In a small town just outside of Fort Worth, Texas, something very special is brewing. A grit-fueled crew of filmmakers is on fire about what is unfolding in the midst of their brutally hard work. They are shooting The Chosen, a streaming series that director Dallas Jenkins summarizes as, “the first ever multi-season show about the life of Christ.” The story is told from the perspective of those whose lives He touched.
Don’t expect a white-washed cast or a set of bucolic sun-drenched scenes from The Chosen.tv. The production is, as Executive Producer Matthew Faraci says, “true to the scriptures” in the way that the cast is multi-racial and the setting and action befit the dogged toil of doing life circa two thousand ago.
Faraci tells SCENES Media, “Mark Ordesky, a mentor of mine who produced The Lord of the Rings at New Line, once offered a powerful piece of advice: ‘You can’t reverse engineer authenticity.’ That principle applies here, and we’re working tirelessly to ensure that The Chosen is the most authentic representation ever seen from this period. From the casting, to the writing, costumes, and other elements, we’ve been obsessive about making a series that will ring true with audiences. As Dallas likes to say, ‘The Chosen is dusty and sweaty, you should be able to forget where you are and feel what it was like to be a real person in first century Israel.’”
Award-winning director Dallas Jenkins has written and directed eight films and has shared with The Chosen.tv’s online community that this project is one of the most challenging, but, fittingly, one of his most fulfilling, to date.
The television series started with a (smaller) passion project of Jenkins’, as he told the first Christmas story through the short film, The Shepherd. After 7 minutes of watching the film, Jenkins’ friend and Executive Producer Matthew Faraci called up Jenkins to ask, “How much more amazing would this be if we gave you a real budget?” And from that question, The Shepherd was reborn as the The Chosen.tv pilot, and the vision and plan for The Chosen.tv television series began.
There is another extraordinary thing about this project. At the moment of this writing, The Chosen.tv has raised over $5.4 million, which means it is on course to overtake the top crowdfunded film & television project of all time: Mystery Science Theater 3000, which raised $5,764,229 on Kickstarter in 2016. Mystery Science Theater barely beat out the Veronica Mars film, based on the iconic television show of the same name. The Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign is credited with having changed the film industry in 2013 when it raised $5,702,153 with the power of its loyal fanbase. The Chosen.tv has already beaten the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter project, which used the $5,408,916 it raised to bring back the classic educational show, Reading Rainbow, to over 10,000 classrooms via mobile devices, especially for children in need. For those counting, The Chosen is sitting at #3 on the list of top crowdfunded film & television projects of all time, and the #5 spot belongs to crime comedy Super Troopers 2, which raised over $4.6 million on Indiegogo to grant the Super Troopers cult-following community their beloved sequel.
The Chosen is being launched on the new and somewhat embattled digital platform, Vidangel, where a crowdfunded project is not a donation but a concrete investment, registered with the Securities and Exchange commission and aiming for a 120% ROI. The Vidangel platform has persevered and is full steam ahead with The Chosen, despite their startup status and legal challenges.
The Chosen.tv is definitely a new thing in media, with a lot left to be determined because the project is not nearly done. A few things are crystal clear, however, including the fact that this is a cast and crew committed to the highest level of excellence. Also, the Chosen team is well underway to meeting, and possibly exceeding, their goals.
Jenkins tells SCENES media about the shoot: “I get emotional at least once every day on the set for two reasons. One, because we’re seeing these characters come to life in a new way that’s impacting people deeply. And two, because I’m seeing 7,000 people sacrifice their time or resources to make this happen.”
SCENES editors are placing their bets that The Chosen overtakes Mystery Science Theater by Christmas 2018 as the #1 crowdfunded film & television project of all time… as director Dallas Jenkins explains best in his recent online video, there’s still time to be a part of what is shaping up to be a landmark event in digital media and motion picture history.