Building Bethlehem - Dr. Jeremiah's vision to keep Christ in Christmas!

July 1 Updates

Fundraising Update

Producing a Hollywood-level film is no small task. It requires months of planning, a cadre of industry professionals, and substantial up-front costs. With a budget of $2 million for set design, fabrication, and construction—not including other production and broadcast costs, Why the Nativity will be the most expensive outreach Turning Point has ever produced. Even so, we have counted the cost and believe it is not too a high a price to pay for reaching millions of viewers with the true meaning of Christmas.

The bulk of our production costs must be paid by the end of July. But thanks to the incredible generosity of friends like you, we have already raised $1 million—we’re halfway to our goal! Your generous support will deliver the story of Jesus to homes around the world through television and Internet streaming.

Production Update

Director of Photography: In early June, we hired a “DP” who will work closely with our in-house production team to orchestrate each shot for maximum impact. He and our production team are currently selecting the best digital camera for award-winning production, based on test footage our team shot with RED and ARRI cameras. For the past few years, ARRI has been highly regarded in the industry with their cameras accounting for more than twenty Oscar-nominated films in 2021 and about thirty films in 2020. RED offers an impressive resume as well, having shot several Oscar-nominated films dating back to 2011. Beyond selecting the camera, our DP will also hand select a range of lenses, deciding between spherical and anamorphic. These technical decisions, made in conjunction with the executive producer, will contribute to the stylistic presentation of Why the Nativity.

Script Update

The script is in its fifth revision or “green revision,” as it’s known in the industry. (The Writer’s Guild of America West identifies each script revision by color. There are nine generally accepted color codes, but most scripts have fewer than seven revisions.) See snippets of the Production Team’s first read through the script on Turning Point Studios’ Instagram or Facebook group.

Construction Update

With our set design finalized, we have hired a team to create a miniature model of the Bethlehem backlot set. Initially, this scale-replica will guide our construction team as they build the set. Once the project is complete, the model will be displayed in our studio at Turning Point’s headquarters.

Overhead view of the miniature model of the backlot setMiniature model of the backlot set from the front
Fascinating Facts

We are working with contacts throughout Southern California to procure sheep, camels, donkeys, horses, chickens, goats, and other livestock.

At one of our site meetings, the animals had a lot to say—so much so that they drowned out the Producer as he led the meeting!

 

 

June 11 Updates

Production Update

  • Our storyboard artist has fully developed the boards for Joseph and Mary’s early life. Hear our Executive Producer, Paul Joiner, talk about the importance of storyboards and planning on Turning Point Studios’ exclusive Instagram account.

Casting Update

  • Hundreds of actors have responded to our casting call and submitted auditions. At this time, the Casting Director has made selections for more than 80% of the 67 named characters in the script. Join Turning Point Studios’ exclusive Facebook group to take a peek at a couple of the nuanced characters.
  • Our Wardrobe Designer is securing more than 265 costumes plus accessories.

Construction Update

  • COVID-19-related supply-chain disruptions have caused steep spikes in the cost of materials. Wood prices have increased 400%! As a result, we are following the lead of larger studios by decreasing the scale of our set facades, sourcing alternate materials, and shooting at several strategic locations to minimize the number of facades required. 
  • Wildfires are common in San Diego, particularly in the county’s large backcountry where our set is located. But God began preparing a path well in advance. The key fire executive who needed to sign off on our project is well acquainted with Turning Point and expressed excitement about Why the Nativity. Our backlot set plans sailed through the fire permit process quicker than we dared to hope! From installing smoke detectors to evacuation plans to piping in water supply lines, we continue to work closely with local fire officials to ensure safety on the set.
  • Click to view on Facebook
  • Updated Set Layout Concept Art
    Updated Set Layout Concept Art
Fascinating Facts

Several seasoned industry professionals are coming out of retirement to be involved with Why the Nativity.

Many of our consultants and industry professionals have cut their customary rates for this project because they believe in the message of Why the Nativity.

The summer and fall months are typically a busy time at Turning Point. Beyond our usual radio and TV broadcasts, we’re often preparing for the fall’s Turning Point Live events. Why the Nativity is stretching our staff and resources, but we’re up the challenge. With the Lord’s blessing and your strong support, we can produce a docudrama that will reach millions of souls with the Gospel—all while remaining faithful to our core ministry. Thank you for partnering with us!

