Pastor Stephen Missick of the King of Saints Tabernacle in Cleveland is putting the finishing touches on his independent film that details the life of an apostle of Jesus Christ.
Missick, who is the acting producer, presented the film, titled "Saint Thaddeus: The Legend of the Shroud," at the International Christian Film Festival held in May 2017 in Orlando, Fla. The film was nominated for an Official Selection.
The film depicts the story of Thaddeus as he founds the church among the Assyrian people. While Missick planned to make a film about the apostle Thomas and his work in India, the plan changed in the wake of the current political climate.
"ISIS is trying to commit genocide against the Assyrian people," said Missick.
Missick says there is a large Assyrian community in the United States, which he hopes to represent in the film upon its completion.
The film relies upon period accurate costumes, with Missick looking for the best articles of clothing up for bid after their service to various films and television shows such as "Hercules" starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Spartacus and many more.
"The costumes I use are screen used," said Missick.
The story handles various parts of the tale of Thaddeus, including his journey to Mesopotamia before the apostle makes his way to meet King Abgar of Assyria. Abgar suffered from an illness before Thaddeus healed and converted him to Christianity. This, in turn, converts the Assyrian people.
"It's a pivotal and very important story," said Missick. "Telling this story could make people aware of what's going on."
The film was also accompanied by a music video performed by Leah Sayad, an Armenian-American professor, performing artist and voice teacher at New York University who sang the song titled "The Assyrian King's Letter to Jesus."
The music video tells the same story as the movie and was nominated for Best Music Video by the International Christian Film Festival. Sayad also portrays Queen Augustine, the wife of King Abgar, who helps Thaddeus escape the wrath of their son when he turns to paganism.
The film also deals with the Shroud of Jesus Christ, a linen cloth that bears the face of a man alleged to be Christ. The cloth is believed to be what Jesus wore during his crucifixion as a burial shroud.
The movie is 48 minutes long. However, Missick plans to extend the film's length. His crew filmed a new scene on July 1 in a creek located next to Low Water Bridge Rd. The scene involves the baptism of Armenian Princess Sandukht, played by Karina Carielo.
Sandukht is one of the earliest martyrs of Christianity, refusing to renounce her faith before her death at the hands of her own father.
Once the project is finished, Missick hopes to be able to show the film to as many people as he can.
"Hopefully when the movie is done we'll look at distribution," he said. "We're just looking at various options."