Beyond the Mask, a $4 million faith-based adventure movie made primarily by 400 volunteers from the homeschooling community, will open April 6 on as many as 1,100 screens nationwide.
The family-friendly film, which stars John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings) and Kara Killmer Chicago Fire), follows a "villain-turned-hero who tries everything to fix his past identity, only to fail each time." It's only when he finds Christ that he discovers his true identity, freedom, and everlasting joy.
"We live in a Facebook culture," director Chad Burns recently told the Christian Post, "that is obsessed with identity - with every post and every Tweet. People build these elaborate masks. People want to be seen as a successful student or a successful magazine editor or a successful mother - whatever the category.
"Jesus said that unless we're finding our identity in Him, unless we're resting in His finished work, we're never going to find that satisfaction and fulfillment we're looking for."
Beyond the Mask, which is set during the Revolutionary War, also features several historical facts and figures, like the signing of the Declaration of Independence and scenes including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.
"I love history, and there's a lot of shared history that America and Britain have," said Rhys-Davies, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "It's an exciting story with wonderful historical elements."
According to filmmakers, it's the impressive number of CG effects--850, to be exact--that make Behind the Mask unique in the world of faith-based films.
"I think 'Inception' had about 700 visual effect shots,"explained Burns. "This was a digital Everest to climb. We hired artists from all over the United States and world."
"There's been a series of good, theologically solid faith films," he added. "We really want to be carrying that legacy forward" by producing a "doctrinally sound" movie in a different genre...What we're innovating is the scope."
Behind the Mask comes from Burns Family Studios, founded by Chad Burns and his cousin, Aaron. Because both men are homeschool graduates, they decided to include the homeschooling community in their project. So, the pair launched a Kickstarter campaign and a website explaining that they were looking for volunteers and actors, and within a short time, over 400 homeschoolers responded, many of whom appear as extras in the film.
"I sort of like mavericks who challenge the Hollywood studio system," Rhys-Davies told the AFP. "There are many subcultures in the U.S., and they always defy my expectations, and I welcome homeschoolers. I find them keen and enthusiastic, with a moral code and impressive integrity. I really liked working with them - and they made a jolly good romp of a film."
The film's script is written by Stephen Kendrick, who, along with his brother, Alex, are the masterminds behind the successful faith-based films "Fireproof," "Courageous," and "Facing the Giants."
The movie is showing for only one night (April 6) and employing a strategy whereby moviegoers can bring it to their town if only 65 tickets are reserved. Tickets can be purchased at BeyondTheMaskMovie.com.