It’s safe to say Jeremy Camp was invested in the new faith-based movie I Still Believe.
In his words, he had given his “blood, sweat and tears” to the project for the previous 18-24 months, re-living a time in his life – the death of his first wife – that was full of bittersweet and tragic emotions.
But he believed it was “all worth it” because of what “God's gonna do” through the film.
And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. I Still Believe (PG) was released in theaters the weekend after President Trump addressed the nation about the coronavirus from the Oval Office. In fact, its first full day in theaters, March 13, was the same day Trump declared a national emergency.
The film finished No. 1 on opening night and No. 3 for the weekend, yet many moviegoers stayed home. By the next weekend, theaters were closed.
“I broke down the day it came out, to be quite honest,” Camp told Christian Headlines. “... I kind of walked in a fog [and was] kind of numb for a little while. And I got to the point, honestly, where I just said, ‘OK, Lord, you knew this was going to happen.’”
Camp then began sensing God’s purpose: With the nation in a de-facto lockdown, millions of Americans suddenly needed to be entertained – and they were looking for something new to watch.
Lionsgate released I Still Believe on premium on-demand March 27, giving those Americans the ability to watch a film in their home that was in theaters only days earlier.
“The stories that we're hearing from people that are watching it at home are amazing,” Camp said. “God is definitely using this in a radical way. And it’s just getting started.”
In April, Camp and his wife, Adrienne, released a marriage book, In Unison, that picks up where the movie left off, detailing how they met and how they’ve seen their marriage grow. The goal, they say, is to help couples grow a Christ-centered relationship.
The ability to watch I Still Believe at home, Camp said, provides a unique benefit: Families can watch it together.
“I’ve had people telling me, ‘There were times when we would go to the movies, and I would take my daughter or it would just be me and my husband, but now we're sitting down as a whole family and watching it, which we never probably would have done – and then we’re sitting around and discussing it, because everyone's stuck [at home]’” Camp said.
“Everyone's just in this deeper, thought-provoking time where God is really getting into the depths of people's hearts right now.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Matt Winkelmeyer/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.