"Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath" is a short student film made by director Alisa Anglesey in 1996. It is just 12 minutes long, but is an impressive, gorgeous-looking work.
The story is taken directly from 1 Kings, chapter 17 in the Old Testament: The prophet Elijah meets a poor widow and asks her to bring him some water and prepare him some bread. Despite the fact that she thinks she and her son are about to starve to death for lack of food or money, she does as Elijah asks. After feeding Elijah, she finds that, miraculously, her containers of oil and grain do not run out, and she can feed her son and herself.
Anglesey wrote the screenplay, produced, and directed "Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath" while a film student at Brigham Young University. She clearly had access to adequate funding, costuming, soundstages, etc., because everything about the sound or look of the film is professional-quality. Every scene looks like it could have come from a Hollywood-funded feature film made by an accomplished director.
In 1998 Anglesey won a national CINE Award for "Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath." She also won a CINE Award for her film "The Good Samaritan." CINE recognizes the highest quality non-theatrical film and video productions throughout the country, awarding Golden Eagles to select films chosen from over one thousand entrants annually.
Starring as "the widow" is Carrie Morgan. Moviegoers will recognize Ms. Morgan as the female lead from Richard Dutcher's critically acclaimed feature film "Brigham City" (2001). Morgan played "Peg," Sheriff Clayton's sleuthing secretary. Morgan's talent as an actress is evident after seeing her as the widow of Zarephath: her part here as the downtrodden Israelite could hardly be more different from the gregarious role she played in "Brigham City."
Robert Nelson co-stars as the prophet Elijah. Nelson also had a starring role in Bruce Neibaur's Feature Films for Families production "In Your Wildest Dreams" (1991).
"Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath" ably recreates a busy market scene from Old Testament times, even using Hebrew-language dialog. After scenes which set up the widow's desperate plight, she finally meets Elijah. They converse, not in Hebrew, however, but in English. The switch in languages is unexpected and jarring, but is the only major flaw in the film. It actually is nice to understand the English language conversation, with dialogue from the King James Bible. But the film should have been consistent: using English in the opening scenes, or using sub-titles with Hebrew dialogue throughout the film.
Despite this minor complaint, "Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath" is an impressively produced and directed work of filmmaking. The beautiful cinematography and carefully considered lighting help to show off the superbly designed sets and authentic-seeming costuming. The acting is restrained and seems perfect for the story. The whole film is an impressive accomplishment, especially given what must have been a limited budget. One can only hope that Anglesey will helm full-length feature films in the future.
"Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath" has been available by itself on videotape, and is currently included on at least two compilation videotapes available online, as well as in Latter-day Saint and general Christian bookstores. The 1999 BYU-produced video "No Greater Faith: Stories From the Bible" includes "Elijah" as well as three other short films: Anglesey's "The Good Samaritan", Karl Bowman's "Akedah: The Binding" (about Abraham), and Adam Anderegg's "The Touch."
Two Anglesey films can also be found on "Treasured Stories of the Golden Rule", a compilation video from Candlelight Media. Along with "Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath", this video also includes Anglesey's 1999 contemporary short "In Time of Need" (starring Ruth Hale, Lincoln Hoppe and Page Hoppe), and Ryan Little's award-winning "The Last Good War" (set in World War II, starring Lincoln Hoppe and Christian Bell).
|Jensen Morgan||Widow's Son|
|Walter Wright||Gate Merchant|
|Shane Seggar||Rich Young Man|
|Munn Powell||Director of Photography
|Kelly Mecham||Director of Photography
|Brandon Christensen||1st Assistant Camera|
|Christina Cardenas||1st Assistant Camera|
|Nathan Phillips||2nd Assistant Camera
|Ricky Acker||2nd Assistant Camera
|Spencer Filichia||Key Grip|
|Russ Kendall||1st Assistant Director|
|Marc Chapuis||1st Assistant Director
2nd Assistant Director
|Jeremy Williams||2nd Assistant Director|
|Alice Blancett||Script Supervisor|
|Becky deMilk||Continuity Assistant
|Carol Ann Anglesey||Production Assistant|
Hebrew Dialogue Coach
|Kendall Wilcox||Art Director
|Ruth Ann Beardall||Set Decorator
2nd Assistant Camera
|Rhett Bautista||Swing Gang|
|Shane Seggar||Swing Gang|
|John Uibel||Storyboard Artist|
|Eli Despain||Pre-storyboard Artist|
|Curtis Despain||Cover Design|
|Shari Ohman||Wardrobe Coordinator
|Esther Allen||On-set Wardrobe|
|Mary Alison Davis||Makeup/Hair|
|Fran Anglesey||Craft Service|
|Ben Anglesey||Craft Service|
|Natalie Tinney||Craft Service|
|Michael Bailey||MIDI Lab Technician|
|Pete Czerny||Student Advisor|
|Sharon Beaty||Production Scheduling|
|Bruce Sundstrom||Construction Advisor|
|Randy Champion||Construction Advisor|
|Geoffrey Neyman||Set Construction|
|John Taylor||Post Production Manager|
|David Nauta||Film Lab|
|Chuck Hale||Film Lab|
|Hal Farrer||Film Lab|
|Wynn Hougaard||Avid Off-line Editor|
|Kelly Peterson||Special Effects|
|Rob Morton||On-line Editor|
|Michael Chadbourne||Post Production Audio|