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History's most-translated film, JESUS, is now available in a unique translation. Instead of being in a different language, the new short film uses the Japanese animé format to tell the story of Jesus in a visual presentation familiar to internet-savvy cultures.
My Last Day, premiering worldwide online April 21, is the first professionally produced Christian movie ever done in animé, Japanese-style animation. Seven years in the making, the nine-minute movie frames the story of the crucifixion through the eyes of the thief crucified next to Jesus of Nazareth.
Barry Cook, director of Disney’s Mulan and visual effects supervisor for Disney's Beauty and the Beast, wrote the story for My Last Day. Since animé appeals to media-heavy cultures, Cook explains, the potential impact of using animé for a Christian movie is staggering.
"I believe the type of animation we desire to achieve with this project will appeal strongly to a young generation, a postmodern generation," said Cook. "It won't be their grandparents' JESUS film. It won't even be their parents' The Passion of the Christ. It will be the story of Jesus told in their language."
My Last Day, animated by Tokyo's renowned STUDIO4°C, unfolds through the eyes of one of the criminals who receives the same brutal crucifixion sentence as Jesus. The criminal passes from regret to repentance to redemption as his own guilt causes him to realize Jesus' innocence.
The animé film is the latest part of The JESUS Film Project's strategy to create and translate media tools to communicate the story of Jesus in heart languages of the world. Because all of the dialogue from My Last Day is taken from the original JESUS film, My Last Day makes its debut with 1,100 language options. My Last Day, produced in association with Brethren Entertainment, is freely available at GlobalShortFilmNetwork.com.
"The classic JESUS film is 31 years old. While it's still very effective in many contexts, we recognize that this next generation—the millenials—and other media-sophisticated audiences need a different way to connect to the story," said Greg Gregoire, senior associate for The JESUS Film Project. "With a new version of the JESUS film that utilizes the colorful, highly stylized animation techniques that have gained worldwide popularity, The JESUS Film Project will be positioned to more effectively reach younger audiences."
The JESUS Film Project continues to explore opportunities for additional animé films, as well as other media products which will utilize the most up-to-date technologies. The JESUS Film Project's flagship movie, JESUS (1979), remains the most-translated and most-watched movie in history, with more than 6 billion viewings in 229 countries. The JESUS Film Project will continue translating the classic JESUS film, with the goal of offering the film in every language spoken by people groups of 50,000 or more.
A ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, The JESUS Film Project develops media tools and strategies that connect culturally with those exploring faith. For more information, visit JesusFilm.org.
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