Pray for Why the Nativity.

Support Why the Nativity.

Follow Turning Point Studios on Facebook for the latest updates.

Follow Turning Point Studios on Instagram for the latest updates.

 

About the Project

You're probably not thinking about Christmas just yet—

But the Turning Point team and I are working on something BIG for Christmas 2021—and I couldn't wait to share it with you.

As you may know, we have successfully produced several Broadway Christmas specials in recent years. The last one, alone, has reached 9.5 million people with the Gospel!

Sadly, the continuing restrictions of COVID-19 have made the production of a 2021 Broadway spectacular extremely questionable. So we are determined to take this moment of uncertainty to deliver the unchanging Word of God to an ever-changing world in a groundbreaking way!

And God has faithfully provided a strategy to do exactly this—by producing a cinematic-quality, family tradition-level Christmas special:

Why the Nativity?

We will travel back in time to experience the sights and sounds of the very first Christmas in Bethlehem, built and filmed on our own backlot here in San Diego.

 

Site of the Future Bethlehem Set
from the First Look Producer's Notes

Site of the Future Bethlehem Set Site of the Future Bethlehem Set Site of the Future Bethlehem Set

I'll serve as your theologian, teacher, pastor, and historical guide. And together, we will walk through the wonders of Christmas in this historical docudrama, discovering how each question surrounding the Nativity leads to answers. Written in the pages of Scripture and of history, these answers will deliver a thrill of hope to your loved ones and multitudes this Christmas season.

In collaboration with industry professionals from the motion picture industry and television, our seasoned production team will present a historical narrative of Christ's birth. We will shine a light on the meaning of Christmas through innovative and compelling visual storytelling.

Set Layout Concept Art
For more, read the First Look Producer's Notes

Set Layout Concept Art

At a time when our culture is pushing Christ out of Christmas and turning December 25 into a secular holiday, I believe that Why the Nativity? is desperately needed—and will reach more people with the Gospel than any other Christmas special we have ever produced!

The enormity of this opportunity—the potential impact on millions who might be unreachable in any other way—could not be more apparent when I look at the doors God has been opening for us in advance.

Why Now?

  • Not only have we added Fox Business News and Hillsong to our broadcast lineup this past year, but we’ve also become the FIRST religious program on The History Channel—dramatically expanding our ability to reach secular audiences.
  • The historical aspect of Why the Nativity? will connect with The History Channel’s history-loving audience in a timely and powerful way at Christmas.
  • Based on past experiences, we anticipate many other secular networks that refuse our traditional broadcasts will be willing to broadcast Why the Nativity? because of Christmas!
  • Our latest technology will allow us to produce Why the Nativity? in several different formats—a 30-minute TV special, an hour-long TV special, and a full-feature online streaming special. This flexibility will enable us to optimize our Bible Strong message for whatever time blocks or configurations are available.

These doors are wide open to us, by God’s grace, to share the hope and meaning of Christmas with a world in need.

First Look Producer's Notes

First Look Producer's Notes Download the first look at this cinematic Christmas production.

Download PDF

Why We Need Your Help

We need to race to meet the production schedule.

To start, we will build a life-size Bethlehem village set. Already, God has given us the perfect place. Our countrywide search led us to a farm just six miles from Turning Point’s offices in San Diego, making it as convenient as possible to build and shoot there.

Construction must start almost immediately for filming to begin in mid-August. Production will continue through the end of September. Then, we will need to complete the post-production editing and effects before sharing it with the world at Christmastime.

I believe this is a God-given moment to step into an additional format of Bible teaching than we have done before. Your generous support and prayers can help make it possible.

Please pray about this opportunity to bless your family and friends—and reach the lost—with a message of hope this Christmas.

 

 

 

Yes, Dr. Jeremiah

I want to help you keep Christ in Christmas!

 
 

Yes, Dr. Jeremiah

I want to help you keep Christ in Christmas! I will:

2. Help fund this massive outreach opportunity for Christmas 2021.

Give a gift of support
 
 
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