Miracles abound in the Christian film “The Girl Who Believes in Miracles”, but perhaps the film’s most miraculous thing, which debuted just before Easter, is its producer: Larry Jaffe.
Jaffe is 98 years old and it was his very first foray into cinema.
Oh, and he’s a Jew.
“I have a lot of Jewish friends who have seen the movie and they feel really good and uplifted about it,” Jaffe said. “We need good things to happen to us after this year of isolation that the pandemic has caused.”
In the film, young Sara Hopkins, after hearing a preacher promise that faith can move mountains, begins to pray. Miracles begin to happen: a bird is mysteriously healed, and all of a sudden people all over the city are healed of their diseases, their misery and their misfortune.
But all this attention becomes overwhelming and begins to take its toll on Sara. Can her family step in and save her before it’s too late? Jaffe promises plenty of dramatic twists throughout the film.
“It’s a story of miracles,” Jaffe said, slipping effortlessly into the kind of presentation his new profession demands.
Jaffe’s own account includes some miracles of his own. It’s not everyday that a 98-year-old becomes a film producer for the first time, delivering a film starring Oscar® winner Mira Sorvino, Emmy® winner Peter Coyote and Kevin Sorbo.
About six years ago, Jaffe was trying to help a friend get his screenplay produced. After the usual ups and downs, they met screenwriter Michael Mercier, who shared his screenplay for “The Girl Who Believes in Miracles”.
“I had a dramatic reaction to this. It really touched me, ”Jaffe remembers.
Jaffe grew up in the Bronx, then moved with his family to Stamford Connecticut as a teenager. He served in the Marines during World War II. As a member of the Premier League, Jaffe was about to attack Japan.
“We were told that 90% of us would probably die during this mission,” he said. “But while we were on our way, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, so our ship changed course,” Jaffe said.
This change of event saved his life. Jaffe spent nine months on occupation duty in Nagasaki as the quartermaster of a US Navy medical unit. Courtesy of the Marines, Jaffe received his Masters in Marketing and Statistics from Columbia University and graduated with Distinction from Dartmouth College. He then pursued a brilliant career in marketing.
Jaffe said his long involvement in his synagogue’s social action committee,Shir Shalom Temple in Gainesville, Florida, inspired him to make the film.
Profits from the film, he hopes, will fund a major initiative to help the poor through a program he created, Integrated Approach to Improve Health and Education in Underprivileged Neighborhoods, which he wants to implement. works for her needy and deserving neighbors in East Gainesville.
“I consider making this film a link to my ultimate goal in life,” he said. “I believe the growing income disparity in our country has the potential to destroy our democracy.
Meanwhile, Jaffe already has two scripts he’s working on with several potential investors. When asked to come into the movie industry later in life – much later – Jaffe said, “It’s because the opportunities didn’t come until she was 92. I have been working there ever since. You are never too old to start something new and be successful.