VidAngel is taking a new approach to TV. Its newest show, “The Chosen,” has raised over $4 million through crowdfunded investing, putting it in the top crowd-funded film and television projects of all time.
When VidAngel originally launched in 2014, the company allowed users to buy movies, select filters and edits to make the movie free of violence, profanity and other sensitive content and then sell the movie back to VidAngel after watching it.
After lawsuits from movie studios in 2017, VidAngel has switched to streaming. Now customers pay for the service and use it to filter content as they watch Netflix or Amazon Prime, according to the company’s website.
VidAngel also offers original TV shows. “The Chosen” is a drama about Christ’s life seen through the eyes of shepherds and is being funded and produced in an unusual way.
The show began as a short film Director Dallas Jenkins originally created for his church’s Christmas Eve program. However, it received positive feedback response from all who saw it.
“When I showed it to people, their response was so strong that I started to think about how interesting it was to show Jesus from the perspective of those around him,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins’ friend, Matthew Faraci, was working with VidAngel and showed them the short film. They also caught the vision of the show.
“A show that isn’t stiff or formal, a show that really takes the time to explore the humanity of the characters of the Gospels, a show that is raw and authentic, … we believe it can be a compelling way ‘in’ to the stories of Jesus that hasn’t been tried before,” Jenkins said.
VidAngel settled on crowdfunding the project with a unique approach. Instead of offering the ability to donate to the show, Vidangel is offering fans the chance to invest in the series. The streaming service believed that by putting the short film out to the public as a “pilot episode” of the series, it could raise millions, according to Jenkins.
“I don’t deny that I said, quite articulately and comprehensively, ‘Ha!'” Jenkins said.
The pilot episode of the show has been watched thousands of times, has over 4,000 investors and has raised more than $4 million in investments.
“The episode went viral, and the response was so amazing. People all over the world expressing how moved they were and how interested they were in seeing more. So we knew we had something,” Jenkins said.
Investors are being told they will be paid back 120 percent of their original investment once the show starts to be profitable. They will even be paid back before the creators get paid. After the creators are paid, investors will continue to see profits throughout the rest of the series, according to the show’s website.
The show has received positive feedback on its website from celebrities and people all over the country who would like to watch a wholesome and entertaining show about Christ.
“Our family would absolutely love to see a TV series about the life of Jesus created. We’d binge watch the whole season all at once. … We’re praying for the success of this project,” the Robertsons — of Duck Dynasty fame — said in a statement.
Jenkins said he hopes the popularity of the show will continue.
“Our long-term goal is for this show to last for several years. We hope that if people see Jesus through the eyes of those around him, they’ll be impacted in the same way his followers were. And, of course, if the show is successful, no reason to stop with the Gospels. There’s plenty more stories to tell,” Jenkins said.
Watch the pilot and learn more about the show at studios.vidangel.com/thechosen.