Christian artist Jeremy Camp shares how the true story is a moving testament to faith and love.
Posted in , Mar 11, 2020
Known for hit songs like “Walk by Faith” and “Overcome,” this March, fans of Christian singer Jeremy camp will get the backstory behind one of his most famous songs I Still Believe, when the movie of the same name hits the big screen.
Camp has been married to musician Adrienne Liesching, the former frontwoman for the Christian band The Benjamin Gate, since 2003. However, the new movie about his life portrays the heartbreaking story of his first marriage.
The film follows a young Camp (played by Riverdale’s KJ Apa), as he falls in love and finds out that his girlfriend Melissa (Britt Robertson) had ovarian cancer. Melissa died three months after they were married. Weeks later, Camp wrote the affirming anthem I Still Believe, which was nominated for a Dove Award in 2004, the same year he won New Artist of the Year. The movie is an inspiring story of love and faith made by the same team behind the surprise hit I Can Only Imagine and features Shania Twain and Guideposts cover star Gary Sinise as Camp's parents.
Guideposts.org spoke with Camp about how the movie came about, what it was like to see his life portrayed on big screen and what he hopes moviegoers take away from his story.
Guideposts.org: For those who haven’t yet had the chance to see the film, how would you describe I Still Believe?
Jeremy Camp: [It’s about] someone falling in love and what true love is. It's [about] walking with somebody when they're going through hardships, not leaving in the midst of those hardships.
It’s also a story of God’s love and God’s redemption is all throughout this film. You see the story of the love between a man and a woman, but you're going to walk out understanding the love of God and His goodness. That’s what gets me excited about it.
GP: This part of your story happened almost two decades ago. Were you hesitant about turning it into a movie or was that an answer to prayer?
JC: Of course, I thought it sounded amazing. My wife and I had the attitude of, “Okay, God, if you want this to happen, we won’t have to push.” When the movie did end up happening, I was excited because we felt like it was a door God opened and so we were going to walk through it.
GP: How involved were you in the process of making the movie?
JC: I was pretty involved. The [filmmakers] did hours of interviews with me and my wife. During filming, we were there probably 80 percent of the time because we really wanted to be involved in every aspect. The most amazing thing about it is we didn't really have to do much because everything was done so well.
GP: Was there anything in particular you really wanted to make sure the film emphasized or captured about your story?
JC: I really wanted to make sure that they understood the raw aspect and the real grief aspect of everything. It was not cookie cutter, ‘it’s all good and we’re going to trust the Lord.” It’s real, raw and honest. It had to show that to be authentic because that's what happened. There were moments of weakness, moments of just crying out, moments of anger, all that. I wanted to show those moments, too.
GP: What was it like seeing the finished movie for the first time?
JC: It wasn't an easy...I mean it's amazing but it's just emotional. This is the hardest trial I've ever been through in life. And so, to bring it back up, and to display it on film, and to kind of relive it in a sense was definitely a challenge. You know, the ups and downs of emotions, and battles I had to deal with because of it. But it's worth it knowing that it's going to touch people's lives and encourage a lot of people to draw closer to the Lord.
GP: The title of the movie comes from the title of your song “I Still Believe.” Can you share the background of that song?
JC: I think the reason why it became a focal piece of the film is that that was the first song I wrote after my wife died. I was really having a hard day and just... I mean, big time grief, big time, just anger. All these emotions that were happening. I remember I was sitting down and I felt like God was saying, "Pick your guitar up."
I finally picked my guitar up, and what came out was that chorus. I was feeling all these emotions but I said, "But I still believe in your faithfulness. I still believe in your truth, I still believe in your Holy word. Even when I cannot see, I still believe." That's what came out. And then I started writing the emotions of how I was feeling and it starts off saying, "Scattered words and empty thoughts seem to pour from my heart. I've never felt so torn before seems I don't know where to start."
I was very raw and honest, but the thing that I landed on was: I still believe.
GP: What do you hope people take away from the movie?
JC: The one thing I don't hope they take away from it is that like, "Oh, it's a great movie about Jeremy Camp." That's not what we want. I want people to walk away saying, "I have the feeling of hope. I want to go and fall more in love with Jesus." That's my desire. Because everyone faces trials, no matter if you follow the Lord or not. Everyone faces trials, and to say He is the answer, and the hope, and the way to everything. That's what I want to portray.
I Still Believe is in theaters everywhere March 13.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and content.