By Diane Howard, Ph.D.
After release last year of “The Gospel of John,” with its authentic look at Jesus Christ in that gospel, “The Gospel of Mark” is now released on DVD, Digital HD and On Demand from Lionsgate. Just in time for Easter, the second book of The New Testament comes to life as it picturizes the Gospel narrative, word-for-word. This film was shot in an authentic-looking location in Morocco with consultations from expert theologians and biblical scholars and is cast with authentic-looking actors. Produced by The Lumo Project, this film has received the Dove Faith Friendly Seal for 12+. “The Gospel of Mark” DVD is packed with behind-the-scenes bonus features which include: Deconstructing a Scene, Building Jerusalem, Composing the Gospels, Filming the Gospels, and Narrating the Gospels.
In this film, we see Jesus as a strong but loving heroic man of action, a healer, and a miracle worker. We see His unique relationships with His disciples, those he heals, and those who tests Him in unbelief.
This epic production, which took five years to make, is based on the latest theological, historical, and archaeological research and provides an authentic picturization of Jesus’ story, which ends with the empty tomb, a promise to meet again in Galilee, and Jesus’s instructions to spread the good news of the resurrection.
The Gospel of Mark is one of the three synoptic (seeing together) canonical gospels, along with the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. These gospels are similar in language, content, and in the order of events and sayings from the life of Christ, although The Gospel of Mark is unique as it focuses on the actions of Christ, having been written by the young Mark. The Gospel of John has considerable material not found in the synoptics. The Gospels are of value individually and as whole. They fit together harmoniously and can be arranged together in chronological order.
The Gospel of Mark presents a vivid, action account of work and words of Jesus Christ. This film provides an authentic look at Him as an action hero and as the greatest man who ever lived. “The Gospel of Mark” brings the gospel to life, word for word, as it authentically picturizes the gospel.
I was able to conduct an exclusive interview with British director, David Batty.
DH: The film looks and sounds authentic. How did you cast Jesus for the film?
DB: Jesus has been key to this project. We looked for three aspects for the person of Jesus Christ. First, he needed a strong physical presence. Secondly, he needed a powerful spiritual presence. He also needed to look Jewish and Mid-Eastern. We wanted to cast in Morocco and, in fact, did most of the casting there. However, we did not find our Jesus until we were back in the UK. After a long process, the last actor we saw was Selva Rasalingam. We knew right away that he was the right person. He had the passion, power, and consummate acting skills we needed.
DH: What language or languages did the cast speak?
DB: They were Moroccan Muslims who spoke Berber, which is Arabic and similar to Aramaic.
DH: What language or languages did the cast use in the film?
DB: For the films, we created a language for under the narration that sounded Aramaic and was peppered with Aramaic words.
DH: What language did you use to direct them?
DH: I spoke French and so did they. We also had a French bilingual and trilingual assistant director. There is much physical action in the Gospel of Mark, which is the shortest of the four Gospels and presents Jesus Christ as a man of action.
DH: How will the narrations be translated for distribution around the world?
DB: The process of translation will include as many languages as possible.
DH: Will the translation process include language outside the Western World?
DH: How is this film series uniquely valuable for audiences?
DB: It involves the four gospel takes of the same story with witnesses from four angles. The Gospel of Luke and The Gospel of John films are out and available with The Gospel of Mark now joining them.
“The Gospel of Mark” is part of the The Lumo Project, a ground-breaking, multi-language biblical film resource that facilitates and transforms the way audiences can discover, study and engage with the life of Jesus through the four New Testament Gospels. The Lumo Project redefines the standard of visual Biblical media as it presents its four films—one for each Gospel account—that will revolutionize the way audiences experience the story of Jesus and the world of First Century Palestine in which he lived.
The Lumo Project takes the actual four individual Gospel texts as its script, word for word, and unedited. It uses the latest historical research to recreate Palestine of the First Century as authentically as possible. It breaks with the stereotype of a westernized Jesus, presenting it as it really was 2000 years ago. This project is a versatile educational resource for a global audience and can be dubbed into any version and any language.
The Lumo Project is a pioneering educational resource created to promote biblical literacy for anyone interested in the Gospel stories. It contains all the original events that changed the world from Jesus’ miraculous birth to his agonizing death on the cross, and his triumphal resurrection. It includes all his miracles, his teachings, his parables and the extraordinary story of His life.
The Lumo Project presents a unique Gospel experience for the 21st Century, which is accessible to everyone. It has been the winner of UK Christian Film Festival Awards 2015: Best Series and Best of British. The Lumo Project also seeks to make the Bible accessible by creating a series of movies based on the four Gospels for viewing on Netflix.