Hollywood heavyweight hired to produce Bible films

The Academy Award-winning producer of “Chariots of Fire”, “Dances With Wolves”, “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Gandhi” was hired to head Visual Bible International Inc.

The Toronto-based production company, in the midst of producing films that are a word-for-word account of the Good News Bible, believes Jake Eberts is the right man to carry this series and other Bible-based films to their completion as non-executive board chair, reported the Catholic Register.

Visual Bible has already produced “The Gospel of John”, which received positive reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Since his hiring in November, Eberts signed a deal with Walt Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment to distribute the “The Gospel of John” and the soon-to-be-completed “The Gospel of Mark.”

Eberts, a lapsed Anglican, grew up in Arvida, Quebec, where his father worked for Alcan and his mother helped raise funds to build the local church. He studied engineering at McGill University and received an MBA from Harvard University, before heading into the film industry.

The 64-year-old does not see his new post as a return to religion but rather as a good business decision. He believes the Scripture-based films can appeal to a wider audience than just church groups, reported the Register.

“Fundamentally, it’s the story that makes a film interesting to a wide audience. It doesn’t really matter whether they’re Christian or not, young or old, or whatever their culture,” he told the Toronto-based Catholic newspaper.

“I sincerely do hope the market doesn’t turn out to be just Christian faith-based,” he said. “I hope that it’s that, and everyone else who likes a good story.”

Over the next few years, Visual Bible plans to produce 15 to 20 movies based on the Old and New Testaments.

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