‘Unsung Hero’ Celebrates God’s Institution of Family, Joel Smallbone Says

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Updated: Nov 17, 2023
‘Unsung Hero’ Celebrates God’s Institution of Family, Joel Smallbone Says

‘Unsung Hero’ Celebrates God’s Institution of Family, Joel Smallbone Says

An upcoming film that reveals the backstory of CCM artists For King & Country and Rebecca St. James is a celebration of family, marriage, and faith, says a co-director of the project.

Unsung Hero, scheduled for release on April 26, is based on the true story of David and Helen Smallbone, who moved their seven children from Australia to the United States looking to rebuild their lives, only to face multiple obstacles in their new country.

It was directed by Joel Smallbone, who portrays his father, David, in the lead role. Joel Smallbone is part of the CCM duo For King & Country, along with his brother, Luke. Their sister, Rebecca St. James, was the first breakout artist in the family.  

The trailer for the film was released this week.

“At face value, the film could seem very self-aggrandizing,” Joel Smallbone told Christian Headlines. “[But] it’s not a glory project. Luke and I didn't really have a dog in the hunt because we were so young at the time.”

Unsung Hero, he said, honors his parents and celebrates the biblical institution of family.   

“The [film’s] message is that, number one, the first institution that God gave humanity was marriage, and that it is more important than ever,” Joel Smallbone said. “This is our mum’s story. This really is our parents' migration story. This is our sister's story. It's a story about the power of women in our lives.”

The idea for the film was Luke’s, Joel Smallbone said.

“At every event that we, for the most part, have done over the last 11 years, I've told our story of origin -- coming from Australia to America. It's basically my parents' story,” Luke Smallbone told Christian Headlines. “And I've had a lot of people say to me, ‘You should write a book about this.’ This story is a really captivating story.

“There's this great quote that I read when we were in the development of this film: ‘If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.’ And I think that we have to tell stories about the nucleus of the family because the family is incredibly important. It shapes people, it shapes kids, it shapes parents. That's part of the reason why we were so excited to tell that story.”

It also stars Daisy Betts, Kirrilee Berger, Jonathan Jackson, Lucas Black, Candace Cameron Bure, Terry O’Quinn, and Hillary Scott. 

Rebecca St. James won a Grammy for Best Rock Gospel Album, while Luke and Joel Smallbone of For King and Country have won four Grammys, including for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song. All in total, Rebecca St. James and For King and Country have been nominated 11 times for a Grammy.

Unsung Hero is a project of Kingdom Story Company and Lionsgate.

Photo Courtesy: Kingdom Story/used with permission.

Video Courtesy: Lionsgate Movies via YouTube

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-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Looking for Wholesome Family Films This Christmas Season? Listen to Our Culture Expert Share Her Top 5 Family-Centered Films - Perfect for Family Movie Night!

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.

‘Unsung Hero’ Celebrates God’s Institution of Family, Joel Smallbone Says