‘I Am Joseph’ Film Presents a Simple, Modern Take on the Nativity

Short Film With Diverse British Cast Gives a Very Human Look at a Man Tasked With Divine Responsibility

Michael Akinsulire and Asmara Gabrielle in I Am Joseph
Michael Akinsulire and Asmara Gabrielle in "I Am Joseph." (Photo: Four8)

“I Am Joseph,” a new short film from Four8, takes a fresh look at the tumult that likely rocked a chaste and faithful Joseph when he realized that his fiancée, Mary, was pregnant before their wedding day.

The Bible doesn’t give a lot of detail about Joseph, known as the earthly father of Jesus the Christ. New Testament passages in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John only give snippets here and there about the first century figure. Apart from having a character that apparently pleased God, Joseph is primarily described as being a carpenter (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3) and “a just man” (Matthew 1:19).

It is these small details that carry over into Four8’s film centering on Joseph, the first in a series of “I Am” productions from the London-based company.

The short film, featuring a diverse cast and running just under 11 minutes, stars British Nigerian actor Michael Akinsulire (“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” and “Killing Eve”) in the title role. Staring opposite Akinsulire as Mary is Asmara Gabrielle (“Finding Fatima”), while Dk Ugonna (“Tales Retold”) portrays a mysterious character named David.

“I Am Joseph” is a simple yet smart modern take on the Nativity story that gives a brief and moving glimpse into mindset of a very human man presented with a divine responsibility — to care for the Mother of God and the Son of God.

But first Joseph–or J, as Mary calls him–has to decide if he’s going to believe his fiancée’s claims that she hasn’t been “sleeping around” and that the child she’s carrying belongs to God. Akinsulire gives a stirring performance as he channels through disbelief, anger, sadness, and when faith finally compels him forward, hope.

“I Am Joseph” was written and directed by Tomisin Adepeju and created and produced by Stephané Alexandre. Miles Ridgeway is credited as the cinematographer and John Jeanes as the editor, with Matthew Barrett and Vikki McLachlan as executive producers.

Four8 is an offshoot of Jerusalem Productions and focused on creating content “by, and for, millennials,” according to a press release. The company’s next “I Am” production, to be released in Easter, will focus on Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea who oversaw Jesus’ trial.

Watch “I Am Joseph” on YouTube if the video below is unavailable.

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Written by Nicola A. Menzie

Nicola A. Menzie is Managing Editor of Faithfully Magazine. Nicola is a religion reporter in NYC whose bylines have appeared on the websites of the Religion News Service, The Christian Post, CBS News and Vibe magazine. You can find her on Twitter @namenzie. Email: nicola.menzie (at) faithfullymagazine.com.

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