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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

The Director of "Journey to Bethlehem" Says the Movie "Brings Joy and Light"

Updated: Nov 4, 2023

This musical telling of the Nativity Story hits the silver screen this Christmas season.

Joel Smallbone (left) and Antonio Banderas appear in a scene from "Journey to Bethlehem."
Joel Smallbone (left) and Antonio Banderas appear in a scene from "Journey to Bethlehem." Image: Affirm Films.

Best-known for the music in big, secular projects like Rock of Ages and Glee, Grammy-nominated song writer Adam Anders will let his Christian faith shine through in the musical Journey to Bethlehem, a faith-based production that tells the story of Jesus' miraculous birth.

The film stars Antonio Banderas as the evil King Herod and features plenty of song-and-dance numbers. It fittingly co-stars a couple of heavyweights from the Christian music industry: rapper Lecrae portrays the angel Gabriel and Joel Smallbone - of the musical duo For King & Country - plays Antipater, the son of Herod. Anders, who is making his directorial debut and also co-wrote the picture, tells The Christian Post he hopes that the musical component, which he worked on as well, will broaden the audience.

"I wanted to find a way to bring this story to people who maybe aren't Believers and do it in a way that's not watered down, but also it's digestible for everyone...I think music is a great way to do it."

Though the movie follows the Biblical narrative - Mary and Joseph, the trip to Bethlehem, the Wise Men, a manger, and so forth - it also takes some creative license with the aforementioned song-and-dance numbers thrown into the mix, for instance. Anders, however, was determined to strike the right balance and, to that end, bathed the project in prayer during production.

"I started every day of the shoot on my knees, praying that God would use this and use me to tell it the way He wanted it to be told."

The director added that while he loves that the production "brings joy and light," his ultimate hope is that its focus on the birth of Christ prompts everyone who sees it and marks Christmas to say to himself, "This is what we are celebrating."

Journey to Bethlehem releases in theaters on November 10th. In the meantime, the trailer below will give you a better sense for what to expect.

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