Tell the World Coming to a Screen Near You

Filmmaker Kyle Portbury directed a new full-length feature film about the history of the early Adventist church, with almost 100 actors, shot on location in an operating pioneer village in Ottawa, Canada. Tell the World was sponsored by the Australian Union Conference, and was designed to be translated into multiple languages and distributed globally. In this exclusive interview, Portbury tells Spectrum what it was like to make the movie and what he learned about our early church pioneers.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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I enjoyed this honest and informative interview. This is a film I’d like to see! Congratulations to Kyle.


I am fearful that, considering the producer and things Kyle refrained from saying, that serious omissions of matters and attitudes that were as much a part of those foundling years as those agreeable events portrayed therein, will be a dishonest portrayal of the events of the time. I am not inclined to spend a couple hours of incomplete history attempting to exonerate a faithless religion.

Trust God.


sincere disappointed people, without proper training in either Hebrew or Greek, trusting in the mystical behavior of a young girl created a new playing field. one wihich has been protected with dire means ever since. The current administration is even retrogressive in the extreme. Fortunately the outline of the third rail is clear., So some dare to preach and teach the Gospel of Grace even within the bounds of egotistic legalism. tom Z


"We desperately need Adventist storytellers who are bold in their choices and are passionate about making films that reveal God’s character to us. "

Where does one meet Adventist who reveal God’s character?,ah no doubt in the well fed actors staring in the movie; isn’t it enough to lift up Christ personally and draw all men and women to Him? Where are the hearts and mind’s of Christ? ah they appear in a cerebral , not an emotional movie , that’s what’s needed to do the work of the Holy Spirit no doubt.

Good luck with he film I shall look forward to seeing it .


Excellent article! I especially like this line, "We desperately need Adventist storytellers who are bold in their choices and are passionate about making films that reveal God’s
character to us. " because my daughter is studying doc film at AU as a freshman this year. At this year’s SONScreen Film Festival, I talked to a VP from the NAD and she said the same thing–that we needed more talented Adventist storytellers in all mediums to continue spreading the good news.

All the best as he works to develop the next gen SDA storytellers at SWC!

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I would be much more interested in the original script before it got ‘doctored’. Happy that I can recognize propaganda when I see it. Would still like to see it, though


Propaganda most definitely.

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Kyle: In your contract did you reserve the right to make a Director’s Cut? I ask this because the film you originally envisioned might be be more appropriate for a non-Australian audience. Having lived in both America and Australia for decades, I understand how the Aussie mind fears subjectivity and judges displays of feeling as “unmanly”. But if the better story has not been told in the current release I hope you will take a leaf from Oliver Stone’s play book and re-cut for a wider audience at some point.


I have seen this film at the AUC Constituency Meeting (Session) and it is a good depiction of what happened according to the pioneer’s own understandings and experiences.
The film is quite long and strives to include most of the key events in early Adventism. I suspect Kyle Portbury would have cut out some of the scenes in order to achieve a faster flowing narrative that would have focussed on the emotional core of the story. But the producers wanted to cover all the major events in considerable detail, even when some of them are more cerebral and not very visually arresting. The fact that the film still works is a testimony to Kyle’s skills as a director. The final cut is like Spielberg’s film “Lincoln” - somewhat slow in pace, but excelling in acting and thoughtfully covering the issues. Including scenes on the personal lives and challenges of the pioneers is a masterstroke - it humanises the story and ensures it does pack some emotional punch.
This is my perception of the debate over the final edit - I don’t think it was a matter of any particular theological agenda, but a debate about the amount of content and it’s pacing. I would be interested to hear what others think when they get to see the movie.

Look forward to seeing the film and making my own judgments. Like how Kyle referred to EGW as “Ellen” and not “White”. Dr. Allan Lindsay is a wise and knowledgeable adviser.

Sorry, but I wasn’t able to take much of this interview seriously after the response to the first question. There seems to be little room left for much other than self-glorification. Nothing in there about God presenting opportunity and being humbled by it.