'Beneath the Cristo', a Film About Love, Betrayal and Redemption, Completes Post Production

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Director Mario M Milano's new film, "Beneath the Cristo," based on the novel of the same name by Romeo Risica, has completed post production and is now available for theatrical world rights. Filmed in more than 100 locations, the epic film of love, betrayal and redemption follows the journey of an international pop singer desperate to clear his name and discover the truth of his wife's brutal murder.

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As I sat in an outdoor café, I started writing the screenplay. I went through a whole container of napkins until the restaurant owner announced he was closing. I gathered together some students and used the locals to start shooting the film. As the filming grew, so did the story

"Beneath the Cristo," an epic new feature film about love, betrayal and redemption, has completed post production and is now available for theatrical world rights. Based on the novel by Romeo Risica and shot in more than 100 locations, "Beneath the Cristo" is a cinematic tour-de-force as stylistic and iconoclastic as it is controversial and daring.

International pop sensation Dwayne Love has the perfect life -- fame, fortune and a Brazilian supermodel wife. When he awakes badly burned in an old gothic asylum with a priest reading his last rites, he finds he has no memory of what happened. Slowly, Dwayne and the priest piece together the fragments of what turns out to be the brutal murder of his wife -- a murder he may have committed…or so he believes in his delusional state.

Desperate to clear his name and find the truth, Dwayne travels over three continents in search of the murder weapon, a fabled relic known as the "Dagger of Adultery." Viewers are taken on a journey through the back alleys of Europe, over the storm-driven Atlantic and into the lush and exotic world of Rio de Janeiro. The conclusion to this multi-layered epic will enchant, captivate and ultimately inspire as the mystery unfolds and viewers find that the truth can be the most unlikely reality of all.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Rio de Janeiro in early 2000, director Mario M Milano looked up in awe at the powerful, looming statue of Christ that overlooks the city, and was inspired to craft his epic adventure love story.

"As I sat in an outdoor café, I started writing the screenplay. I went through a whole container of napkins until the restaurant owner announced he was closing. I gathered together some students and used the locals to start shooting the film. As the filming grew, so did the story," Milano says.

"I became intrigued by Risica's novel, and was shocked to realize that many of the scenes and situations I had already filmed were in the novel. After that, I was convinced my vision of Christ's statue several years before and the powerful novel was more than just mere coincidence."

Discovering the film's leading actress also seemed to be more than a matter of chance. While filming in Rio de Janeiro, a group of extras showed up for filming at a local studio. Milano noticed a strikingly beautiful young woman wearing a baseball cap and told his assistant to have her wear dark glasses and pull her cap down to cover her face. The actress apologized to the assistant for not making a good enough effort with her make-up. What she didn't realize was that Milano was considering her for the lead in the movie. After proving that she could handle the demanding role, Milano immediately hired her and rewrote the entire part. "I had searched the beaches of Rio, the local nightclubs and numerous talent agencies; to discover the leading lady in a crowd of extras was one of the high points of making the movie," Milano says.

On a shoe-string budget, the movie began with Milano gathering a group of film students to act as his crew. By the end of filming, 'Beneath the Cristo' had grown into a mega Hollywood production, lensed across three continents and aboard the legendary ocean liner, the Queen Mary.

The dagger used as the "Dagger of Adultery" on set also had its own impact during filming. On the first night of using the serpentine "Dagger of Adultery" as a prop, it somehow slipped its holster in the duffel bag where it was stored as the bag was hurriedly carried into Milano's taxi, piercing an artery in his hand. Blood spurted over the roof before Milano spotted a discarded coffee cup on the floor and let it fill while his assistant attempted to stop the bleeding. During the rest of the shoot, Milano's real blood was used in a number of scenes. A second stabbing occurred while Matthew Merlot -- in character as Dwayne Love -- was filming a scene in which he was to be stabbed in the chest. Merlot's body was protected by a heavy foam core, but the actor playing the villain got so into the role and stabbed at the foam so viciously that the knife penetrated the protection and pierced Merlot's chest. Finally, on a third occasion, Milano was handing the dagger to Merlot and accidentally dropped it. As Merlot picked it up, he slit his right forefinger.

For more information about the new feature film "Beneath the Cristo," or to learn more information about obtaining the film's theatrical world rights, visit http://www.beneaththecristo.com.

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Caroline Gladwin or Mario M. Milano
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