By: Jake Jones
Executions, corruption, betrayal, divorce, politics and power on BYUtv.
Yes, that’s right.
BYUtv aired the final segment of the documentary “Fires of Faith: The Coming Forth of the King James Bible” on Sunday celebrating the instrumental martyrs and revolutionaries who brought the King James Bible into the homes of millions of people 400 years ago this year. The three-part series mixed historical re-creations and commentary from international academics and religious experts. The series was produced on BYUtv and is now available on-demand, free of charge, on byutv.org.
Director and producer Lee Groberg marveled at the collaboration and efforts of all involved to produce a comprehensive documentary illustrating the Bible’s history.
According to Groberg, writing and interviews took more than a year and a half, filming the scenery and historical re-creations for background took another four months and casting was accomplished through recommendations, resumes, voice recordings and interviews via the Internet.
The production crew had designated 75 principle days for filming, without any room in the budget for bad weather days. Coordinating filming with more than 400 actors and extras, eighteen international scholars, in eight different countries was no easy task.
“We obviously prayed for good filming conditions which would allow us to tell the story well,” Groberg said in an email. “We often commented amongst the crew members that in spite of the rain, 80 mph plus winds and the cold, we were greatly blessed to get our filming completed with no down days.”
The production crew not only benefited from fortuitous weather, but witnessed many other faith promoting experiences crucial to the production’s completion of the documentary. The actor who played Martin Luther in the documentary was guided toward Groberg and his associates to play the important role.
“Our actor, who was terrific, shared that he had participated in the filming of ‘Luther,’ a quality German film on the life of Martin Luther,” Groberg said. “It was filmed just a year before our filming. At the time of the filming, he was just an extra … [and] he felt prompted that he would one day play the role of Martin Luther himself. Fast forward one year, here comes a film crew from Utah and via Internet and long distance, he was selected for the role. His performance was stellar.”
Derek Marquis, managing director of BYU Broadcasting and executive producer of “Fires of Faith,” explained in an email that the project encompassed religious experts across the spectrum of Christianity and Judaism. The documentary’s key actors and commentators were not members of the LDS Church but were united in their testimony of the Bible and expressed great reverence for those who sacrificed their lives to make it accessible to all.
“Few milestones in history have greater influence and significance than the translation of the Bible into English,” Marquis said in a news release. “The director, writer, actors, scholars and religious leaders in our film combined to create an extraordinary chorus that transcends any one religion to truly celebrate the most influential book of all time.”
The mini-series will also be available on DVD and is currently being translated into Spanish and Portuguese for broadcast on BYUtv International.