Joni Eareckson Tada plans to mark the 50th anniversary of the diving accident that left her a quadriplegic in a wheelchair with a celebration, including a red carpet premiere of the newly-digitized film “Joni” on Sunday (Aug. 6, 2017).
“While most people wouldn’t celebrate their 50th anniversary in a wheelchair, we see this event as a true celebration of Joni’s life, and all that God has accomplished through her ministry because of her 50 years as a quadriplegic,” said Joni and Friends President and COO Doug Mazza, clarifying the reason for the festivities surrounding the digitized film’s Premiere.
“So we thought this timing for the ‘Joni’ digitization and Red Carpet Premiere couldn’t be better, and we wanted to mark the occasion with fanfare as well as recognition for others who have been used by God in disability ministry, including our great friend Pastor Shawn Thornton.”
Joni and Friends contracted with Fotokem to complete the digitization, and has exclusive rights to show the film for one year, before Worldwide Pictures assumes distribution rights.
“We appreciate our friends at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for their cooperation on this project, and look forward to seeing how Joni’s story will be further used to reach people for Christ,” Mazza added. “I have seen some clips of the digitized film and it is beautiful; I pray even more people will be able to view the movie and be impacted by this new, enhanced version.”
In addition to the film screening of the 1979 movie, Tada will share stories from the making of the film in the starring role in which she had to re-live her accident.
Tada recently wrote in an article published at The Gospel Coalition: “It sounds incredible, but I really would rather be in this wheelchair knowing Jesus as I do than be on my feet without him. But whenever I try to explain it, I hardly know where to begin.
“Yet I know this: I’m in the zone whenever I infuse Christ-encouragement into the hearts of people like Tommy (17-year-old boy who broke his neck body surfing off the Jersey shore. He’s now a quadriplegic). It feels so right to agonize alongside them. Better yet, to participate in their suffering in the spirit of 2 Corinthians 1:6: “If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation.”
Along with Tada, others involved in the making of the film plan to be in attendance. Calvary Community Church pastor Shawn Thornton will emcee the event and interview Tada before the audience.
“Doing the movie wasn’t the smooth, easy process I thought it would be, but I learned a lot, including that the closer I got to Jesus, the more I found out who I was supposed to be,” Tada said. “It had always been my prayer that as people witnessed the struggle of a young girl coming to terms with her hardships and gaining trust in God, hundreds of thousands would embrace Jesus Christ for the first time. I pray this digitized version of the film will have the same impact on a new generation.”
The premiere is scheduled to be held at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village at 6:00 pm. Guests are encouraged to arrive at 5:30 pm to experience the red carpet.
Directions to the church are available here: http://www.calvarycc.org/maps-directions
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Information for this article was provided by A. Larry Ross Communications.