Jesus Film in American Sign Language Coming in June

Jesus Film in American Sign Language Coming in June

On June 20, Deaf Missions will roll out to theaters the first-ever feature film about Jesus entirely in American Sign Language (ASL): JESUS: A Deaf Missions Film.

JESUS is directed by Joseph D. Josselyn, who is deaf. “Growing up in a Christian family,” Josselyn told The Christian Post, “I watched many films about Jesus. But I always wondered, what if these movies were in sign language? After joining Deaf Missions in 2006, the idea began to take shape, though it seemed daunting at the time due to the scale of production, technology and funding required.”

Deaf Missions joined the Jesus Film Project and GUM Vision Studio to produce the film in the deaf community’s “heart language,” which features a deaf cast signing in their native ASL. Josselyn explained that when deaf people rely on captions to watch movies, they do not have the same connection with the characters or the story that hearing people do. “If the deaf community sees a film that’s done entirely in sign language, they’re captivated, regardless of the topic of the film,” Josselyn signed. In the new JESUS film, “Jesus is signing.”

In 2018, Deaf Missions produced an ASL film of the book of Job, and Josselyn said that this was what gave them the experience they needed to pursue the production of a movie about Jesus. “The deaf community’s response to The Book of Job was incredible,” he signed, “many believed and decided to follow Jesus.”

The deaf community is a group largely unreached with the Gospel, with most of the approximately 70 million deaf people in the world having never seen the Name of Jesus signed. They are largely unevangelized simply because of communication barriers.

Deaf Missions is a ministry that exists to “clearly communicate the Gospel of Jesus with Deaf people through their heart language, culture and identity.” In 2020, after 38 years of translation, Deaf Missions completed the first-ever American Sign Language Version (ASLV) of the entire Bible.

JESUS: A Deaf Missions Film premiered at the Deaf Missions Conference in April and will show in select theaters starting June 20.

Photo: Screenshot / JESUS: a Deaf Missions film / YouTube

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