The newest faith-based movie to land on home video wasn’t made by a Hollywood studio, Christian studio or even a church. It was made by a Christian university.
The full-length feature film, The Man from Nowhere, was made by the Cinema and Digital Arts program at The Master’s University in California with the help of a few well-known faces and veteran writers of Christian movies.
It tells the fictional story of a popular author who is dying and tries to reconcile with his estranged son during his final weeks on Earth. Although the father is a Christian, the son is not.
Chris Dowling, who directed and wrote the screenplays for Run the Race (2018) and Where Hope Grows (2014), co-wrote the screenplay for The Man from Nowhere. Dowling also co-wrote the screenplay for Priceless.
Matt Green (No Greater Love, Inheritance) co-wrote it and directed it.
It stars Nick Searcy (The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) as the father. The Master’s University and outside investors funded it.
Dowling compares the movie to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, although unlike that popular biblical story, the father in Man From Nowhere is the one who chased riches and left his family behind, only to regret his actions. In essence, it’s the story of a prodigal father.
“And now he's the one coming back and saying, ‘Hey, how do I make this right? I messed up,’” Dowling told Christian Headlines.
The movie was filmed in only eight days.
“The fact that they pulled this off is pretty mind-blowing,” he said.
Students gained real-world filmmaking experience.
“We surrounded the crew with students learning in real time, but all the department heads were professional crew,” Dowling said. “Some of the actors were a lot more green. But we surrounded them with a nice supporting cast of seasoned actors.”
Dowling hopes the film helps moviegoers reconcile with others.
“In our screenings, we've seen grown men crying,” he said. “They'll say, ‘That was my dad’ or ‘That’s me.’ … I think it’s just a wake-up call.”
Photo courtesy: ©Master's University
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.