Kevis Antonio, founder of Rising Faith Productions, is the creator behind the film currently titled, “Five Blocks Away.” He wrote the initial screenplay and plans to direct and produce a five-week production schedule in the early fall using members of St. Catherine.
Antonio, 31, said he came up with the idea for his film last summer after attending a movie screening of the Christian film, “Courageous,” produced by Sherwood Pictures, a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany. In 2008, the company produced the highest grossing independent film of the year.
“I noticed how packed it was and after seeing the film, I thought to myself, ‘Why hasn’t the Catholic Church done a project like this before?’” recalled Antonio.
“You’ve got Sherwood Baptist doing great films that have done very well out in the box office. You’ve got other churches stepping up too, with movies like ‘The Grace Card.’ So I saw the opportunity and started thinking, ‘This is a project that needed to happen.’”
“Five Blocks Away” tells the story of a young man named Anthony Seton, who has his sights set on fortune in the operation of a marketing business with three friends. His dreams begin to crumble in light of new relationships, family turmoil and illegal events, as he struggles to find what really matters in life.
Father John Matejek, pastor of St. Catherine, liked the idea behind the film when Antonio approached him about it. He said he welcomed the church’s involvement as a great way to evangelize.
“I’m never afraid of a challenge, especially in this third millennium, when Christianity is being beat up pretty badly,” said Matejek, a St. Catherine parishioner before entering the priesthood. “I always support my parishioners in whatever they do.”
Founded in 1981, St. Catherine was formed in response to the population growth in north Cobb County. There were 90 families who registered to attend an initial informational meeting, according to church history. Five years later, the church broke ground on a new campus at its present site at 1618 Ben King Road.
The church currently ranks among the top 10 largest parishes in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
That helps as the film will begin auditions on July 21 at the church for a variety of roles, before it begins filming in and around Atlanta, including St. Catherine.
Producers are also looking to raise $550,000 in donations by July 31 to make the film. St. Catherine is encouraging people to considering donating online. Large donors will receive an opportunity to attend a private screening of the film in Atlanta with the filmmakers and get screen credit.
A native of Puerto Rico, Antonio came to the United States in 1991. He has more than eight years of film production experience, including a documentary called “Bread of Life.” He is married to his wife, Stacy, and they have 1-month-old twin sons.
Antonio said he hopes the film’s Christian message of hope and love resonates with Christian families and secular audiences looking for something different from typical remakes and sequels Hollywood is currently offering.
“A lot of the Christian films that have come out have been very well-received obviously by the Christian World,” he said. However, “I want to bridge a gap where I can get any audience to come say, ‘This project is entertaining, keeps my attention and at the end of the day, I’m going to get something out of it.’”
“Five Blocks Away” is expected to be released in the spring of 2013.
To learn more about “Five Blocks Away” and to get involved or donate to the production, visit www.fiveblocks awaymovie.com.