More than 40 Gallaudet University alumni were involved as cast or crew members in the recently-released film Jesus, produced by Deaf Missions, a Council Bluffs, Iowa-based international Christian ministry. The film was released on June 20 in more than 300 theaters nationwide. It will be shown again in the same theaters on Sunday, June 23, and some theaters are reportedly considering an extended run.

Jesus has an all-deaf cast and a predominantly-deaf production team. The film has a soundtrack with music and captions for hearing audience members. 

The film features Gideon Firl, ’20, in the title role. Seven of Jesus’s 12 disciples were portrayed by Gallaudet alumni: Andrew (Colin Analco, ’13), James (Fletch Medugno-Kuehne, ’15), Judas (Christopher DeSouza, E-’07), Matthew (Sumit Malik, ’18), Nathanael (Hawal Abdullah, ELI ’23), Thaddeus (Christopher Corrigan, E-’10), and Thomas (Joseph Ochoa, ’00). Other alumni in major roles include Daniel Pfaff, ’08, as King Herod; Joseph Pfaff, ’11, as Pontius Pilate; Yamila Davis, E-’25, as Mary Magdalene; Yader Martinez, ’16, as Simon the Pharisee; Kevin Kreutzer, E-’79, as an elder; and Hector RJ Reynoso, ’11 & G-’20, as Joseph of Arimathea.

Jesus was filmed in Bakersfield, Los Angeles, and Riverside, California; Council Bluffs, Iowa;  Shreveport, Louisiana; Weatherford and Mineral Lake Wells State Park, Texas; Moab and Sandy Beach at Yuba Lake; Utah; and Sofia, Bulgaria. Chad Entinger, ’97 & G-’99, was executive producer; Joseph Josselyn, ’97, was director and producer; Michael Davis, E-’04, was producer; and Eric Calbert, ’99, was associate producer. Both Josselyn and Calbert are graduates of the university’s now-closed Television, Film, and Photography program.

According to Entinger, who is also executive director of Deaf Missions, the film had a $4.8 million budget, with the bulk of the money coming from individual and institutional donors. 

The two-hour, 27-minute film received a largely positive response, with many attendees saying on social media that they planned to watch it again on Sunday. Josselyn, the director and producer, says that the film will be entered into a number of national and international film festivals.

Watch an interview with Jesus film director and producer Joseph Josselyn, ’97, about his journey into filmmaking.

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