Following its one-night debut in more than 500 theaters around the country earlier this spring, “This Is Winter Jam” comes home to DVD today, June 7, from Word Films. Featuring unforgettable performances from Skillet, for KING & COUNTRY, Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli, NewSong, Building 429 and Family Force 5, among others, the 90-minute documentary offers an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s biggest tours.
In addition to candid interviews with tour artists (past and present), fans and crewmembers, “This Is Winter Jam” showcases such memorable moments as road pastor Bobby Joiner’s life-changing encounter with a venue security guard and an exclusive look at "Jam Church," the intimate backstage worship service held each Sunday. In keeping with the mission of Winter Jam, tour evangelist Tony Nolan offers a direct presentation of the Gospel to close the film.
NewSong's Russ Lee recently took a few moments to talk with us about his favorite part of the "This Is Winter Jam" film, what he hopes fans take away from the DVD, and future Winter Jam plans. For further information, please visit wordfilms.com.
Take us back to the first time you saw "This Is Winter Jam" in theaters. What was that experience like?
It was really fun! My wife and I brought our Bible study group of high school students, and most of them had been to Winter Jam beforehand. It was also fun talking to the moviegoers afterwards who recognized me and we shared the camaraderie of attending Winter Jam.
Did you ever think you would see the day that Winter Jam was transferred to film?
Was there a particular part of the film that you enjoyed most of all?
I actually liked the parts where Eddie Carswell and the tour’s promoter, Roy Morgan, spoke about the history of Winter Jam. It reminded me of God's faithfulness through all these years. I also loved the backstage footage because it really showed how we become a Winter Jam family each year.
How important was it for NewSong to include the backstage view, in particular the footage of Jam Church, in the movie?
I think it was very important. Jam Church is part of what makes the tour stand out, because we are not just a community of musicians, but a Community of Christ followers.
Was there any portion of Winter Jam that didn't make the film?
Sure. There's a whole lot more behind-the-scenes work that takes place both in the office and on the tour— whether it's handling a crisis, or a bus breakdown, or all the hard work and planning that goes into Winter Jam before we even hit the road.
What do you hope people take away from the movie experience, now that it can be watched more 'on demand' with the DVD release?
I hope they will not miss the heart and message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is the driving force behind Winter Jam. Perhaps people will bring their friends over to watch who haven't had a chance to attend Winter Jam. It’s our prayer they might have an opportunity to hear the Gospel and start a conversation with their friends about Christ.
Now that you've had this experience, would NewSong be open to filming another DVD with other shows or future Winter Jam tours?
Never say never.
Looking ahead to Winter Jam 2017, how is the planning going for the new set of artists?
We are currently working hard to make it the best Winter Jam ever! Please pray for us as we plan!
[Image courtesy of Jason Davis/Getty Images]