Paul & Nero is an independent movie project, started by a team of filmmakers in Los Angeles and with fiscal sponsorship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Our previous projects include the movie Heavy Objects, recently screened at New Filmmakers New York and the Garden State Film Festival. We have previously received awards from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the George Sugarman Foundation, and others.
Paul & Nero is based around an actual historical event: the trial of Paul the Apostle before Emperor Nero. There are no records of what took place during the trial, so for the first time Paul & Nero recreates what must have been one of the most fascinating confrontations of the ancient world.
Can you film a historical drama on an indie movie budget?
Yes. Recent film editing software has opened the possibility of creating independent movies with more ambitious backdrops than has previously been possible on a modest budget. To prove this point we created a demo scene to see if we could make a convincing set for a scene set in the Roman Senate. You can see the result here.
The demo scene cost just over two thousand dollars to create. Admittedly, this was due in part to the generosity of a lot of very talented people who were prepared to offer their time for free, but it also highlights the fact that it's no longer necessary to have a Ben Hur scale budget to create a historical setting anymore.
Why did you pick this subject matter?
It is hard to think of a more dramatic encounter in
history than the moment Paul of Tarsus met Nero.
They were diametrically opposed as characters,
and their belief systems could hardly have been more
different - Nero obsessed with a love of himself, Paul equally obsessed with the need for us to love others.
Yet both men changed the world. Nero had a very physical impact, rebuilding Rome in his own image - a homage to decadence, huge temples of debauchery, and a statue of himself so colossal that the place where it once stood still carries its name: the Colisseum. Paul's revolutionary vision of
Christianity transformed the early church
and went on to become the Christian faith we
know today. He wrote almost half the books in
the New Testament.
So to think that history brought these two
characters face-to-face is such an interesting
premise for a movie, it was just too good to
Do you need help financing your project?
Yes! The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) has accepted the Paul & Nero project onto their Fiscal Sponsorship Program. This means that they oversee the collection and distribution of funds and allows us to accept grants for 501(c)(3) organizations. If you would like to help please click here.
Can I see a copy of the script?
Of course! Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is this story historically accurate?
Yes, as far as possible. Much of the movie's storyline is based on historical fact, and when suppositions had to be made they were based on the best evidence we have available. Paul's missionary journeys, Nero's persecution of Christians, and the eventual trial are evidenced in both Biblical and secular asccounts.
For the sake of clarity we have focused on certain
aspects of their story - in particular the tension
between the Nero's rebuilding of Rome and Paul's
mission into the Empire. But we have kept to the
facts as understood by scholars, Church tradition,
and contemporary accounts from the time.
Have there already been movies about
Paul's encounter with Nero?
Oddly enough, no. Nero has appeared in a number of movies (remember Peter Ustinov in Quo Vadis?), and St Paul has appeared periodically - most recently in a made-for-TV movie called Paul the Apostle (2000) - but there haven't been any movie depictions of the moment when history brought these two fascinating characters together.
Fletcher Crossman, Director
Tel: 843 302 6561