New Video Released For Church’s ‘Light The World’ Initiative
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Light the World initiative from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has another phase.
New this year is an 18-minute film about the birth of the Christ Child that Church leaders will debut Sunday.
Called “The Christ Child,” the new film from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aims to take those who see it back in time.
Jeff Taylor, executive creative director of BonCom, said this is history.
“These are real events that happened to real people,” he said. “You’re not just a viewer of a movie; you feel like you’re a participant. You feel like you’re there.”
This production takes time to explore the relationship between the young couple, Joseph and Mary. And without giving anything away, the inn in Bethlehem is not the traditional place portrayed in many films. You will not actually see angels, even though the shepherds do. And the wise men do visit the Christ Child — but not at his birth.
The location was a Church movie set in Goshen, Utah. Tom Pratt, the mass media manager of the Church’s missionary department, described it as lively.
“Three camels, a herd of sheep, two donkeys, toddlers and babies,” he said. “What could go wrong?”
The cast — professional actors from Los Angeles — are people of many faiths who learned Aramaic.
Jake Sidney Cohen portrays Joseph in the film while Brooklyn McDaris plays Mary.
“I’m lucky enough to have a mother from Israel who spoke fluent Hebrew and spoke it in the house,” he said. “So I speak fluent Hebrew. And there is a lot of overlap between Hebrew and Aramaic because Aramaic borrows from Hebrew and Arabic and some Greek, so incorporating that dialogue and that text in Aramaic was fairly easy for me.”
Mary and Joseph, though typical young people of their time, are remarkable personalities, according to the actors.
“To me, she was incredibly strong to just accept what God was telling her was going to happen,” McDaris said. “That takes great bravery and strength. I really tried to tap into who she would have been.”
Historians assisted the production team on set and presented new ideas about roles in that society.
Take, for example, the shepherds. Taylor recalled one conversation.
“One of the scholars pointed out that shepherding was largely a family affair,” he said. “And as we were talking about them, he said, ‘Boys and girls were involved in this,’ and we said, ‘wait, there could be a girl shepherd?’”
Emma Morgan, post-production supervisor at BonCom, said the score became key to creating the right mood.
“We have more dramatic scenes, the angels appearing to the shepherds, then we have those quieter scenes with baby Jesus and Joseph and Mary,” she said. “…The music invokes these incredible emotions of peace and joy.”
The production team said the film is a gift. They asked if you and your family like it to please pass it on to extended family, friends and neighbors.
People of all faiths, I think, can relate to this story,” Pratt said. “We hope they share it amongst themselves.”
Taylor wants those who see the film to once again imagine being present for these events.
“I hope people just feel what Mary and Joseph felt: an abundance of love, an abundance of joy, and an abundance of hope,” he said.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will release the film Nov. 24 on its website, ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
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