Across: The Father Tolton Movie tells the inspiring true story of America’s first African American Catholic priest, a slave destined for sanctity
ACROSS: The Father Tolton Movie is the true and inspiring short film that brings to life the untold story of Fr. Augustine Tolton, an African American slave turned Roman Catholic priest. ACROSS will air on EWTN Television on December 18, 2019 at 10:00 PM ET.
ACROSS was written and directed by Nashville filmmaker Christopher Foley, and takes audiences back to Tolton’s boyhood in Missouri in 1863. It’s the dramatic tale of his attempt to escape slavery with his family during the chaos of the Civil War. The 36-minute film is the basis for a full feature-length movie that Foley plans to shoot next summer.
Just prior to the global airing of ACROSS on EWTN Television, Foley and Bishop Joseph Perry will appear on EWTN Live at 8:00 PM ET with host Father Mitch Pacwa, SJ. They will share behind the scenes details about the making of the short film ACROSS as well as the relevance that Father Tolton has today. They will also elaborate on plans for the feature film.
“When I first heard the details of Tolton’s life from Bishop Perry, I knew it was as film I had to make,” said Christopher Foley, ACROSS writer, director and producer. “Today, I see my country torn by racial strife and my church burned by scandal. Now is the time to promote the story of a man whose example shows us how to deal with these exact issues. Speaking across 150 years of time, Father Gus prays us to meet hatred head-on…with patience, strength and love.”
“Father Tolton shows us Christians how to get through to the Kingdom, surviving the apparent contradictions of life with our faith, hope and love intact,” said Perry, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Chicago and postulator for Venerable Augustine Tolton’s sainthood cause. “The unfinished business of racial reconciliation in America is inspired by Father Tolton’s sense of openness to walk amidst and serve both black and white at a time, post Civil War-Reconstruction, socially not yet ripe for interaction between the races. He was ahead of his time in leading both black and white under the roof of his Church while being resented for it by pockets of Church and society of his time.”
“This has been a labor of love for our production team and we cannot wait for the world to see the boyhood story of one of America’s unknown heroes, Father Augustine Tolton,” said Foley.
Based on an incredible true story, the short film ACROSS brings to life a pivotal moment in the boyhood of Father Augustine Tolton, the first African American priest. “Gus,” a 10-year-old Missouri field slave, is devastated when his father flees the plantation to go fight for the Union in the Civil War. With the brutal overseer George watching his every move, Gus tries to convince his mother to take the rest of the family on the dangerous journey north. To achieve his freedom, Gus, along with his mother, brother and an infant sister, must not only outrun George and the slave-catchers, but also avoid Confederate soldiers, eager to collect the lucrative bounty. Most dauntingly of all, the mighty Mississippi River stands between Gus and free land in Illinois.
Copyright 2019 Alexis Walkenstein