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‘Sound of Hope’ Director Reveals the “Secret” Behind the Film

This Fourth of July, Angel Studios is releasing “Sound of Hope,” an amazing film based on the true story of a church in a small Texas town that adopted 77 children. Glenn speaks with the film’s director, producer, and writer, Joshua Weigel, to get the behind-the-scenes details: How did he discover this story? Why did he want to turn it into a film? And what “secret” did he discover at Possum Trot that he hopes all Americans take away from this movie?


Below is a rush transcript that may contain errors

GLENN: I am so excited to talk to our guest. We have some really good, hopeful things to share with you here.

But also, our guest is Josh, you may not know his name. But you may know his work.

It's brilliant work. He is the guy responsible for a short film called The Butterfly Circus, which if you've never seen, you must. He got the -- what was it, the Clint Eastwood film maker award, presented by Clint Eastwood, at the caramel film festival for this. It's really, really good. He's got a new movie out. And it is called the Sound of Hope. And it's from Angel Studios." I'll play just a real quick (?) 32nd clip from it. Here it is. Here it is.

VOICE: Are you sure these people want us?

VOICE: I know they do.


VOICE: Lord.

VOICE: No! No. No!

VOICE: Wrap arms around the most vulnerable. Then where are we at?

GLENN: So it comes out tomorrow, it's in theaters nationwide. And it's called the Sound of Hope. And it is about a Texas church, that adopted 77 kids that no one wanted in the foster care system. It's a true story. And unbelievable. And the guy to tell it is Josh HEP Wiegl. Hi, Josh.

JOSH: Hi, Glenn. Thanks for having me. All that you said, amazing.

GLENN: Oh. I mean, I just love your work. Just love your work. So how did you find the story of this church?

JOSH: Thank you. Well, my wife and I had adopted. And she was working very much in that space in Los Angeles.

And so she ran across the story. And met bishop Martin. And long story short. We felt like, this story had to be told, in a movie if possible.

And so we just, again, that journey. Especially after hearing the kid's stories. It just wrecked me.

GLENN: Horrible. Yeah.

JOSH: I felt like, it's a tough one. To get on screen with all the characters.

But we just dug in and felt like, it needed to be done.

GLENN: I tell you, I have several friends who were -- grew up in the foster care system, and their stories are just nightmares. I mean, it's not HEP Chewchetska.

But it's really a horrible system, that we have many, many times.

And I just -- just in seeing the way you portray some of the trauma from these kids. And the things that the families had to deal with.

I mean, it -- it wasn't -- it's not all rosy.

I mean, it was -- it's hard work. To take kids who have been beaten and abused in a foster care system.

And bring them into your home.

ANDREW: That's right. So these kids in particular. All kids (?) go through extreme trauma just by losing their family and anything related to that. It's just power fully hurtful.

These kids, (?) so that was kids who were heavily traumatized physically or sexually abused. Sibling sets. You know, they hate to break up sets of kids, which is fantastic. They try to keep them together. But it's really hard to place a lot of the time because of that.

Or teenagers, you know, we kind of have -- if people want to do this often, like the younger ones, they're less scary, I guess. You know, it feels like, they won't be as much to deal with.

But it is -- they took on the ones that no one wanted. Which was what really made this story stand out to me.

I felt like, you know, if they can do this. This little average community of people, have the courage to just dive in, when they saw this problem, then, you know, we can all do something.

GLENN: How big is the town of possum trot?

JOSH: Yeah. So it's not even an official town. It's an area. They called it possum trot for years. Which is weird. (?) people might be surprised. Kansas City. When they're thinking of a name of Kansas City.

(?) it must have been a big teal. Way back when.

GLENN: Okay. So it's not -- how much -- how many -- the population of possum trot, compared to this church, which seems pretty small.

I mean, 77 kids. Yeah. How many people were involved in this.

JOSH: The area, probably has three or 400 people. That's sprawling. That's miles is. Miles of area. Considered possum trot.

And so this community is more condensed in terms of the people who were involved and the church itself.

You know, probably has, you know, now I don't know. Seventy-five members or something. It's not a big church.

So, you know, they imagine that. All those kids. And what that did to just the number of people.

The growth that happened so rapidly. Then you have kids that are struggling. So it was a big thing to take on.

GLENN: So what was the secret, that you found, that Possum Trot, that we should all take away?

JOSH: Well, I think on a humanity, human level. We see problems all around us.

And so often, just leave it to others to deal with. Especially the government. Something-something like this.

Well, there's a foster system. Surely, they will take care of it.

But these are human children.

This is nothing that a -- a government should be primarily responsible, in terms of raising the kids.

You know, so I think we have to do -- follow the lead of this community. On one level. And just go, look, there are problems that we can solve.

We must solve them. You don't need to leave them to another.

If you're someone -- this is a Christian church. That's a whole other layer of responsibility and heart.

You -- I think many of us in that place, feel probably even more compelled, to meet the needs of these kids. Then we have Scriptures actually teaching us.

James 1:27. Go and visit and take care of the needs of the orphans and widows. Not just keep yourself pure and unspotted from the world.

There's this need to take action and do things in the name of Jesus. And follow his footsteps. That's my feeling.

Then the community. You know, we -- we had an opportunity, like I said. And it's difficult, no matter what you do.

But when you don't have a community around you. It's much, much harder. And this community, that's the secret there.

