Meet John and Sarah Bolin, Creators of The Thorn
From humble beginnings to the big screen, John and Sarah Bolin have brought a dynamic and emotionally staged production to millions of people around the country, inspiring them with the struggles, sacrifice, love, and forgiveness found in the story of Christ. The name of the production, The Thorn, comes from John and Sarah’s past (from a time when they created a safe space for students to be themselves and talk about their struggles through theater) and The Crown of Thorns Jesus wore during his crucifixion.
The production is comprised of talented acrobatics, dancers, martial artists, and movement artists, who bring this story to life in a unique way. While John and Sarah loved the live performance, they contemplated a theatrical production so it could be seen by more people. Unfortunately, COVID forced a shutdown of the show, but it also gave way to the theatrical experience.
With the first-ever theatrical release of The Thorn hitting theaters nationwide March 6 & 7, we traveled to Colorado Springs to learn more about the highly anticipated cinematic experience.
When we arrived in Colorado Springs, we met John, Sarah, and their amazing staff who were busy at work preparing for the theatrical release. We walked through the set, getting a behind-the-scenes look at the logistics and costume design that will be seen on the big screen.
John and Sarah moved out to Colorado Springs 25 years ago. Originally, they wanted a Colorado life, opening an outdoor goods store in the local mall. As they became more involved with their local church, an opportunity arose for John to run a small ministry group. He wanted to do something unique, calling on his upbringing with artistic parents.
At first, the group was small, and every night the Bolins opened their outdoor goods store and created a stage where people could share their stories and learn about performing arts. As it grew and grew, John wanted to create “a drama about what Jesus did for us.” This would be the seed that eventually grew into The Thorn.
As the live show took off, they made sure to keep the production fresh with new additions every season. On average, the production has “40-50 performers that travel with [them] every year” they come from all walks of life, and from all over the world. The audition process takes weeks as the performers acclimate to the production.
In 2020, the onset of the global pandemic pushed John and Sarah to explore film. They both wanted to create films but didn’t know how to transition a live performance to the big screen. It wasn’t just about filming a single performance and bringing it to theaters for them – they wanted to create something entirely new.
John and Sarah “took five days to set up the logistics” figuring out the filming process, what elements to change, and how to successfully take it to the big screen. This became their crash course in filmmaking, and they jumped into crafting the story for film. They changed how the narration is handled, creating a new element available only in the theatrical version.
The Thorn has evolved from a stage show shot for the screen to an entertaining and stirring theatrical experience.
An Ever-Changing Experience
Similar to their live show, John and Sarah will evolve the film over time so audiences can have a new experience each time it hits theaters. Making it truly event cinema.