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Christian film “The Hopeful” resonates with 21st century America | Fox News

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Kyle Portbury, director and producer of “The Hopeful”, says the modern world and today’s society undergo much of the same experiences as those characters in the Christian film set in the early 1800s.

In mid-April, the Christian film “The Hopeful” was released to viewers in 900 theaters across the U.S. for two days with a theme that is harmonious with today’s society, though set in the early 1800s.

The film’s producer and director, Kyle Portbury of Sydney, Australia, told Fox News Digital over a video interview that the true story of religious observers, beginning during the War of 1812, effortlessly connects with 21st-century audiences.

“What you’re going to encounter is people, even though they’ve lived 200 years before you did, they’ve got an experience that’s going to be very recognizable,” Portbury said.

“It’s a gentler time, and in a way, we need to be reminded of gentler times,” he said. “Right now, it feels quite harsh and quite rough.”

MARYLAND LICENSE PLATE COMMEMORATING WAR OF 1812 UNINTENTIONALLY CONTAINS WEB ADDRESS FOR GAMBLING

Kyle Portbury was the director and producer of Christian film “The Hopeful”. (Jeremy Cowart)

The film follows a collection of actual events of Americans William Miller and Ellen Harmon, as they struggle with the anticipation of Christ’s return, and disappointment when the prophecy is unfulfilled.

Audiences saw Miller, of the 30th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army during the War of 1812, surviving a brutal attack by the British military. When he believes his survival to be a miracle, he questions his existence and pursues the answers through books.

In the course of the readings from the Book of Daniel, Miller believes he has found evidence of Christ’s upcoming return. Alone, he undertakes the knowledge of this prophecy, until he decides to deftly provide others with the message.

“The Hopeful” was released to audiences in theaters for two days. Now, individuals can request to host private screenings. (Jeremy Cowart)

Upon conclusion of Sunday service, Harmon, with no more than a third grade education, returns home and enlightens her parents that Christ is hopeful and healing, not judgmental and prejudiced as she had previously assumed. Harmon opens her eyes to the idea of a cushioned Christ and becomes a visionary for Miller’s cause and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“Ellen is the least likely person to have the legacy that she does today,” Portbury said. “She exists in a time where men do not listen to women, especially young women.”

In 1846, she co-founded the Christian denomination with her husband, James White. During her time, she penned more than 24 books and around 4,600 articles, according to Boston University’s School of Theology website.

“She worked out clever ways to get around the roadblock of gender,” Portbury said.

Today, Harmon, a native of Maine, is remembered as a voice and a pioneer for women. The Smithsonian named Harmon one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time.”

Portbury told Fox News Digital during a video interview that the real Americans from the early 1800s experienced similar internal and external battles as those living in the 21st century. (Jeremy Cowart)

Portbury says that the trials and tribulations of Harmon, Miller, Joseph Bates, a wealthy, well-respected sea captain, his wife and others are uncomplicated and that all audiences, religious or not, can bask in the film’s message.

“One of the most fabulous things about film is it gives you an opportunity to go, ‘Who would I be in this film?’” Portbury said. “We all like to think we’d be the hero.”

In “The Hopeful,” Portbury says the characters grapple both internally and externally with the choice they have as business owners, homeowners and caretakers: to embrace and prepare for Christ’s return or to chastise those who do.

“What they persevered through was an understanding that, yes, eventually Christ is going to come back, and the world is going to end, but that isn’t a bad thing, that’s a good thing, because it brings hope and healing to a world that desperately needs it,” Portbury said.

Cognizant that he could connect with the discourse among Americans from 1812, Portbury decided to produce the film.

“I think we’re in a very similar position where we’re hearing a lot of negativity and judgment,” he said. “I think the challenge to us, particularly as Christians, is to not put out there the character of Christ that people are expecting, which is judgment, prejudice and fear.”

Portbury believes that if more individuals bestow kindness and warmth to others daily, the world will be better prepared when Christ does return.

“The world needs people to be like, ‘Hey, I could be this hope and healing in my little part of the world, or my neighborhood, or with the people in my little family,’” he said.

Viewers can apply to host a screening of “The Hopeful” in the U.S. and Canada and across the globe.

Gabriele Regalbuto is an SEO editor at Fox News Digital. Gabriele has a Journalism and Communications degree from West Virginia University. She has worked to produce content for newspapers, magazines, and digital platforms. At Fox, she has assisted in coverage of breaking news events including the 2024 presidential cycle, 2022 midterm elections, Queen Elizabeth II’s death, the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

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This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2024 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by
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