• Thomas Bonifield

Sight & Sound Theaters Jumps into the Movie Business

The Christian theatrical company will premiere its first feature film this Christmas.

A production crew shoots a scene for Sight & Sound Films' first feature, "I Heard the Bells."
A production crew shoots a scene for Sight & Sound Films' first feature, "I Heard the Bells." Image: Sight & Sound Films.

Nobody in the world of stage plays regularly puts on extravaganzas like Sight & Sound. Their productions typically focus on Biblical characters - Jesus, Moses, King David - and feature dozens of actors and live animals deployed on elaborate 300-foot, wrap-around stages at facilities in Lancaster, PA and Branson, MO.


Describing itself as a ministry meant to "present the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sow the Word of God into the lives of our customers, guests and fellow workers," the Pennsylvania-based outfit is clear in its mission. With 45-plus years in the entertainment industry, it has now reached a point where it plans to broaden its reach to the silver screen.


The logo for Sight & Sound Films.
The logo for Sight & Sound Films. Image: Sight & Sound Films.

The new venture is called Sight & Sound Films and it will go beyond the typical Biblical fare of the stage plays while holding fast to its Christian calling, telling "true stories about historical figures whose lives changed the world because Christ first changed them," as a statement on its website puts it.


The inaugural feature film, I Heard the Bells, will focus on the life of the great 19th century bard Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his touching poem, Christmas Bells. (It just so happens he is our favorite American poet and that composition, which you can read here, is our most beloved Christmas poem, so we at Christian Film Blog can't wait to see this picture.)


The movie, and those to follow, will draw on Sight & Sound theater's existing 600-person employee pool to staff both cast and crew, so the actors are not likely to be familiar faces. I Heard the Bells is co-written and directed by Sight & Sound CEO and Chief Story Officer - yes, they have such a job title there - Joshua Enck, who says in a promotional video that their films will be "epic in scope with life-changing messages" and "will have a theatrical style" that is "infused with spectacle meeting story."


He and his team shot this first picture on a 20-acre Sight & Sound-owned property next to their theater in Lancaster, PA, and it includes battles from the Civil War, family tragedy and the revival of Longfellow's faith, something that led to the aforementioned poem, which ends with the following stanza.


Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;

"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men."


I Heard the Bells is scheduled to release in theaters in December. In the meantime, you can check out the trailer below to get a feel for what to expect.