Jesus Revolution is based on a true story that took place during the height of the counterculture hippie movement of the 1970s. On the fringes of this movement were hippies converting to Christianity. Brent McCorkle was the film’s primary researcher.
The Jesus Revolution took place in the 1970s
when a group of young people across America felt an incredible call to follow Jesus and leave behind their lives of drugs and rebelliousness. They began to rally around the idea that Jesus was the answer to the counterculture movement. The movement was based on a simple concept: loving God, loving people, and serving others. These believers formed communities where they could grow in faith together and share their experiences with one another. Through this powerful witness, many were impacted by their stories and made changes in their own lives as well.
In addition to creating close knit communities of believers, the Jesus Revolution spread its message through music festivals such as “Jesus People USA” which became popular among youth who wanted something more than what was offered by mainstream society at that time. Music played an important role in connecting these believers together and inspiring them to keep going even when faced with opposition from those outside of the movement. Musicians like Larry Norman wrote songs about faith and love for God that resonated with many during this era.
Viewers gathered for a free early screening of Jesus Revolution last Monday at Cinemark in Abilene
. Following the screening was a Q&A with John Puckett, editor of the film and 2018 ACU alum and Brent McCorkle, co-director and film scorer.
John Pucket was on hand after the screening of Jesus Revolution, to answer questions from the audience and discuss his role in making the film. He shared anecdotes about the production process, including how he and his team went through great lengths to accurately recreate certain scenes. John also revealed how he was personally affected by filming this project and how it has shaped his faith journey. His passion for telling stories that give hope to those who have none was evident as he talked about what inspired him to take on this project.
The audience in attendance were grateful for the chance to see Jesus Revolution before its official release. The film is a testament to John’s hard work and commitment, which made it even more special for viewers who got an early glimpse at its potential impact. After hearing John speak about what motivated him throughout production, audience members left with a greater appreciation for all of his efforts in creating this powerful story of redemption and transformation.
“There were all these different ideas of what the world was, what it could be,” McCorkle said. “It was this crazy polytheistic soup of ideas, and in all that, mixed, was Christianity.”
One of the most notable hippies who turned to Christianity was Lonnie Frisbee, played by Jonathan Roumie. The film follows Frisbee as he befriends conservative pastor Chuck Smith, played by Kelsey Grammer. Together, they open the doors of Smith’s Calvary Chapel church to hippies searching for faith. One of these newcomers was teenager Greg Laurie, played by Joel Courtney, whose narrative is intertwined with Frisbee and Smith’s.
Lonnie Frisbee was a fixture of the 1960s hippie culture, having adopted the life and values of the counterculture movement. He developed a reputation as an evangelist for the Jesus Movement and eventually became one of Christianity’s most notable converts. The film True Story of Jesus Revolution follows Frisbee’s journey from being a rebellious teen to becoming an influential preacher.
Frisbee had many influential friends who helped him to pursue his message, including Chuck Smith, who is credited with leading California’s communal conversion to Christianity. However, it was Frisbee’s charismatic personality that drew many people into his circle. His genuine passion for God inspired those around him and attracted thousands of young Americans to follow his teachings.
Frisbee often reached out to people in unconventional ways by engaging them in conversations about faith or inviting them out for coffee or dinner as an opportunity to share Christ’s love with them. Despite facing criticism from some members of the church community, Frisbee continued preaching until he died in 1993 at the age of 47 due to complications from AIDS. Even after his death, Lonnie Frisbee’s legacy continues through both Christian organizations he founded and influenced as well as through biographies written about him which share lessons learned throughout his life and ministry.
“It was a movement of these disenfranchised youths that didn’t really want to go home necessarily, but also had gone to the end of free love,” McCorkle said. “They were still looking for something to make them feel better about life. Christianity offered some answers.”
‘Jesus Revolution’ and the recent box office success of ‘The Chosen’ suggest that the audience for the Christian film genre is expanding
People like recent ACU alum John Puckett are at the forefront of this new era. He encourages everyone – religious or nonreligious – to go see ‘Jesus Revolution.’
“I want people to watch this and think, ‘Who are the hippies of our generation that we need to open the door to?’,” Puckett said.
This ushering in of high-production value Christian entertainment has caught the attention of Hollywood, especially Lionsgate, which will release ‘Jesus Revolution’ in theaters on February. Puckett values the approach the film takes on the Christian film genre – one of flawed characters and detailed attention to the film’s quality.
Jes is a film that heads to theaters this October, telling the story of Jesus revolution. It is part of a larger trend in Christian entertainment which has seen higher production values and more mainstream distribution, catching the attention of Hollywood studios like Lionsgate.
The movie was created by Dallas Jenkins and executive produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett
Who are both experienced producers in faith-based films. While this isn’t their first foray into the industry, it is still seen as an example of how far Christian entertainment has come since its inception.
The script follows Jesus’s ministry from his baptism to his crucifixion, with emphasis on stories not often highlighted in other faith-based movies. It also includes special effects and production values which rival those found within secular films meant for mass audiences. It’s quality productions like Jes that have caused Hollywood to take notice, creating a new era of high-production value Christian entertainment meant for mass consumption.
“It’s a very human story – it’s hard, it’s complicated, it’s not, ‘God will solve all your problems if you believe in Him,’” Puckett said. “Christian films can be great without being cheesy. Make it about people dealing with problems in a Christian lens.”