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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

"I Heard the Bells" Tells a True Story of "Rekindled Faith"

This Christmas biopic follows the life journey of the great American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Stephen Atherholt plays Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in a scene from "I Heard the Bells."
Stephen Atherholt plays Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in a scene from "I Heard the Bells." Image: Sight & Sound Films.

Just a few weeks to go until Sight & Sound Theatres debuts its first feature film, I Heard the Bells. The Pennsylvania-based company - well-known for extravagant, Bible-based stage productions - will continue with faith-based storytelling in this movie, which is set during the American Civil War and focuses on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's return to faith.

The picture's cast is made up of actors from the company's theater troupe, including Stephen Atherholt, who plays the part of the aforementioned poet. Having suffered a series of tragedies, Longfellow was led to write his famous work Christmas Bells (one of our all-time favorites, which you can read here) on the eve of the holiday, and it is that instance that forms the central plot of this picture.

Katie Miller, head of marketing and communications at Sight & Sound, tells Movieguide that the company is "excited about the opportunity to go beyond Bible stories" with its films, which will focus on "historical figures who changed the world because Christ first changed them," as in the case of Longfellow.

"It really is a story of his rekindled faith on Christmas Eve through a set of circumstances that inspires him to write the poem."

Though Sight & Sound Films will not produce stories from the Bible, the company intends to remain true to its Christ-centered calling, according to Miller, who says everything they do "is pointing back to the Gospel."

"So, whether we are telling Bible stories or telling other inspirational true stories, the purpose behind all of it is to inspire, and is to draw people closer in their walk with Christ."

I Heard the Bells is currently scheduled to play in an eight-day limited engagement - already extended from its original three-day run - starting on December 1st. You can purchase tickets to a theater in your area via this link to the website of distributor Fathom Events, and the trailer below will give you a feel for what to expect.


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