Historical film underway in North Battleford area ‘backlot’

A 16th century time traveller who happened to stumble upon a movie set north of the city would feel right at home.

Vision Recording Company has been filming part of a Christian-themed movie called Time To Shine recently in a nearby field. The field features a set with buildings made to resemble stone structures in 16th century England.

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Director Matthias J. Johnson travels around Canada and the United States as part of a gospel music group. He also makes movies where he travels, featuring local actors.

Johnson was in North Battleford filming a scene involving the story of William Tyndale. Among his accomplishments, Tyndale translated the Bible into English. Tyndale was later strangled and burned at the stake.

Johnson said it’s hard to live as a Christian in modern society “with all the peer pressures and things that go on.”

“And yet when you look back in history, history repeats itself, and there’s just never been an easy time.”

In addition to representing Tyndale, the movie will also depict Christians killed in the Colosseum and evangelist Billy Sunday.

“Whenever there’s hard persecutions, greater Christians rise up and it strengthens people,” Johnson said.

Sunday, who died in 1935, was a fundamentalist who believed in the inerrancy of the Bible and a literal devil, and who opposed immigration from southern and eastern Europe, the teaching of evolution, and playing cards.

Sunday was known for preaching in saloons.

“These are the people that need to hear the message,” Johnson said.

In the finished film, scenes will have been filmed in Arizona, California and Branson, Missouri. Some scenes were filmed in the Moose Jaw tunnels.

The movie is also tailored to people’s expectations, in that a Western scene is to feature a gunfight and someone going through a saloon window, while the scenes filmed in Moose Jaw are to have cars and a deal gone awry.

Johnson also has suits of armour for the medieval scene.

In his film career, some of the stunts he’s done have been DIY. Johnson said he counted 120 scratches, scrapes and bruises from wearing the armour.

The film is to be released in about a year. Johnson said the film isn’t meant to appeal to any specific Christian denomination.

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