The man remains unknown to the general public. After all, Dallas Jenkins is just one of the many television film directors that America’s Hollywood has the secret to. At 48 years old, this father of four children already has several feature films to his credit. With ups and downs. In 2017, the commercial failure of his film The Resurrection of Gavin Stone opens his eyes: “I doubted a lot after this failure. But a close friend contacted me. He reminded me that as Christians our role is simply to provide the five loaves and the two fishes. For the rest, it’s up to Jesus to manage to multiply them and feed the crowds with them. » A decisive reminder.
For the Christmas celebrations of the evangelical Protestant church he attended in Elgin (Illinois), he made a short film evoking the biblical story of the shepherds. Spotted by a producer himself in difficulty with the Hollywood majors, the film was broadcast on social networks, where it attracted more than fifteen million views.
Audacity that pays off
Jenkins thus takes stock of the changes taking place in the world of cinema. He launched a new production house, Vertical Church Films, located in Chicago (Illinois), where the project for a series, like those being snapped up on dedicated sites, matured little by little.
Launched in 2018, the first season of The Chosen ( The chosen ) benefits from the largest successful crowdfunding operation with more than ten million dollars raised. The audacious project quickly took shape: to present, in fifty episodes spread over seven seasons, a Jesus close to the Gospel text but enriched by the very human stories of the characters who surround him.
Far from the hieratic Jesus of Zeffirelli or the tortured Jesus of Mel Gibson, Jenkins’ Jesus appears as a practicing Jew and a man overcome by the ordinary emotions of life. His interpreter, Jonathan Roumie, Catholic, shares a sincere friendship with the Protestant director.
Jenkins also spends a lot of time talking about the progress of his work on social networks, further strengthening the link with the community of fans of The Chosen .