Beyond the Night Behind the Scenes

  • Genre: True Story, Drama
  • Crew: Made up of faculty members in BJU’s Division of Cinema and their students
  • Cast: Originating from 22 nations, the cast was selected from among the faculty, staff, students, and friends of Bob Jones University.
  • Locations: Bob Jones University farm, Unusual Films soundstage, footage from Africa (A BJU grad happened to be filming in Africa during the time of the Beyond the Night production and sent back footage to Unusual Films to use in the film for some African village and livestock shots.)


Story Background

Mitchel2819Because Beyond the Night is a true story which took place in a politically sensitive region of Africa, real names are not used for most of the characters. But the actions and responses of the players represent the facts of the original story.



About the North African village: The village was built all in miniature from styrofoam and balsa wood . The mud houses, grass huts and walled compounds, each just a few inches high, ended up covering half of the Unusual Films sound stage. Since real sand was unusable because the sand particles were too big for the mini village, the art director used tinted baking soda to represent the sand. Overhead shots of the medical compound, as well as the sandstorm shot in the film, were created using this miniature.



Beyond the Night Highlights Religious Persecution

BTNclinicThreatBeing an American Christian missionary in a third-world nation is an increasingly dangerous occupation. Beyond the Night portrays the true story of a medical missionary couple who, aware of the risks, dared to follow Christ in spite of a hostile religious and political environment.



clinicDayClinic1115OpHandThe doctor went to Africa to minister to the sick and to preach the Gospel. He was both a qualified physician and a skilled surgeon, and his medical reputation spread across national boundaries. Because of an acute shortage of trained medical personnel, he was in great demand. Some of his patients traveled hundreds of miles to see him; for others he made “house calls” in an ancient four-wheeler, sometimes across trackless desert to villages not found on any map. court1310But everywhere he went, he preached that salvation of the soul through faith in Christ was more important than physical healing. However, the government wanted his skill, not his Saviour.

AtTable1848He and his staff desired no conflict with the ruling regime; but when the conflict came, they stood for truth without compromise. As the “night” of persecution fell around them, these missionaries—and more importantly, their converts—continued to shine “as lights in the world.”

This film helps increase awareness of the shadow of religious persecution, long felt by the rest of the world, which is now lengthening across America. For Christians in America, words like “dedication” and “sacrifice” will take on new importance in the days ahead.


The Story of How We Got the Camels (In the words of Katherine Stenholm)

The story about how we got the camels is just one of the miraculous things that happened that shows how God helped us in the hard things in this film. Mr. George Rogier…who was our sound engineer…became our full-time camel hunter, [and] traced camels all over the United States. He checked zoos, circuses, animal farms, everything. He gave up trying to find a camel. And finally, we said, well, if the Lord wants us to have a camel, He will just have to supply it because we could not find one. So one day we unexpectedly got a telephone call from the Greenville Zoo, and they said, “There is a camel caravan that just happens to be coming to Greenville. Would you be interested?”…

So we quickly…converted the University Farm into the Sahara Desert…we hauled in tons and tons of sand. We had to do this very quickly because the camels were coming. And it looked like the desert when we got through. In one night and one day we shot all the scenes we needed with the camels.

Now, the interesting thing about this was, they were not mean, biting camels who were very stubborn and wouldn’t do anything you told them. They were trained camels. And not only that, they were trained for the motion pictures. And they knew exactly what to do. I wish the other actors had been so professional.

Well, we worried about how much they were going to cost us. So I purposely didn’t speak to Roy Barton (then CFO of Bob Jones University) for two or three days, hoping I would miss him. Unfortunately, I ran into him, and I had to bring up the subject. But they let us have the camels for almost nothing. Just pennies. Now, they would have cost so much money normally that there’s no way we could have afforded it. And that was just one marvelous way that God helped us because He had the camels here at the right place, at the right price.