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The Chosen is a multi-episode TV drama outlining the life of Jesus according to those who encountered him during his time on this earth. Created, directed, and co-written by Dallas Jenkins, The Chosen has over 408 million episode views globally and has been translated into 58 languages. With the program budget, cast performance, and production quality rivaling secular films, The Chosen is unique because of its availability internationally at no cost to the viewer. Support from fans (yielding $22 million) funded seasons one and two, making it the largest fan-supported entertainment project ever. Season three is underway, and filming took place locally at The Chosen’s new permanent home in Midlothian, Texas. 

Pictured Above: The Chosen sets located in Midlothian, Texas

During the height of the pandemic, The Chosen forged a partnership with The Salvation Army’s Camp Hoblitzelle, a 1,200 – acre camp and meeting facility located in Midlothian, TX. The Chosen signed a multi-year lease with Camp Hoblitzelle on 900 acres of the property. “We were looking for a place that would be convenient for cast and crew, where we could capture the essence of the Middle Eastern locates where Jesus’ ministry took place,” said President of The Chosen, Brad Pelo. The partnership was mutually beneficial since Camp Hoblitzelle’s camp programs had halted due to the pandemic. 

In nine months, CRC Construction built a 30,000-square-foot soundstage and a first-century city that spans over two acres. The third season (which included 12,000 extras) was filmed at this location. In October of 2022, The Chosen hosted a ribbon cutting in which several SAGU faculty and staff members toured the one-of-a-kind set structures and sound stage. 

Pictured Above: Members from Camp Hoblitzelle join with The Chosen team for the ribbon cutting.

While touring the film campus, we had the chance to speak with director and co-writer Dallas Jenkins. We asked him what he would say to students interested in film production and involved in our Digital Arts Media program here at SAGU. His candid response was this:

“So many students, especially believers, think, well, I don’t want to be a Christian filmmaker because Christian filmmaking is cheesy and not effective. But I can tell you, one of the core things any filmmaker would kill to have is a niche audience that’s actually looking for something they want. And so having your faith be a part of your filmmaking is not only not a negative these days, but it gives you an advantage. Because there’s an audience out there that wants it.” 

Jenkins is proving his point with 19.26 million unique app downloads. The Chosen is consistently ranked in the top 50 entertainment on iOs and Android. Viewers are not only looking for this content but are willing to invest in it with the “pay it forward” feature, which makes the production of future seasons possible.

Pictured Above: The Chosen sets located in Midlothian, Texas

Jenkins visited the SAGU campus in early 2022 to speak with the Digital Media Arts (DMA) students about film production and his experience as director of The Chosen. Getting to interact with him personally was quite the experience for our SAGU Lions – he is genuine and cares deeply about the people with whom he interacts. 

We had the opportunity to hear his vision for The Chosen and Christian filmmakers in general. “What I’m hoping with The Chosen,” he says, is that you can feel the permission to do good work. The best filmmakers are telling their own stories. You have the opportunity to do the same thing. Don’t shrink from it. Don’t consider it a liability. It’s actually an advantage. And I think you’ll actually find yourself more in step with God rather than trying to run away from the label.”

Pictured Above: Co-writer and producer Dallas Jenkins interacts with several guests during the tour of the The Chosen sets.

And this is exactly what Jenkins is doing with The Chosen: producing high-quality content that doesn’t “shrink” from telling the story of Christ. Newly released Season 3 of The Chosen outlines the miracles of Jesus and his visible earthly ministry. It is now available on all major streaming platforms, along with Seasons 1 and 2.

Interested in film production? The bachelor’s degree in Digital Media Arts will prepare you for a career in broadcasting fields such as radio or television. Digital Media is an opportunity to impact culture through creative arts. The program spans equipment, creative management, writing, communication, and creative production. Enjoy learning visual communication, print and broadcast journalism, film production, audio production, and editing. 

The unique connection SAGU has with the community allows students to plug in easily. Coupled with the careful guidance from SAGU professors, support, and mentorship, SAGU students have a unique opportunity for a Christ-centered quality education and the chance to make a difference in the community. At SAGU, we believe that God has a specific calling for each and every one of us. Through our learning community, students can be equipped with the knowledge and real-world experience to foster talents and pursue purpose. The SAGU College of Communication Arts offers both in-person and online options at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Click here to apply today.

 
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