GOSHEN, Utah County -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has constructed a film set depicting ancient Israel, which will be a part of the church's new project about Jerusalem.
Executive Producer John Uibel of the LDS church's New Jerusalem project watched as finishing touches were made to the massive movie set, which is a replica of Jerusalem during the time of Christ.
This area, as big as it is, is rather quite tiny compared to the number of stories and types of environments we've got to create for the New Testament production.
The set spans the size of two football fields on church- owned property in Goshen and will be dressed and lit differently to help each scene look unique. The architecture is based on historical research to accurately depict the region.
"This area, as big as it is, is rather quite tiny compared to the number of stories and types of environments we've got to create for the New Testament production," Uibel said.
Rehearsals are already underway for filming, including the animal actors of donkeys, goats, camels and horses.
"These animal wranglers are actually working with the sheep for the scene of the shepherds tending their flocks. They really are tending their flocks, training the sheep to follow the shepherd," Uibel said. "They are out here every day getting ready for the shoot."
The new project won't be a full-length movie, but the film footage is expected to tell approximately 35 accounts from the New Testament to be used in future church productions.
"Every time I come out here, I am overwhelmed with joy and happiness and a sense of satisfaction that we are doing something that is really worthwhile," Uibel said. "I know this project will supply all the needs that we hoped it would."
Filming is expected to wrap up in mid-October, but actual footage won't be seen until sometime next year. The set is expected to be used as needed over the next 20 years.
The set is closed and public tours are not available.