After being diagnosed with cancer, Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp told her soon-to-be husband, singer Jeremy Camp, “If one person discovers Jesus because of what I go through, it will be all worth it.”
The film, “I Still Believe,” which opened last weekend, tells Jeremy and Melissa’s story.
Melissa died of cancer in 2001 four months after marrying Jeremy. They met in college and Jeremy was quickly drawn to Melissa’s radical faith. He married her knowing she had stage-four cancer, and that unless a miracle happened, she would die.
Jeremy penned the song “I Still Believe” shortly after Melissa’s death, and the lyrics speak to trusting in God despite unspeakable suffering.
“‘I Still Believe’ is similar to ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ but with a faith component,” said Executive Producer Tony Young. “It is about love and being an instrument that God can use, either by enduring hardships and remaining faithful or by walking alongside of someone who is experiencing hardships. Pain is universal. It is something we all experience at some point, and it makes us ask the questions: What do you do when it hits? Do you deny God or find hope through the darkness?”
“I Still Believe” stars KJ Apa (“Riverdale”) as Jeremy, Britt Robertson (“A Dog’s Purpose”) as Melissa, Shania Twain (Five-time Grammy winner) as Jeremy’s mother and Gary Sinise (“Forrest Gump”) as Jeremy’s father.
Apa declined the role at first because he wasn’t sure if he could pull it off, but in a recent interview he said, “I’ve never been so proud of anything in my entire life.”
The movie hit theaters March 13 with opening weekend box office earnings totaling $9.5 million. Due to the spread of the coronavirus, many theaters closed indefinitely. As a result, it was announced "I Still Believe" will be available on premium video on demand platforms starting March 27.
The film is the first production by Kingdom Story Company, which was started in 2019 by Jon and Andy Erwin with partners Kevin Downes and Young, and in association with Lionsgate.
The Erwin brothers have produced five major films such as “I Can Only Imagine” and “Woodlawn.”
City on a Hill, a local media production company that creates Bible study resources, has created an “I Still Believe” video study that includes teaching from Southeast Christian Church Senior Pastor Kyle Idleman.
“I think Kingdom Story Company landed on this partly because of the success of ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ which was a real-life story,” said Tim Byron, City on a Hill general manager. “There’s something about a real story that is much like our own Christian walk and personal testimony. There’s so much meaning behind the song ‘I Still Believe’ that many people didn’t necessarily know. It’s much like ‘I Can Only Imagine.’ What makes it so powerful is knowing Melissa’s story and what they went through together, and knowing that Jeremy wrote this song immediately coming out of that experience. It’s a powerful story of faith and hope in the worst of times, as long as we put our hope in Christ.”
The “I Still Believe” curriculum has interviews with Jeremy Camp and his second wife, Adrienne. Idleman teaches on Romans 8 to get viewers to think deeper about life’s struggles and pain.
“The reason we love movies is because we love to hear a great story and get involved with the characters and their life contained within that film,” Byron said. “We have a great experience and walk away from the theater inspired, but a lot of times it’s in the moment and it’s not as sticky. Something like ‘Star Wars’ or Marvel that has a fan base, that’s very sticky. They’re going to see the next one and the next one, talk about it and engage in the characters. That’s not what’s happening in the movies we’re doing. So how do we make it a little stickier? How do we take those themes from ‘I Can Only Imagine’ and ‘I Still Believe’ … to take that experience a little bit deeper?”
Resources are available at www.cityon