98-Year-Old Producer of "The Girl Who Believes in Miracles" Believes in Them Too
Updated: Apr 16
Larry Jaffe is a first-time filmmaker, which at his age he calls a "miracle in itself."
Heading into its third weekend on the big screen, The Girl Who Believes in Miracles has generated revenue of $1.4 million: a good number considering it's facing coronavirus-related seating restrictions in its 900-plus theaters. Its performance is not a surprise, though, because this faith-based film has a strong cast, including Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino, Emmy-winner Peter Coyote, Christian actor Kevin Sorbo and child actor Austyn Johnson.
As good as they are, however, the most compelling member of the film's team is producer Larry Jaffe, a 98-year-old World War II veteran and former marketing professional. This is his inaugural foray into moviemaking and we have covered his story here and here, and recommend that you check those articles out. But in this one we want to focus on what specifically brought the Florida resident to the project, a fact he calls "a miracle in itself" at this stage in life.
In an interview with Christian Film Blog, Jaffe says it started several years ago when he became interested in helping turn a different script written by a business associate into a movie. That didn't work out, but through another acquaintance they were introduced to George Michael Mercier, who wrote the original screenplay for The Girl Who Believes in Miracles, as we reported here.
Jaffe really liked the story, which focuses on a young girl whose prayers lead to miraculous healings in her small town. Determined to help make the picture, he was able to secure the financing for the project. And though this is a Christian movie and Jaffe himself is Jewish, he says he "connects very well" with Christians because of the commonality between the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible and the fact that "Jesus was a Jew." He also felt drawn to the project because he is "a believer in miracles" thanks to personal experience: a miracle saved his life.
It happened in 1945 after the death of President Franklin Roosevelt. Jaffe was serving as a Marine and was among those assigned to accompany the president's body aboard a train from Washington, DC to its final resting place in Upstate New York. The journey was wearying and during a short stop outside Albany, NY, Jaffe inadvertently got off on the wrong side of the train.
"I was walking up on the tracks when something came, lifted me up, put me on the platform. And seconds later the express train came onto that track that I was walking on."
Jaffe suspects it may have been an angel that moved him out of the way of that train, saving him from certain death, though he isn't exactly sure. But the incident confirmed by fact what he had already believed by faith: God can and does work miracles, which is the thrust of the movie's message.
Jaffe enjoyed this project so much that he, Mercier and two more partners formed a filmmaking company - Trailmaker Productions - and plan to produce other films. It's a process that he has found invigorating.
"I tell my friends, all of whom are in their 90s, that when we speak they talk about the wonderful things they've done in their lives; they're looking backward. This movie has me looking forward."
Christian Film Blog is also looking forward to the next steps in Jaffe's filmmaking journey and we will keep you up to date on his progress. In the meantime, we suggest you go see The Girl Who Believes in Miracles at a theater near you.