Like, their family. It's one big family. Extended family, friends, they all do life together. So these kids came into a very strong community and structure that they know is always there for them. They could always come back to.

And just embrace them, you know. Just all of these different people. Whether they're -- they adopted the children or not, it's just a lot of people around, to become that family.

GLENN: To get back together. So the -- the -- you know, I think our churches have become more theoretical. And, you know, church has become a building, and it's -- it's not meant to be a building. You know, when they talk about it in the Scriptures.

And they say the church. They don't mean the building. They mean the people that are following.

JOSH: That's right.

GLENN: And can a Christian. A true Christian is really hard. (?) not because it makes you unpopular. But because there's so much required to do. That most of us are just like, yeah. Well, I -- you know, I will write a check.

I will help out.

That's not what this is.

And this is truly about building \community\impudent\impunity. And doing the things, you don't want to do.

But you're required to do. And you're ride to do it with joy.

And, man, sometimes that sucks. You know.

JOSH: Well, I mean, that's a powerful reality.

And I think what's so -- so interesting, and honestly, I think the -- the silver lining in that is that as you are called spew these hard things. And I'm (?) just talking about Christians.

I think humans.

You know, we have a conscience.

But you've got people saying, they're following Jesus, in particular.

And they ought to do the things that Jesus did. And follow where he goes.

And he's always going to the broken things.

And we were all broken, right?

So it's -- there is that part of it, that kind of sounds like, jeez, do I really have to do this.

Can I just -- America, with the white picket fence.

The answer, of course, is no.

And what happens, in my experience. Once you step into it. You have everything you need. I think we hear the word grace a lot. I think that's a big part of what we mean by it.

That God will meet you, with what you need, when you step in.

Maybe not even before. You might have to step into it first. And then all of a sudden, you are -- you are full of everything you need.


JOSH: And it's a struggle. I mean, what the things that disturb us the most, in this world, I -- I feel, a responsibility as a Christian, to do what I can to resolve them.

That's what it means to be light and salt. And all these things. We're metaphorically, you know, talked about as.

And I think that's something that's missing right now in America.

It's beautiful. We have incredible blessings. Thank God for them. The world has been blessed by America.

More than anything else. Who I am?

And so at the same time, it can lull you to sleep. It can numb you.

It can make you put off this comfort, that you ought to bare. So we made this movie to highlight that.

The community actually stepped in and did hard stuff, like we all should do. And they were met with what they needed.

Can and then, you know, we could talk about the movie too. It's a movie.

It's not just a pill. A pill to swallow.

GLENN: No. It's great.

Yeah. So let me just spend one minute just on that.

We -- I'm sure you remember, Josh, when Christian films were just the worst.

They were the worst. And we have made such incredible progress.

At such a fast, rapid rate. And the industry is changing. And you can now tell your friends who aren't necessarily Christian. You've got to go see this movie.

And it's not a preacher., you know, it's not a preachy kind of -- I want to convert you and get you baptized. It's a good movie first.

What's changed? How much has this changed, to get us from where we were just a few years ago, to here?

ANDREW: Yeah. There's a lot, I think. (?) I can mostly (?) just refusing to do things that aren't -- that you can't do withly.

You know, and I think you have to expect a certain level of ability and excellence and skill. And you also have to know and understand the art form, so that you don't misuse it. It's been so used as a tool to preach and spread messages, rather than let it be what it is.

And bring all the great things to it. As a movie. So that people actually enjoy a movie. And for this one, I insist odd that. It's just how we work.

It's like, if we're going to go make a movie, then it ought to be all of the great things that we want and love. And bring us into those theaters. And keep bringing us back.

So I think it's critical. If you like Christian movies, I think you'll like this movie.

It's got a ton of Jesus and all the rest. But, you know, I don't even look at it as a Christian movie.

It's so based on the real world, authenticity was a big discussion throughout. Like we have got to capture the real story. These kids -- what they lived through. What these families dealt with.

So the acting. It's like, there's so much that's worked. That's come together.

That has imbued it with this powerful authenticity. And what we're seeing is dramatic results. I mean, people are so moved, as a creator.

It's -- it's the best thing you can do. But just -- in all kinds of the different ways. Kids who have gone through it. Who have grown up. Are now experiencing a movie. And having a powerful, emotional experience.

And just go down the line.

So it's judge-something that I think you will really (?) love the experience of the movie. We're not saying, hey. Please, help us out.

Go see our movie. Swallow this bitter pill. It's like, no.

GLENN: It's a good movie.

ANDREW: It's a good movie. It's tough (?) to say. You will enjoy it.

GLENN: It's one of those movies you walk away, feeling better. You know, I love movies where you can walk away from it and say, wow. I mean, feel so good. That was such a great experience. You know. And you've captured that. Joshua, thank you so much. Thank you for all you do. If you would like to see this movie. It is out this weekend. You can get tickets now, at Find a theater near I. Grab your tickets now.

(?) take your family. Take your friends.

It's a great -- you want partisanship the Lord gives you independence. And this film (?) will show you, the path to real spiritual independence.

And it's just an entertaining and really good story, sort of way.

The sound of hope, the story of Possum Trot. It releases tomorrow, grab your tickets now. At

Joshua, thank you. God bless.

JOSH: Thank you, Glenn. Appreciate you so much.

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