A Must-See Movie
It was Monday morning when I awoke to the aroma of coffee coming from the kitchen. I fumbled for my iPhone and quickly scanned the latest news offered by CNN, FOX, and American Press. Nothing but negative messages spewed from the headlines. By the time my husband, James, handed me my favorite coffee cup filled with my syrupy black addiction, I had already started my search for something uplifting. My Facebook page popped up and I enthusiasticallyscrolled the new posts….but after reading only the first few postings I thought about returning to the news. Where was all this “negative messaging” coming from? I set my phone down and engaged in conversation with James, who is a mental health counselor, about the lack of positive messages being offered by media. Yes, we agreed, this world is full of evil and negative news, but we also agreed that this world holds the promise of hope and redemption. So where and why is this message being lost? By the time I finished my second cup of coffee, James sand I were sure we had discussed and solved all the world’s problems and felt equipped to get on with our day. It was mid-afternoon when I finally checked my emails and there it was….a glimmer of hope. Nicely tucked between my business emails was an email from my niece who had just returned from seeing what she called an amazing movie about redemption. The email included a brief description along with a link to the movie trailer. Here is where I feel I need to offer up a quick apology to my wonderful Christian friends, but as I read her words “faith based, Christian movie,” I felt my gag reflex respond. My past experience with faith-based Christian movies left me with less than enthusiasm to see another. In my opinion, they either totally missed the mark and failed to reveal truth or they were lacking in true artistic creativity. I must have been feeling adventurous because I clicked on the link and began watching. Within a few seconds I was hooked.
As the trailer played I found myself totally engulfed in the 18th century swashbuckling adventure about a British assassin who cut a bloody swath throughout India only to find himself in the grips of romance and remorse, and in search of redemption. This amazing story line is creatively interwoven into the backdrop of the historical American Revolution and colorfully decorated with intriguing characters, along with heart-pumping action.
That weekend I was standing in line with my husband waiting to purchase the movie tickets to “Beyond the Mask.” Again, here is where I have to stop and admit my skepticism. I feared the trailer only embellished on a few good scenes and that the movie in its entirety would lack substance. One hour and forty minutes later I walked out of the theater with a grin painted across my face. FINALLY….someone had nailed it. A faith-based movie that offered an engaging plot, awesome special effects, top-quality actors, heart-pumping action, and topped with a story of hope and redemption. As we left the theater I bombarded my husband with questions. Who produced the film? Who wrote the script? Where was the movie filmed? Since he was the ultimate movie buff and screenplay writer, I was knocked off guard when he responded, “I am not sure who they are…something like Burn’s Productions or Studio…something like that.” Needless to say, we are both extremely curious individuals, so we started our internet search the minute we got into the car. We quickly found that the story behind the “Burns Family Studios” was as beautiful as the movie itself, a story of two humble families with a passion for creative storytelling and for Jesus Christ.
Shortly thereafter I was blessed to interview several of the Burns family members and am now honored to share their story with the readers of Big Yellow Dog.
The Story Behind the Scenes: Chad Burns, Director Beyond the Mask
You’re making faith-and-family films to compete in the action-and-adventure genre. Is there a place for Christian action films?
Burns: Absolutely. Not only is there a “place,” there’s a need for Christ-centered action adventure. Stories can touch hearts, and Christ can change lives. The goal of Burns Family Studios is to reach as many individuals, families and churches as we can with a message to quicken the spirit, fire the imagination and inspire the family. A well-made action film can take our stories to the widest possible audience.
So, this family of homeschooled kids is making theatrical, faith-based, action films. How does that happen?
Burns: Burns Family Studios got its start when we were children. My siblings, our cousins and our parents created homemade films for our enjoyment. Then we took a step to a larger production—QUEST FOR GLORY, a Civil War saga. At the time, we called it a film “by homeschoolers for homeschoolers.” It fired our imaginations. We even entered it in a film festival.
Then came PENDRAGON?
Burns: PENDRAGON was even more ambitious—set in Old England and with higher production values. Larger scope. It won Best Family Film in the Bare Bones Film Festival. So coming to an even bigger film like BEYOND THE MASK, with all our special effects and CGI, was a natural.
Do your films have a common theme?
Burns: Every Burns Family Studios film explores some aspect of Christian faith and its importance to every life. In BEYOND THE MASK, our hero Will Reynolds has done some pretty terrible things, and now he wants a new life in the New World of Colonial America. But the forgiveness and redemption he seeks can’t be earned. The literal mask he puts on to disguise his identity—or to create a new one—that’s us. That’s Facebook. That’s Twitter. We create these masks, too. But only identity in Christ creates a new Will Reynolds, or a new us.
What do you hope audiences come away with from BEYOND THE MASK?
Burns: We want to reach families and young people with a message of hope and of finding their identity in Christ. And we wanted to make a product that directly focuses at that younger generation—an action adventure movie. That’s BEYOND THE MASK. Theme Quote: “Neither redemption, nor love can ever be earned; they are but gifts, freely given from the heart of God.”
When I ask Tracy Burns, Associate Producer-Business Manager, the final question, “What is next for the Burns Family Studios?,” she faithfully replied, “We will be finishing up with Beyond the Mask, and then praying a lot to see what God has for us next.”
Beyond the Mask has made history by selling the most "on Demand" tickets nationwide. It is now showing in hundreds of theaters , check out the link below and find the location nearyou or request your own showing.