Julie MolinaThe Chosen literally goes against the current".

Julie Molina, international director of The Chosen, emphasizes in this interview with Omnes that the writers of the series do not write thinking about how to "please" the dominant culture, but rather that they go "against the grain".

Maria José Atienza-May 13, 2023-Reading time: 6 minutes
julie the chosen

Colombian Julie Molina is the international director of The Chosen. The 36-year-old, born and raised in Cali, is in charge of managing the presence of Dallas Jenkins' successful series in Latin America and now in Spain.

With extensive consulting experience and exceptional human warmth, Molina notes that the goal of this series on Christ and the men and women who followed him is to reach "a billion people".

At The Chosen They dream big and the response of the public and critics accompanies this dream, which has premiered in Spain its third season dubbed into Spanish and is already preparing the fourth season.

As you get to know the team behind the company, you'll learn about the The ChosenIt gives the feeling that their involvement goes beyond the professional. Many talk about how their previous professional and personal history "led" them to The Chosen Is this more than just a "film project"?

-That is true to 100%. Most, if not all, of the team have some similar story. You see the threads have been weaving together to get us to this moment. A lot of things have happened that had to happen one way or another to prepare us for what we are doing now.

To give an example, more than 10 years ago I studied International Marketing and Public Relations, that was what I wanted to do. For different reasons I didn't do it and I went back to university to study Accounting and Consulting.

For ten years I worked in consulting, at Ernst & Young. Then I started to travel all over Latin America and lead teams all over Latin America, I did audits in Brazil, I learned to speak Portuguese, to manage international teams...

Ten years later I am working on The Chosen in public relations and international marketing where I work to bring the series to all of Latin America in Spanish and Portuguese! What had been my wish more than a decade ago and I didn't fulfill then, I am living it now.

Now I don't do anything related to consulting, accounting or auditing, but all those steps -learning another language, leading international teams- had to happen in order to do what I do at The Chosen. Stories like this have happened to all of us. We have seen the hand of God preparing us for what we are doing now, which are totally disruptive, radical things, things that even to some people seem crazy.

The idea is that a billion people will be able to see an authentic Jesus through this series.

Julie Molina. International Director of The Chosen

Indeed, it may seem crazy this project of a religious series in these years and by crowdfunding... How does it work? The Chosen forward?

-Indeed, The Chosen has the record of being the most successful crowdfunding in audiovisual history, no other audiovisual product has achieved what has been achieved with The Chosen.

Initially, when Dallas had the idea and wanted to get the project off the ground, he went to different production companies and everyone said, "It's nice, but no. It's a good idea. Thank you." It took a person who had the vision and the heart. When Dallas met Derral Eves and explained the project to him, Derral not only had the visionthe idea of starting the crowdfunding but also the heartbeat to say if it is something about the life of Jesus, it is necessary today. When the crowdfunding started in the first season it was done through investors. It raised $10 million through 19,000 people and that was just the beginning.

At the Holy Cross congress, Derral Eves told, among other things, about the ambitious translation project he has in the works. The Chosen How is this process going?

-It's super exciting. We have just made the first translation of the third season, in Spain, into Spanish. The plan is to have it dubbed in 15 languages before the end of the year and, in the long term, to have it translated, even if only through subtitles, into 600 languages.

At The Chosen we like to dream big. The idea of is that one billion people can see an authentic Jesus through this series. Not many audiovisual projects have achieved a billion audience, but we think and dream that they have. In fact, Derral points out that, once the first billion has been achieved, we have to go for the second one!

About The ChosWe are seeing surprising things: the reception, the success at the box office, the translations... Are there also unknown surprises?

-Every day. Things happen that surprise us. With The Chosen things are happening that we call impossible mathematics. For example, when the decision was made to show the program for free. Before the second season we had to pay for each episode because we were raising money.

In the height of the pandemic, Dallas said, "It's the time in the history of the world when people can be at home watching TV and need some light and hope. It's the time to give it away for free." Mathematically, we needed money, we were in fact raising money..., the logical answer didn't seem to be to give it away without paying. However, the moment we put it up for free more money started coming in than we had seen before. That's when the programming started to multiply and spread throughout the United States. This is one of the examples of these things that don't make sense, but they do happen in The Chosen!

Director and screenwriter, Dallas Jenkis, during filming ©Angel Studios

Another key point is the community that has been generated around The Chosenpeople who share testimonies, life changes... Did you imagine something like this?

-Never. In fact, Dallas tells the joke that when Derral gave him the crowdfunding idea he thought it was a joke. He thought it wasn't going to work and told Derral, "If we get to $800, I'd be surprised."

People donate because they want to be part of it, this is the most important thing. Obviously, the money is necessary to be able to continue producing, but it is not the most important part. The important part is that impact that has The Chosenthat changes lives, touches hearts, restores families... we have heard thousands of testimonies of lives changed through this program and it is this, this change, that people want to be a part of. They don't want to be just spectators.

There are still four more seasons to go, doesn't it make you a little dizzy?

-Every day and a lot! (laughs).

There is a lot to do, and not only that, when we reach the seventh season, there will still be many people in the world who do not know the first one, so the work is always there. For me, as director of the Americas, it makes me dizzy every day, because in the United States it has spread quite a lot but internationally, in Spain or Latin America it is not known in the same way.

Here we are as we were three years ago in the USA. There is a lot of work to be done.

More than vertigo is excitement, because, knowing what the series has done in other parts of the world, I am excited to think what it will be like in Spain, or in Latin America.

I know the ability of this content to touch many hearts.

People of different Christian sensitivities have praised and supported The Chosen. How is this kind of cinematic ecumenism achieved?

-I would say that the secret is given by the Holy Spirit to the people who are writing the script. Dallas Jenkins, Tyler Thompson and Ryan Swanson, are evangelicals and have a very deep biblical knowledge, but we know that the purpose of the program is to reach all people, from any Christian denomination or even people far from the faith. But not to "please everyone".

A very interesting thing about The Chosen is that you don't write thinking about how to "please" the dominant culture. The Chosen literally goes against the grain. The dialogues, the stories, are not written so as not to make some people angry or to please others. They want to tell the story in the best possible way and that is the most important thing, how it is received by some or others is no longer in our hands.

The day I finish (if I get there) the project of The ChosenDo you think you have opened the way to a new way of doing things in the Christian or value-based film industry?

-Definitely. I think we have opened a path to follow. The next project or title I don't know. We say that we are working on "the manna program", day by day the manna arrives and tomorrow, we don't know. What we already have is more than enough.

I don't know what other project will come out, but what I will tell you is that The Chosen It's going to be a long time and even if the time comes to focus on another project, we have opened a path that we will continue to walk. That's why we are very attentive to our social networks!

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