Easter film 'Forty-Seven Days with Jesus' presents Gospel in reverent, entertaining way: producer

'Forty-Seven Days with Jesus' stars 'The Chosen' actors Yoshi Barrigas and Catherine Lidstone.
"Forty-Seven Days with Jesus" stars "The Chosen" actors Yoshi Barrigas and Catherine Lidstone. | Forty-Seven Days with Jesus

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — When filming “Forty-Seven Days with Jesus,” which intertwines the life of Jesus with a modern family’s story, the filmmakers were focused on a singular goal: Presenting the Gospel to a wide audience in an entertaining yet reverent manner.

“When it comes to the actual Bible story, we wanted to remain as accurate as possible,” "Forty-Seven Days with Jesus" producer Kristen Brancaccio told The Christian Post in a sit-down interview. 

“That was a priority for us throughout the entire process. We brought on a biblical and historical expert and a scholar who specializes in the New Testament who gave us incredible feedback on everything, from, ‘This time of day is actually incorrect; we know from this translation that it actually happened at this time of day,' and we would go change the schedule. We really tried to remain as accurate as we could.”

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The inspirational film, now playing in theaters through Fathom Events, explores the struggles of the Burdon family, particularly Joseph, as he juggles his demanding career and family life. 

Joseph, who is deeply committed to his work on a campaign for the National Association of Firefighters, often neglects his family due to his job, causing tension with his wife, Julianna, a believer in the importance of family time and being present for their children. The urgency of balancing work and family life becomes more pronounced as they plan to spend what could be their last Easter with Joseph’s ailing father, Poppa. 

Despite the critical nature of his project, Joseph considers working through the Easter weekend, conflicting with the family reunion. Meanwhile, Poppa reads a book to his grandchildren titled Forty-Seven Days With Jesus, which tracks Christ’s life through Palm Sunday through His Ascension. The book just might hold the key to helping Joseph reassess his priorities and understand the significance of family and being present in their lives.

The faith-based drama stars “The Chosen” actors Yoshi Barrigas and Catherine Lidstone, veteran actor Cameron Arnett (“Overcomer”) as Pontius Pilate and Joshua Triplett (“Grey's Anatomy") as Peter, Jesus’ disciple. 

Brancaccio, who grew up in the church and starred in Vacation Bible School plays, said the church deeply informed her approach to biblical storytelling. She emphasized the importance of engaging and respectful storytelling, especially for young audiences, saying, "I think there's a way to tell these Bible stories that can really connect to young people."

“I would not have jumped at the opportunity to do this movie if I didn't have the backstory that I do, the childhood that I do, the understanding that there's a way to tell these stories in a way that's really engaging and entertaining, while still respectful,” she said. “I  remember every Bible story from my childhood because I got to experience them. When you're engaging with the Bible in a creative way, you're remembering things so much better. Those stories are sinking in, those themes are really sinking in.”

Jesus’ final days on Earth are brought to life through a series of flashbacks throughout the film, along with several musical numbers. It’s ultimately this story that reminds Joseph and his family of the importance of love, forgiveness, and transformation, as exemplified by Jesus in the days leading up to His crucifixion. By the end of the film, the Gospel message becomes a catalyst for the family to apply these lessons to their own lives, leading to a deeper familial connection and understanding. 

The film is directed by Emilio Palame and David M. Gutel, who also wrote the script. Rolland Jacks serves as the executive producer, with production by Palame, Donald Nguyen and Brancaccio.

The idea for “Forty-Seven Days with Jesus” was conceived by Jacks, a lifelong believer who began meditating on the scriptures, studying the New Testament, and setting passages of Scripture to music as a meditative exercise, Brancaccio said. With the encouragement of Palame, a musician, Jacks worked for several years to bring the story to a wider audience. 

“Emilio said, ‘We have to find a way to tell this story to as many people as possible. How do we do that?’” Brancaccio recalled. "And through that conversation, [Jacks] was like, ‘What if we made a movie? What better way to reach people?’”

“Forty-Seven Days with Jesus” marks the latest offering in a recent surge in TV series and movies that draw inspiration from biblical stories, including “The Chosen,” “Journey to Bethlehem,” Angel Studios' “His Only Son” and the forthcoming Netflix docu-drama “Testament: The Story of Moses.”

Reflecting on the growing popularity of biblical narratives in modern media, Brancaccio said, “As believers, people are excited to see Bible stories told in a new way. … But I also do think that there's a desire to share the stories that aren't always possible when your only option is to invite someone to church. … You might not be able to get a loved one in a pew this Easter, but you might be able to get them into a movie theater.”

With Easter approaching, Brancaccio encourages audiences to experience "47 Days with Jesus," a film she says offers something meaningful for everyone, regardless of their faith background.

She shared an anecdote told by Gutel, the film’s co-director, about an interaction with a crew member who wasn't religious. This crew member was deeply impacted by the film, feeling a personal connection with the main character and seeing his own story reflected in the movie. 

“He said, ‘I'm not religious … but your movie really impacted me. I saw myself in your main character. I think his story is my story,’” she said.

“The fact that someone who isn't coming from a background of faith felt really convicted by our movie — that's what I hope can happen for anyone who watches this movie. Bring your family; I think there's something you’ll get out of it whether you have a faith background or not. Bring your friends. This is a movie that is perfect in time for Easter.”

“Forty-Seven Days with Jesus” is available to watch in select theaters.

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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