Posted by: calloftheandes | November 5, 2015

Videos to Feature Fingers as Bible Characters Speaking Middle East Languages

Photo shows satellite use in a poor neighborhood in Lebanon (SAT-7 photo)

Photo shows satellite use in a poor neighborhood in Lebanon (SAT-7 photo)

A children’s video series featuring fingers as Old Testament characters will be dubbed into three Middle Eastern languages that will air across the region via the satellite television network, SAT-7, according to the series’ dramatic director, John Gowan.

Deditos (Little Fingers) has been produced in Guatemala since 2004. The series director, José Abel de la Cruz, is also the executive director of Asociación Viña. “He and others at Viña saw the need for children’s programming that could be used by churches with programs in Cakchiquel—one of more than 21 Mayan languages,” said Gowan who serves with his wife, Sharon, at Reach Beyond.

“The first episode of Deditos, ‘David and Goliath,’ was actually in Cakchiquel—not Spanish,” Gowan explained, adding that the Viña staff and board had long envisioned quality content for children in local churches.

“The overwhelming positive response to that first pilot episode led to the realization that the series shouldn’t be limited to Cakchiquel speakers only,” Gowan continued. “So the production switched to Spanish so the series could be more easily dubbed into other Mayan languages and even be considered for local cable TV.”

This change—made prior to Gowan’s involvement (in 2009)—has proven fortuitous for his work on the project. He had grown up speaking Spanish in Ecuador, the son of Reach Beyond retirees Travis and Margaret Gowan.

Jose Abel De la Cruz providing background extras with his fingers

Jose Abel De la Cruz providing background extras with his fingers

Gowan initially advised de la Cruz’s staff on improvements to lighting, production and dramatic aspects of shows already produced. Then, after staff considerations, his continued guidance saw the video series rewritten, reshot and edited.

While his Spanish facilitated the training of staff members to meet video industry standards, more recently it helped him and the Viña staff to translate the script to make an English-language version of episode 7, “God and His People in the Wilderness.” It dramatizes God’s miracles among the children of Israel as they wandered and eventually entered the land that He had promised to them.

John gives final tips for shooting a Jericho street scene.

John Gowan gives final tips for shooting a Jericho street scene.

In turn, this and other episodes of Deditos are to be put into the languages of Farsi, Turkish and Arabic for international broadcasts by SAT-7, a ministry based in the Middle East. Farsi is a leading language spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. SAT-7 anticipates translating all 15 programs in the series for use on the satellite network.

As a one-time theater performance professor at Westmont College in California, Gowan finds fulfillment as he trains minority groups wanting to dub Deditos into their own languages. Dubbing and broadcast partnership opportunities are in development for South and Central America, Mexico, Romania, Germany, Bulgaria, India, Thailand and the Philippines.

It thrills Gowan as he anticipates the series airing on “satellite broadcasts throughout the very region where the stories first happened.”

More information is available on the website, including Spanish-language Deditos episodes with English subtitles.

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon watch SAT-7

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon watch SAT-7


  1. […] media outlet for “boosting cinematography through the work years ago of John Gowan.” She said Gowan’s production “was for me an impetus, as was also, the Christian Center of Communications […]

  2. […] Beyond retirees Travis and Margaret Gowan recall meeting Marian and John while they were fellow students in Denver before eventually serving […]

  3. […] feature as Deditos begins enjoying broader distribution. The video series was recently picked up to be dubbed into three languages for use in the Middle East on broadcasts carried by a satellite television network, […]

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