GOLDEN VALLEY - What started out as a short teleplay about the resurrection of Jesus Christ turned into a full-length motion picture that took 18 months to complete, with filming on two continents.
It would be an understatement to say the film, "Saviour: Story of Sacrifice" was a labor of love for the members of Golden Valley Baptist Church.
"It's about the last week of Christ's life," said Pastor Steve Brown. "We were going to do a short Easter play and put it on film, but rather than do that we tried to make it as good as we could."
Directed by Jeff Parker, the church's worship and student minister, "Saviour" features a cast culled not from Hollywood, but from the church's own congregation.
It is Parker's first foray into filmmaking, but he didn't do it alone.
Brian Brown, no relation to Pastor Brown, is a Needles, Calif., filmmaker with a host of credits from shows on The History Channel and major motion pictures.
He took top prize at the Laughlin Film Festival, said Parker.
"Brian filmed it for us," said Parker. "He put it in high-definition and he's really helped a lot."
While the cast consists entirely of church members - not all belong to Golden Valley Baptist Church, but they worship in the Kingman area - congregants also made all of the costumes. Close to 200 people worked on the project at some point over the past year and a half.
A free showing will be held on Good Friday, March 29, at 7 p.m. at Lee Williams High School. A second free showing will be held at Golden Valley Baptist Church at 5 p.m. on Easter, March 31.
The story begins with the Apostle Peter's confession, telling the world about Jesus. The lord's anointment, Judas and the decision he made and the crucifixion, followed by Christ's ascension are featured in the movie.
"We tried to keep it as close as possible to scripture and history," said Brown. "It's a little intense, but not as graphic as 'The Passion of the Christ.'"
While most of the filming occurred at various Mohave County locales, Parker traveled to Israel and while there he filmed many historic sites that are featured.
"I thought I ought to take advantage of being there," said Parker. "I think a lot of the films you see about Christ, you don't see a whole lot of authentic location shots.
"It's not Hollywood quality, but it is something pretty nice."
DVDs and Blu-Ray videos will be sold at a nominal price starting in June. Parker said it takes time to compress DVDs since the church doesn't have the equipment to format more than one at a time.
The videos will include outtakes "of which there are plenty," said Brown.
"And some of them are pretty funny," said Parker.
Brown said Parker committed himself to making the movie, but that was not the only item on his to-do list.
"We still have our ministry," he said. "That responsibility didn't go away."
Parker said he burned through three computers, and scenes were lost each time they crashed.
And cast members also suffered a bit.
"Many of our men have been wearing beards for 18 months," said Brown. "They keep asking, 'When can we shave?'"
Congregant Ray David, who plays Jesus, showed up Sunday clean-shaven for the first time since production began.
"He said, 'It is finished.'"
Both men said the church has grown through the experience, and relationships have been enriched.
"We did this for the community," said Brown. "We wanted to glorify Jesus Christ through this."