The Resurrection, as Christians know it, refers to the rising of Christ three days after his crucifixion. It also is one of the themes, in a lesser way, of the renaissance of a young man in a newly released movie, “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone.”The movie opens Friday in approximately 800 theaters nationwide, including both local Carmike Cinemas locations, according to Gabe Clark, of Ambassador Enterprises, a Fort Wayne company helping to promote the film. Clark leads a team promoting the faith-based romantic comedy in northeast Indiana.
Ambassador Enterprises is a for-profit, philanthropic equity firm that invests in businesses, nonprofit organizations and their leaders, according to its website.
“Our core values drive all that we do,” said Clark. “These three values are: honor God, respect others and work hard. We believe that if we live out our core values and invest our time, talent, treasure, temperament and testimony we will build better communities. We are focused on seeing three returns from our investments: financial, cultural and eternal. While financial success is important, we are deeply passionate about seeing personal growth, changed lives and a transformed community. We believe these cultural and eternal returns will have the biggest impact on our future as a region.”The plot, according to the website, revolves around Gavin Stone, “a washed-up former child star, forced to do community service at a local mega-church (who) pretends to be a Christian to land the part of Jesus in its annual production, only to discover that the most important role of his life is far from Hollywood.”
For director Dallas Jenkins, a key scene is when Stone, played by Brett Dalton, is confronted by his Hollywood director, who challenges his loyalty to his new church community. The director says, “If you go back to them, you won’t have one friend left in this business.” Stone replies, “I never did, Mike.”
Another significant moment comes when Stone, pretending to be a Christian so he can play Jesus in the Passion Play, says, “I’m a Christian … capital C … I’ve had the passion of the Christ for a few years now.”
Asked how the PG-rated “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone” happened to cross Ambassador’s path, Clark noted that Ambassador has a personal relationship with Jerry Jenkins, the co-author of the popular “Left Behind” book series.
“Jerry’s son Dallas, from the Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago, is the director of the film, and we were impressed with its ability to share themes that we deeply care about while still remaining very appealing to a wide range of people,” said Clark, adding that Ambassador is an investor of the project.
“Personally, I feel like the movie does a great job of being funny by poking appropriate fun at church culture, while still being very sincere about welcoming others, giving second chances, and forgiving them when they are wrong, and showing them love without conditions. We are very proud to take part in this film,” he said.
“This movie is also funny and has the potential to change hearts in the community. We believe deeply in our mission and core values and feel that ‘The Resurrection of Gavin Stone’ supports these same virtues – encouraging others and caring for our community. It shows that we are stronger together, and we hope that it helps to create this positive impact in the Northeast Indiana region.”
A handful of well-known stars are in the film, including Dalton (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Shawn Michaels (former wrestling star), Neil Flynn (“The Middle”) and Anjelah Johnson-Reyes (MAD TV).
“There are a number of traditional faith-based songs in the movie, but two key songs are ‘Open Up The Heavens,’ by Vertical Church – one of the most popular worship songs in the country – and ‘Ever Chasing God,’ by Jon Guerra,” said Clark, adding that the script was written by Andrea Gyertson Nasfell.
“(Ambassador) is very invested in the sustainability of the (northeast Indiana) region, and we believe that this is a great place to live and a community to be proud of. Our hope is that this movie makes a difference in the community by changing lives and getting people to have conversations around the themes shown in the film,” he said.