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JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM Filmmaker: ‘Nobody was Crazy Enough to Try It’

Photo from jtbmovie’s Instagram

JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM Filmmaker: ‘Nobody was Crazy Enough to Try It’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Filmmaker Adam Anders recently sat down with Movieguide®’s Evy Carroll to discuss how he got the idea to turn one of the greatest biblical events into a musical for all ages to enjoy.

“Nobody was crazy enough to try it, then I came along,” Anders said with a laugh.

Seventeen years ago, he “had this vision first when I was visiting my wife’s family in Iowa. I couldn’t find exactly this. You said nobody’s done this, and I’m like, ‘Why? We need to do this.'”

“I’ve been a songwriter and producer at that time,” he continued. “I sat down that Christmas and wrote an 11-page treatment with a bunch of song ideas and story ideas and character ideas, and that was the beginning of this journey for me.”

Seventeen years later, the movie hit the big screen. It’s now been nominated for several Movieguide® Awards, including the Epiphany Prize® Movies, the Best Movies For Families and the Grace Prize® for Movie Performance.

A synopsis of the film reads:

A young woman carrying an unimaginable responsibility. A young man torn between love and honor. A jealous king who will stop at nothing to keep his crown. This live-action Christmas musical adventure for the entire family weaves classic Christmas melodies with humor, faith, and new pop songs in a retelling of the greatest story ever told—the story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus. A unique new entry into the collection of holiday classic movies, this epic Christmas musical is unlike any before it.

Part of Movieguide®’s review says:

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.

Anders said he had one goal for the production: “to make a movie for the entire family.”

He wanted it to be like the “storybook Bible” he had as a kid come to life, something “that was a celebration and colorful and vibrant and fun because so many Biblical movies are more somber. People don’t smile, and there’s no color.

The musical was a hit with viewers. Many fans gave the film five stars and said, “JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM is an excellent adaptation with enjoyable songs that stays true to the spirit of the story despite taking a few liberties along the way.”

JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM received a 74% rating, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

Check out Movieguide®’s full interview with Anders here:


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