‘Journey to Bethlehem’ is Adam Anders’ feature directorial debut with a musical retelling of the tale of Mary, Joseph, and the birth of Jesus Christ. The Christmas musical celebration tells the story of a young woman entrusted with the great responsibility of bearing the “Divine King” and the choice her betrothed makes between honor and love. Their journey is made perilous by King Herod, who sees the birth of such a ruler as a threat upon his reign. The musical takes place canonically in Nazareth and Bethlam, with stunning visuals of a quaint village surrounded by arid hills, houses made of sandstone, and even a beach. Such a seemingly historical backdrop makes you wonder about the filming locations of the movie.
Journey to Bethlehem Was Filmed in Spain
Shooting for ‘Journey to Bethlehem’ did not take place in the Holy Land, but in multiple locations within Spain. The country is home to verdant forests and snow-covered Pyrenees mountains in the northern regions to Almería’s arid desert landscapes, these diverse backdrops have been a source of inspiration for artists and are now increasingly attracting international film productions searching for fresh shooting locations.
The film was largely shot in and around Almería, a city and municipality located in the southeast of Spain, within the Andalucía autonomous region. Being adjacent to a small desert, Almería has a dry climate and arid landscape, which suited the movie perfectly. El Chorrillo, Pechina, is a desolate area in the foothills of the Sierra Alhamilla Mountains, north of Almeria. It was used to create the set for Nazareth, and the same set was used to portray Bethlehem. The location is also known for the filming of ‘Exodus: Kings and Gods’ as well as in ‘Game of Thrones’ to create the Dothraki village Daenerys is married into.
Our amazing Nazareth set by day, and Bethlehem at dusk. We scouted the Holy Land before shooting so I had in my mind’s eye exactly what it looked like. It was really special seeing these sets come alive. #journeytobethlem #newmovie #spain #BTS #setlife pic.twitter.com/AvHYDpQQou
— Adam Anders (@AdamAnders) October 26, 2023
Playa de Monsul, southwest of San José, is a distinctly recognizable filming destination, with a tranquil beach flanked by volcanic rocks. Due to its remote location and difficult terrain, it has been overlooked for tourism development, leaving it as a blessing to artists and filmmakers. Adam Anders uses this location to show the characters traveling on camelback on their journey to Bethlehem. The landscape also served as a shooting site for ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’.
— Adam Anders (@AdamAnders) October 20, 2023
Santa Bárbara Castle sits on Mount Benacantil, located in the middle of Alicante. The 9th-century castle’s ancient walls serve as an ideal backdrop for King Herod’s fort, from which he sets out in pursuit of Mary and Joseph. The stronghold has also been used in the films ‘The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge’ and ‘Asterix at the Olympic Games.’
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