In 2010, Latter-day Saint composer Rob Gardner recorded what would become his most acclaimed oratorio, Lamb of God. Told entirely through music, it portrays the final week in the life of Jesus Christ. The story is told from the perspective of those who loved and followed Him, including Peter, John, Thomas, Mary and Martha of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, and Christ’s mother, Mary. Now, audiences can enjoy the worshipful spirit of Lamb of God on the big screen.
The new film opens in select theatres nationwide on Friday, March 12, 2021, featuring acclaimed performers, a never-before-heard song, and narration. Filmed in Utah at the Utah Film Studios in Park City, Lamb of God stars acclaimed musical artists Casey Elliott of GENTRI, Oyoyo Bonner, Tyler Hardwick, Katherine Thomas, Emily Moffat, and many more.
For the entire production team, this idea of infusing hope into the dark times we face has permeated the project.
“Lamb of God carries a lot of personal importance to me,” said producer Rob Moffat. “My wife and I met during the original recording in London and we have both been invested in it and moved by it since that time. The last year has been incredibly difficult for us and to be a part of conveying this story of friendship, love, and hope has been particularly fulfilling. Bringing it to the big screen means that it has the potential to reach a wider audience, and that’s exciting to me. I am so grateful to have been able to witness the new perspectives that these extraordinary performers brought to the story and the music.”
Moffat, alongside co-producer Arthur Van Wagenen, worked diligently to bring this powerful story to life while handling the restrictions of the worldwide pandemic.
“Shooting a filmed version of Lamb of God during COVID19 was undoubtedly complicated and unnerving,” Van Wagenen told us. “But the pandemic was also one of the primary reasons to attempt to do a concert film this year since many of the live performances that are normally done during Easter were likely prohibited.”
All cast and crew and musicians were tested before being allowed on set and given daily temperature checks. The crew was conscientious about the placement of musicians and soloists and choir members and masks were worn at all times except when cameras were rolling.
“Thank goodness we had the support of the Utah Film Studios where we could spread ourselves out on their huge sound stages,” Van Wagenen added. “This has been a challenging year for almost every industry and the film and performing arts are no exception. But Rob and his team believe in the power of music and storytelling to heal and transform us. Lamb of God is a work of art about hope and we need that sense of hope more now than ever. We think it was worth the extra planning, logistics, and cost to film this amazing oratorio in as safe a manner as possible so we could share a little of that hope.”
As part of the filming process, updates have been made to the original orchestration and narration. “There have been some small changes to the recitative moments that precede some songs,” said Moffat. “We hope these small changes will increase understanding of these characters and the timeline of the events. Additionally, the narration portion of the original recording is performed by each of the characters instead of dedicated narrators. This version features a smaller orchestra than previous recordings, so it has also been re-orchestrated to match. There is also one new song for Peter.”
Gardner, as the creator and director, hopes watching the film is a personal experience for those who come to see it, whether you’re already a fan of Lamb of God or this is your first chance to hear it.
“I’ve written this – and all my projects – so that other people can experience it for themselves, can leave with a new experience. Whether that’s just to enjoy some beautiful music, have a short reprieve from life… Whatever it is, I just want them to have an experience of their own, to walk away from this the way they would from anything that’s artistic and beautiful. I want this to be what it’s about for them, as a viewer. And that will be different for everyone, which is great! That’s how experiences should be. They’re personal. That’s what makes them impactful.”
Lamb of God comes to select theaters in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming on March 12, 2021. You can request the theater to come to your state here. You can also follow the film on social media for behind-the-scenes exclusives and features on the film.
“It’s a timeless story, beautifully told, whether someone is a Christian or not,” Moffat said of the film. “For people who aren’t familiar with this work, I think it’s important to know that it’s a musical interpretation, based in scripture from the King James Version of the Bible, and it is a telling of this story unlike any they have seen before. For those who have seen or heard it before, I think it’s important to know that these new performers and the style of the film brings new perspectives and heart to the piece that will be stunning and moving even to people who have heard it many times.”