

Anders emphasized that, although there is a lot of comedy in the movie, he made a point to keep some moments reverent.

“The nativity scene when Jesus is born, we’re not joking around. It’s powerful, and it’s emotional,” he explained. “But I knew to have a family movie you have to have certain things and one of them is fun and comedy, so kids stay engaged.”

Anders revealed that his original vision for this project came 17 years ago.

“I was visiting my wife’s family in Iowa, and I couldn’t find exactly this,” he explained. “Nobody’s done this, and I’m like why, like we need to do this, and I’ve been a songwriter-producer at that time, and I sat down that Christmas and wrote an 11-page treatment with a bunch of song ideas and story ideas, character ideas, and that was the beginning of this journey for me.”

“This is a very very special project for me,” he continued. “I grew up in the ministry with my parents, this is our story, the most important story of our faith.  My faith has sustained me my whole life and my whole career in Hollywood, so it’s just very very special.” 

In a separate interview with Christian Post, Anders shared how he experienced spiritual opposition while creating this film.

“I think that’s just the way it is when you take on a story like this, and you’re trying to get something into the dark world, some light and hope and joy and the love of Christ,” he said. “You’re going to have opposition; you’ve just got to expect it. I have a target on my back. We felt more spiritual attacks on our family this year than I think we’ve ever experienced. It’s been crazy. But we’re here. God is good. Got us through, and we’re excited to see what He is going to do with this movie.” 

JOURNEY TO BETHELEM is now playing in theaters for this holiday season.

Check out Movieguide®’s exclusive interview with Anders below:

Part of Movieguide®’s review reads: 

JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM is a heartfelt musical about the Nativity Story, the Birth of Jesus Christ. Taken mostly from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the movie starts by introducing Mary and Joseph, the three wise men, and King Herod and his eldest son. Joseph sticks by Mary when he has a dream where the Angel Gabriel confirms Mary’s story about Mary carrying the Son of God. Meanwhile, after the three wise men visit the palace, King Herod sends his eldest son to find the mother of the Christ child and kill them.

JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM is a great musical with lots of jeopardy and some funny comic relief to lighten the mood. The songs are really good, and so are the performances. Although this is a musical version of the Nativity Story, the filmmakers treat the birth of Jesus with the proper reverence it deserves. The script and song lyrics refer to Jesus as Lord, the Son of God, the Messiah, King of all kings, Immanuel, and “God with us.” JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM is one of the most enjoyable, uplifting movies of 2023.

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