Image Credit: Hope Studios

Cinema Evangelism Sparks New Conversations

Kyle Portbury, filmmaker, has a gift to share with the world, and you have an active part in sharing this gift.

Portbury is the writer, director and producer behind The Hopeful, a 90-minute film that shares the Adventist Church origin story. The Hopeful will be released to more than 1,000 theaters on April 17 and 18, 2024.

If you’ve watched the six-part Tell the World miniseries, the storylines and a few scenes may seem familiar to you.

“You couldn't have The Hopeful without Tell the World,” Portbury said during a screening conversation with Pacific Northwest leaders in March. The two projects were filmed at the same time and edited to present distinct narratives. “Now, in 2024, The Hopeful is one Adventist giving his love letter to his roots.”

Cinema evangelism is a unique avenue for community engagement and outreach, using films to spark meaningful conversations about faith and life.

Portbury’s intentionality is evident in the way he crafted The Hopeful, not just as a film, but as a tool for personal evangelism and community engagement.

“Imagine you've known a friend for years, but you've never really talked about your faith with them. It can feel awkward to suddenly bring it up. Cinema evangelism offers a unique chance to change that,” he said. “Who wouldn't want to say yes to a movie and dinner with friends?”

The Hopeful offers a platform for discussing disappointment, pain, loss, grief, mental health, community building and grace in grief. It presents real people and emotions that resonate with viewers, sparking introspection and deeper conversations.

“You will be able to have these wonderful engagements because people aren't seeing something that's trying to teach or preach to them in The Hopeful,” Portbury said. “They will be seeing real people in a storyline who are really experiencing the same things that they do in life. And they will be asking, 'How can I work past the disappointments in my life?'”

Hope Studios, a new cinematic arm of Hope Channel International, is investing in film projects to increase awareness and understanding of the Adventist faith through creative storytelling. An upcoming project, in partnership with Walla Walla University Center for Media Ministry, will be a 10-part series with personal stories of resilience.

“I’m very happy to see where Hope Studios is taking cinematic evangelism,” said Matt Webster, WWU Center for Media Ministry producer and director of studio operations.

Already, Portbury is personally seeing the impact beyond the storyline through his interactions with the cast, crew, investors and industry partners.

The diverse crew of more than 200 included individuals, like a Buddhist editor or atheist assistant director, who respectfully challenged Portbury on different aspects of the story, making the project stronger.

"When the crew is asking you to tell them about the Sabbath just as you’re sitting there working on the scene, you become an evangelist without even realizing it," Portbury reflected. "It was very natural and organic and not weird at all. The concept of the Sabbath was very appealing to them."

Tickets are now available at where you can purchase individual or group tickets in sets of 25.

The Hopeful aims to keep audiences engaged through local church or school screens and additional faith-sharing assets, such as a new Steps to Christ audio recording, all available via

"The film is a perfect excuse to engage with your community," Portbury concluded. “It's an opportunity for you as an individual church member to engage with people in your community who are already in your sphere of influence and then share with them on a deeper level.”

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Featured in: May/June 2024