Click on the image above to read the screenplay.Competition Finalist - Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest: Finalist for 2014 in the Historical/Biographical category.
Currently a semi-finalist - 2015 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Competition in the Drama category.
The screenplay has been several years in the making. I was inspired by the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, "God's Pauper." Hopefully it does Francis justice. Your thoughts are welcome, please email me. For more info on my background, check here.
The early life of the first environmentalist. A friend of animals, humanity, and a controversial spiritual searcher,
Born into comfort, Francis coasts through life until he experiences war and is almost killed in battle. A second chance at living causes him to break with his past. His spiritual search causes conflict within himself, his family and his former love, Clara.
Initially an object of derision in his community, his simple life draws others to follow. He challenges them to see reality and the ties that bond all life -- human, animal and plants. Surprised at his own success he develops a rule, travels to Rome, and asks for approval from one of the most powerful Popes of the Middles ages. Newer members question their founder and the early group begins to shatter with conflicting goals and methods.
Francis' friend, Leo, provides a sanity-check and comic relief. Both Leo and Clara are sympathetic figures and keep things real. As voices of the audience, they marvel & doubt at the actions of their larger than life companion. Clara challenges Francis and his new ideas. The heart break matures both of them.
He lived in a time of the blood thirsty Crusades, Christian v. Muslim, but he preached peace and respect. Even history marvels at his meeting with a powerful Arab ruler. Francis was a friend of nature & the poor. When Francis talks about Sister Bird & Brother Wolf he means it. All people ARE brothers and sisters. Life leaves us in certain roles, but we can open our eyes & break free.
A 'religion' movie can be a hard sell, but this one doesn't preach. Brother Francis delivers an empathetic, but ambiguous message. People will be fascinated by the role model for Time's Person of the Year, Pope Francis. With his visit to the U.S. a great time to announce a film about the man who inspires his actions.
I'm a former Air Force pilot who didn't want to drop “the bomb.” A writer, columnist, & activist for family rights, I've been arrested 48 times for peaceful acts of civil disobedience. Francis was an inspiration to me as I questioned my own life.
-- John Murtari