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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

Entering the Arena

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

Heady days for Christian Film Blog as we shoot our inaugural feature film.

Jason Burkey and Erin Bethea in a scene from "Miracle on Christmas." Image: Horse is Ready Productions.

We journalists are, ideally, to be observers, tracking events and developments in our chosen area, then adding background and context, synthesizing it through the prism of the expertise we bring to bear before ultimately serving up our reportage in a cogent package to broaden and deepen the understanding of our readers or viewers. From the moment we launched this website a year and a half ago, that has been our aim here at Christian Film Blog.

While our intention is to continue to cover the faith-based film industry in this forum, we are now embarking on a new track as well, one that necessitates lighting from the relative security of our observer's perch and entering the fray as active participants. In that connection, a famous Theodore Roosevelt speech, popularly known as The Man in the Arena, has been much on our minds of late, its timeless truths as relevant for us today - particularly in the context of this new enterprise - as they were to their hearers at the Sorbonne in Paris where the former president first laid them out in 1910.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again...and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

And so, we are pleased to report that we are nearing completion of filming our first picture, Miracle on Christmas. A faith-based tale, it focuses on a Christian woman who is struggling with her faith until an unexpected Yuletide visit changes everything. The action plays out against the backdrop of her extended family's annual holiday gathering, and though the movie covers some heavy subject matter, it is leavened with humor and delivers what we believe will prove an uplifting message of hope rooted in faith and the binding ties of loving kindred relationships.

Written and directed by your humble servant, we are joined in our undertaking by a deeply experienced and talented crew led by producers Kevan Otto and Danny Roth, who have put together a top-notch cast, including principal actors Erin Bethea (Fireproof), Jason Burkey (October Baby), Brett Varvel and Micah Lynn Hanson, all of whom are best known for their roles in faith-based fare and whose talents, as you will see when this picture is released, are considerable and worthy of much wider recognition; may the Lord grant that we help them toward that end through this effort.

Though we have yet to wrap production, things are going swimmingly thus far and we are grateful to Him for His answers to all the prayers over the years that have brought us to this point. Going forward, Christian Film Blog will regularly report on developments connected to the movie, striving, as always, for objectivity - which admittedly may prove slightly trickier in this particular instance than has heretofore been the case on these pages - while also endeavoring to bring a uniquely insider perspective to our coverage.

A final note: we are producing Miracle on Christmas through Horse is Ready Productions, our filmmaking company, and doing so in conjunction with Graham Family Films and Atonement Pictures, the faith-based arm of Green Apple Entertainment, which will handle distribution, aiming for release during this year's Christmas season.


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