The True Story Behind I STILL BELIEVE

Jeremy Camp (played by K.J. Apa) smiles and plays a guitar as he sits across from Melissa Henning (played by Britt Robertson) on a sunny day outside in the movie I Still Believe (2020)

Young love and endless devotion are at stake in I Still Believe, a story that serves as a powerful reminder that in the midst of life’s storms, true hope can be found. This inspiring love story for the ages is even more powerful when considering the true story from the life of Christian singer/songwriter Jeremy Camp upon which it is based.

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Jeremy Camp is a Grammy®-nominated Christian singer and songwriter with nearly five million sold albums to his name. The chart-topping musician’s first major label full-length album came in 2003, and the fourth single from that album, “I Still Believe,” became the second top ten single of his young career. However, it’s not under the bright lights of a stage that serves as the basis for the song’s namesake movie. Instead, this story begins during Jeremy’s first night at college.

Destiny struck Jeremy Camp when he spotted a beautiful woman singing at a campus concert. Her name was Melissa. Although their relationship began as a flirtatious friendship, their connection was undeniably magnetic. When the couple’s budding relationship ends soon after, destiny strikes Jeremy once again upon hearing Melissa has become very sick. Jeremy drops everything and immediately travels to be by her side. A hospital proposal, chemo treatments during their engagement, and a beachside wedding soon follow, but despite great adversity, Jeremy and Melissa remain strong, faithful, and hopeful.

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This isn’t the first time filmmakers Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin, and Kevin Downes have found compelling stories in heartfelt moments of strength in the face of adversity. Their last movie, 2018’s I Can Only Imagine, told the true story behind MercyMe’s #1 best-selling Christian single of all time. The filmmakers weren’t too keen on following that success with another music biopic, but it was Camp’s personal, emotional journey that convinced them they had to make the movie.

“Stories that give that rush of hope are in our DNA,” says Kevin Downes. “I think Jeremy and Melissa’s story speaks specifically to that. The music is incredible. The performances are incredible. But what we really responded to is, it’s an amazing love story.”

KJ Apa portrays Jeremy Camp in what is Apa’s first feature-length movie role. He stars opposite Britt Robertson, who portrays Melissa on-screen. It’s not always easy to relive difficult moments of one’s life, and it can be even harder when watching it reconstructed right before one’s eyes. For Jeremy, it wasn’t long before the emotions came roaring back.

“It’s been hard reliving the events of my life. I’ve talked about it a lot,” Jeremy recalls, “but it’s completely different than just talking about it. You’re watching someone portray it and seeing and feeling the emotions all over again.”

In addition to the colossal challenge of portraying Jeremy’s heart, emotion, and faith, KJ Apa also recreated Jeremy’s music, performing both live on stage and recording the soundtrack in studio. 

“We took the music that Jeremy wrote and made it our own, made it unique,” says Kapa. “This music is Jeremy’s life—he wrote during a really tough time in his life, so I wanted to do it justice.” 

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At the end of the day, I Still Believe is a love story, but not just between Jeremy and Melissa.

“I think one of the most unique things about Melissa and Jeremy’s relationship is that from the very beginning, it was always anchored in God,” says Apa. “This story is about journeying through your biggest fears and disappointments and coming out on the other side still believing in and loving God.”



One love can change your life. One life can change the world. Rediscover the wonder of love when I Still Believe opens at Regal this Friday, March 13th. 

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