Video: And the Word Came with Pictures

The former American Uranium Inc. mines a new market of Christian consumers, looking for gold on the silver screen.
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The Visual Bible Inc. bought out failing American Uranium last August in a takeover designed to acquire the company's stock listing. The renamed company, Visual Bible International (VBI), is producing a movie version of the Bible book for book, word for word.

Todd Heinzl, VBI's vice president of investor relations, told Christianity Today he thinks people are eager to see the story they have read so often come alive in a new way. The Visual Bible's The Gospel of Matthew has already sold 500,000 copies, earning $50 million in the past three years. VBI followed up that film with the release of The Book of Acts. If all 66 books of the Bible are released and priced similarly, buying the entire set will cost around $6,600.

Now VBI is preparing to film the remaining Gospels—Mark, Luke, and John—as well as the books of Genesis and Revelation.

"It's a visual age," Heinzl says. "The marketplace is ready to embrace the world's most popular text in a visual format."

But can the Word become film? Gary Burge, a professor of biblical studies at Wheaton College, says this type of translation might be problematic.

"Something is always lost when you translate language to language, but imagine the gaps and leaps when you try to transfer from one medium to another," Burge told CT. "Film demands that you supply context and narrative, and the Bible doesn't always follow a strict narrative or supply the details of every action as it unfolds."

Some of the changing context for VBI includes different actors for principal roles. Mark, Luke, and John are being filmed simultaneously in Morocco with the same actors and director, but they will differ from the Matthew and Acts videos. (Most notably, Kevin Sage replaces Bruce Marchiano as Jesus, who turned down ...

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