98-year old First Time Film Producer of “The Girl Who Believes in Miracles” says His Life is a Miracle

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Gainesville man Larry Jaffe produces his first film. Photo Courtesy of the Gainsville Sun.

*Larry Jaffe leads a charmed, quiet, and miraculous life.  He is a 98-year-old first-time film producer who holds an impressive resume. He is a graduate of Columbia University with a master’s in marketing and statistics and a magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College. Both degrees propelled him into a thriving career in marketing, all funded by the Marines due to his service.

Today, Jaffe has ventured into producing Christian faith-based movies.  His first film, “The Girl Who Believes in Miracle,” premiered before Easter and has grossed $3.1 million as claimed by The Numbers website. The movie stars Oscar® winner Mira Sorvino, Emmy® winner Peter Coyote, and Kevin Sorbo. The story focuses on the simple-but-steadfast faith of Sara Hopkins, played by Austyn Johnson, who hears a sermon from a preacher who says having faith can move mountains. So Sara implements the Sunday lesson in her life and starts praying, and miracles start happening in her sleepy small town.

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Sara Hopkins (Austyn Johnson) listens intently at church. Photo Courtesy of Atlas Distribution Company.

When asked if he felt any hesitation with financing a Christian film even though he is Jewish, he replies, “Absolutely not. I happen to be Jewish, but our religions have so much in common. There’s a lot in this movie that covers both religions. Mostly it’s a family value movie, as well as, a Christian movie. Our primary plot is about miracles, but we have a subplot that is about redemption. Redemption is very important in the Christian and Jewish religion.”

Jaffe grew up in Bronx, New York, and as a teenager, his family relocated to Stamford, Connecticut. During World War II, he enlisted in the Marines and served as a First Division member. Then, on one fateful day, the Japanese attacked his unit, and death was imminent, “We were told that 90% of us would probably die during that mission,” remembers Jaffe. “But while we were on our way, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, so our ship changed course,” he says. The miraculous aftermath spared Jaffe’s life, and he spent nine months on occupation duty in Nagasaki as the quartermaster for a US Navy Medical unit.

Faith and miraculous are not mutually exclusive for Jaffe, and he declares having faith is “Very important to me. I believe that there is a heaven, a God, and as I look forward, at 98, I don’t have too many years left, I hope I have a few, but I figure when I pass it will be onto another experience, it will not be an end. So that’s my faith.”

Jaffe believes people should be open to the idea of miracles because they happen, and he has the receipts. He tells of another incident that nearly cost his life while training to enter the Marines.  He was in the senior training class in Quantico, Virginia, a suburb of Washington D.C., when President Franklin Roosevelt died in 1945.  The master sergeant pulled the entire class out of training to participate in a program for President Roosevelt who died in D.C. When the program was over, his master sergeant instructed all the young men on a passenger train to head to Roosevelt’s estate for his burial.

“We got into the train, and it was an all-night trip. I hardly slept while sitting in my seat. When we got into the local stop, the master sergeant [told us] to get out and wash up.  In my sleepy state, I got out on the wrong side. I was walking up the track when all of a sudden, something came along. I don’t know where it came from, [it] picked me up and put me on the station platform. Seconds later, the express train came through the track I was walking on, so there was a miracle. My dad died a few months earlier, he was a very special and kind man, and I believe he was my angel that saved my life,” asserts Jaffe.

“I had faith before, and then I had an actual occurrence that proves the fact that there is a God and that there are angels and that death is not the end. So it was natural that I got involved with a movie that emphasizes miracles.”

Jaffe continues to spread miracles of his own and goodwill by using the profits from the film to fund an initiative he created, Integrated Approach to Improve Health and Education in Disadvantage Neighborhood, to help the poor and needy of East Gainesville, Florida.

Movies are not my end goal in life. My end goal in life is to try to reduce the income disparity that exists today, which I feel threatens the very fabric of our democracy. I have a plan that involves helping people in a disadvantaged community from birth till death.  I want to bring help and education. I believe education is the big opportunity to reduce income disparity,” says Jaffe. “My hope is to get enough money out of the movie business to invest in bringing people living in disadvantage communities to the point where they become villages that people want to live in.”

While slowly yet surely realizing his dream and will continue to produce more faith-based films in the future.  However, one script he is considering centers around the Black Tom explosion, thought of as the first terrorist attack on the United States on July 30, 1916, before the nation participated in World War I.

But in the meantime, Jaffe wants people to enjoy his latest labor of love, “The Girl Who Believes in Miracles,” which is now available on streaming platforms like Amazon, DirecTV, Vudu, and Dish.

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Jaffe wants people to take away from this movie because faith is so critical in our lives that we have to believe that there is a God who has created this universe and is there to help us. Therefore, we need to live our lives in a way that reflects God’s image that’s in each of us. “Each one of us should recognize our importance, and they should love their neighbor as they love themselves. You get this feeling from this movie how it is important to help others,” he fittingly concludes.

For more information visit www.thegirlwhobelievesinmiracles.com 

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Gainesville Sun
Gainesville man Laurence Jaffe, 98, produces his first film.

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