The Chosen Begins the Next Chapter
Telling stories is one of the oldest traditions known to man, if it is not itself the basis of tradition. How one tells a story has changed over the millennia from drawing to sculpting, oration to writing, music to dance, and theater to film. And, notwithstanding censorship, communication barriers have lessened. There is more paper, movable type, distribution channels crossing the oceans, audio recording, radio, cinema, TV, PCs, laptops, YouTube, iPhones and smartwatches. From the miracles of the written word to handheld movies by anyone that can be seen by anyone in an instant.
How does one get a story heard in all of that? And if you wanted to tell a story that was so old that most would assume they knew it already—who would listen?
Dallas Jenkins can tell you all about it. Jenkins is the creator of the series The Chosen, an online series that is now entering its third season which depicts the story of Jesus Christ from unique angles. The episodes are given from the viewpoint of those who were touched by Him. It is the first multi-season series to tell the story and had $40 million of crowdfunding by 2021, making it the most successful crowdfunding project of any media project to date.
While it’s not a Hollywood blockbuster, it still pushes to be classified as an epic. In the retelling of the feeding of 5,000, they made a call for extras and got an estimated 12,000 people from 36 countries to the shoot—nearly as many as the extras used for The Ten Commandments.
The filming has made use of existing sets built to represent the towns in the story. A studio in Texas that had previously constructed a Capernaum Village set was used in season one, in season two they moved to the Jerusalem movie set made by the LDS Church in Utah, and now for season three, they built a Biblical village set in The Salvation Army’s Camp Hoblitzelle in Texas and are using the lake as the Sea of Galilee.
Angel Studios and Out of Order Studios produced The Chosen and are amongst other studios producing religious content today like LightWorkers, AFFIRM Films and Pinnacle Peak Pictures. Other religions are doing the same, such as Unity Productions Foundation making films of the Islamic faith, the LDS Motion Picture Studios making films of the Book of Mormon, Scientology Media Productions producing its brand of religious content for TV, and Wayfarer Studios making films inspired by Baha’i Faith.
Jenkins released the first episode of The Chosen in April 2019 and has released 16 in its first two seasons, with a goal of seven seasons by the end of the project. The episodes have been seen more than 400 million times since release. The third season is releasing in December 2022, but the first two episodes will be available only in theaters in November 2022.