Vatican Declaration Gives New Momentum to Tolton Film

Pope Francis’ declaration that Father Augustine Tolton is “Venerable” has created a spark of interest about the film Across. The movie about Tolton is being developed by Bolder Pictures from a screenplay and a short film by Christopher Foley.

“I had spoken to Bishop Perry recently, and we had good hope that this was in the works,” said Foley about the auxiliary bishop of Chicago who is spearheading Tolton’s sainthood process. “But, I was still surprised and overjoyed at how soon it happened.”

Father Tolton was the first black priest in America, and now there is great anticipation that he will be the first African American saint. The title “Venerable” is only 2 steps away from full canonization.

Foley says his project - which is currently seeking micro-investors - got a strong uptick in interest on social media and via email since the news about Tolton broke. “We’re excited at the timing because of our TruCrowd campaign at FaithFilmFund. We have a chance to be the Catholic version of The Chosen, which raised $10 million from crowd investing. This will help spread the word about this amazing American hero, and give people a chance to invest in the film for as little as $100.”

The short film - which focused on Tolton’s attempt to escape slavery during the Civil War - has laureled at several film festivals, and is now available for private screenings at churches. For more information about investing, go to this site. To contact the production team about screening the short film with a presentation about Tolton’s life, fill out the form on the movie’s site here.

Shawn Whitsell next to a photo of the man he portrays, Father Tolton, in the short film,  Across .

Shawn Whitsell next to a photo of the man he portrays, Father Tolton, in the short film, Across.