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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

"Miracle on Christmas" & Thoughts of "Forrest Gump"

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

Though the coronavirus scare has stopped virtually all of Hollywood in its tracks, our first feature film keeps chugging along.

Jason Burkey, Erin Bethea and yours truly between takes on the set of "Miracle on Christmas." Image: Horse is Ready Productions.

Like nearly every industry in America, the movie business is feeling the deleterious effects of this illness, both at the box office, which is now nearly non-existent because of nationwide theater closures, and on the front end as well, with the shooting of films (and television shows) at what would seem to be a complete standstill.

If timing is everything, like they say, then ours could not have been better. Miracle on Christmas, written and directed by yours truly, wrapped up production in Michigan on March 6th, right before the shutdowns really began to kick in. This film will have the look and feel of the Hallmark Channel's Christmas movies, but is a faith-based endeavor and we certainly are grateful to the Almighty that we finished shooting it when we did.

Gary Sinise and Tom Hanks in a scene from "Forrest Gump." Image: Paramount Pictures.

And while we are most definitely not gleeful about the plight of others, do not mean to minimize the seriousness of the overall situation with the coronavirus, or make flippant comparisons, we simply cannot help but think of a parallel between our own circumstances in relation to the industry's current status and the 1994 classic, Forrest Gump.

In a scene from that movie involving star Tom Hanks and Christian actor Gary Sinise, whose characters are struggling to make their new shrimping venture a success, Sinise's embittered Lieutenant Dan asks Gump something along the lines of, 'Where is this God of yours?' Immediately, the first winds of what is to prove a raging hurricane begin to blow, and Hanks' eponymous character answers the following in a voice-over.

"It's funny that Lieutenant Dan said that, because right then, God showed up."

The storm, which Forrest Gump viewed as a clear act of God, proceeded to wipe out all of the other local shrimping boats, leaving Gump, Lieutenant Dan and their surviving vessel to ply the waters alone and build a booming business in the absence of competition. While we certainly hope the movie industry bounces back more quickly than those foundered shrimping fleets did, and we don't pretend to predict for ourselves success similar to that enjoyed by the fictitious heroes of this tale, we simply cannot shake that scene from our minds.

In fairness, Miracle on Christmas, too, has experienced some coronavirus-related discombobulations, including the looming, forced closure of our office building. Thank God, though, our team is both experienced and resourceful and has come up with Plan B, so to speak, making sure that that measure won't scupper our post production efforts, which are currently in full swing, while also keeping safety a priority.

As to the virus, we continue to pray for its rapid passing and limited impact on people and businesses both in America and abroad. And we are also asking the Lord to use our film as a means to uplift moviegoers and inspire their hope in Him when we release it during this year's Yuletide season.


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