BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) — Before “Overcomer” debuts in theaters on Aug. 23, Alex and Stephen Kendrick gave a sneak peek of their latest film in two screenings during the Southern Baptist Convention.
The filmmaking brothers told hundreds of their heart and prayer for the movie.
After 2015’s “War Room,” Alex Kendrick said they took a break, began to pray about their next project and felt God leading them to the issue of identity.
“We think we are in a season where God is saying to the church, ‘I want to remind you who you are’ because identity is so crucial,” he said on Tuesday, June 12. “We believe the Creator defines His creation. We believe He knows us better than we know ourselves. And we believe He has the authority to tell us who we are.”
The brothers said they drew inspiration for Overcomer from the book of Ephesians and the apostle Paul’s teachings on the new identity of Christians and how it is essential to fulfilling the commands that follow in the book.
“At this time, the church needs to be the experts when it comes to identity,” Stephen said. “The church needs to rise up and say you were created in the image of God.”
In studying the first chapters of Ephesians, the idea for the plot of Overcomer began to unfold.
In the film, Alex plays high school coach John Harrison who must leave behind dreams of a basketball state championship after the town’s largest employer goes out of business and families begin to leave the school.
John and his wife Amy (Shari Rigby) question how their family will face an uncertain future as he takes on cross country — a sport he doesn’t know or like.
Then they meet Hannah (Aryn Wright-Thomson), an aspiring athlete who’s pushing her limits on a journey toward attempting to discover who she is.
Inspired by the words and prayers of a newfound friend, Harrison becomes the least likely coach helping the least likely runner attempt the impossible in the biggest race of the year.
After starring in War Room, Priscilla Shirer returns to the big screen as the school’s principal.
“Working on this film stretched my own sense of who I am in Christ,” Alex said. “I have a deeper, more personal, clearer perspective today on my identity in Christ than I’ve ever had.”
Despite growing up in a Christian home, Stephen said he doesn’t remember being taught “what it means to be in Christ and who are we in the Lord,” but his study of Ephesians and time spent on the film helped solidify those concepts.
“Our hope for this movie is that you’ll be able to launch into a study on Ephesians and on our identity in Christ,” Alex said. “We want you to use this movie as a tool to edify the church and win the lost.”
“Every movie is just one string of answered prayer after another,” Stephen said. “Over 80 churches across racial and denominational lines were helping us to make the film in Columbus, Ga.”
After the screenings, the brothers took questions from the audience and shared how those in attendance could help the movie become successful.
“We need your prayers to continue,” Stephen said, “because we want to take back the arts for Jesus Christ.”
If the film does well enough on opening weekend, he said the distributor will spend additional money and increase the number of theaters showing the movie to expand its reach.
Churches can pre-buy showtimes to take their congregation and guests to see Overcomer as early as Aug. 5. Those purchases also count toward opening weekend totals.
The brothers also pointed to numerous “turn-key resources” developed with LifeWay Christian Resources to assist churches in helping members grasp the issues of identity explored in the film.
For more information on the movie, resources and group showings, visit OvercomerMovie.com.