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December 9, 2010

Orthodox Priest In Screenplay Contest

By Susan Shalhoub
December 9, 2010

The Rev. Maximos D. McIntyre may be a Russian Orthodox priest and dress in traditional garb, including a cassock and “funny hat,” as he calls it. But this 32-year-old married Millbury resident who was born in Worcester also has a secular job as a technical writer in Westboro, lives in a regular house, and has just written a screenplay that’s made it to the voting stage of an American Idol-style screenplay and film competition.

Before penning “Lords of Glory,” and shopping it around Hollywood, Rev. McIntyre of St. John the Russian in Ipswich had worked as a freelance newspaper reporter and had done some writing work for the church. But he felt this story — about the Russian Revolution from 1910 to the present — would be better expressed on film.

The screenplay deals with the estimated 60 million to 70 million people who were slaughtered during this period, including people in Romania and China. “I feel like the market is overrun with novels,” he said. “I thought the story I wanted to tell was very visual and that this medium would work well.”

The play illustrates the idea that so many were slaughtered for their faith under the guise of communism, Rev. McIntyre said. “Atheism was not just a political stance but an eradication of God.”

The screenplay took about a year-and-a-half to write. “I was taking different testimonials and trying to weave a story” told through the eyes of a priest. “The clergy were always the first to go,” he said.

Rev. McIntyre traveled to California this summer to shop the screenplay, fully aware that its spiritual issues may not be marketable in the film industry. “I was realistic,” he said laughing, but knew he had to try. On his flight to Los Angeles he was coincidentally seated next to a man whose parents had fled from Armenia during the genocide there and built new lives in the U.S. “I was a little freaked out by that,” he said.

Because of its historical context, the film would be expensive to produce. “I just assumed that nobody was going to talk to me, and shut me down,” he said of his trip to L.A. Several producers met with him and “squashed it right off the bat … there is the business end of it again.” Some thought his clerical clothing was a marketing tool for the screenplay, but two or three studio representatives requested the script, and Rev. McIntyre said he met with representatives from Moviehatch, which runs an online voting contest for movie scripts.

Rev. McIntyre said he and about 50 other screenwriters have been included in the latest contest. “This means the work has been determined to be marketable,” he said, adding that a survey was taken showing that people would pay to see the film.

Rev. McIntyre said the top-voted scripts will go to Hollywood producers. He said 25 of the top producers are participating this year. “All the legwork’s been done for them.”

He said films such as Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” may have helped pave the way for screenplays with a religious message. But if he doesn’t get enough votes to make the final cut, he said he isn’t worried. “I have a few agents interested.” A self-published novel is also a possibility.

To vote for “Lords of Glory” in the online contest, log on to To ensure voters only vote once, you will be instructed to enter your name and e-mail after rating the screenplay.

Read the Synopsis of the film here.