The first four clips from Ben-Hur are now online, and a few other things we learned about the movie today

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A lot of new footage from the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur went live today.

First, the ShareBenHur.com website posted four clips from the film as part of a “faith-based” discussion guide. And then, a 20-minute montage of film clips was included in a simulcast hosted by Rick Warren and producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey that was streamed to churches and other venues across the country.

These clips give us our best look at the film yet, and they reveal some of the ways that this new version of Ben-Hur will differ from the versions that came before it.

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A virtual-reality Jesus movie is coming this Christmas from the makers of Left Behind and The Passion of the Christ

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The Jesus-movie genre is branching into a couple of high-tech formats this year.

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Is Mel Gibson making a sequel to The Passion of the Christ?

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More than one film has tried to position itself as a sequel to The Passion of the Christ.

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The Young Messiah: rounding up the other interviews

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It turns out director Cyrus Nowrasteh and producer Chris Columbus aren’t the only filmmakers who have been stumping for The Young Messiah. I now know of interviews with at least two other people who were involved with the making of the film, including co-star Sean Bean. Check ’em out below the jump.

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Watch: Four new TV spots, behind-the-scenes footage and a new featurette linking Risen to The Passion of the Christ

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It’s going to be a very Risen-heavy week here at FilmChat. The film, which stars Joseph Fiennes and Tom Felton as two Roman officers who go looking for the body of Jesus, opens next Friday, with advance screenings in some cities on Thursday night — so the studio is releasing new promotional videos on an almost daily basis.

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Watch: New featurette uses evangelical jargon to sell Risen

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If you’ve been following the arts-and-faith debate for any length of time, then you know that there is a strong, strong impulse on the part of some of the faithful to either reject the arts as something scary and ambiguous or to embrace the arts for purely utilitarian reasons. Art, it is often felt, must have a clear message — ideally one that furthers “our” agenda — and if the message in any given work of art isn’t clear, then it is something to be avoided and distrusted, lest it take us off-message.

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