Beautifully Broken is an amazing, heart-grabbing movie with scope and universal truth based on the true story of the convergence of a refugee’s escape, a prisoner’s promise, and a daughter’s painful secret. In this touching, authentic true story of hope, three fathers fight to save their families. Their lives become intertwined in an unlikely journey across the globe, where they learn the healing power of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Beautifully Broken in theaters August 24th, is a true story of three fathers (one American and two Rwandan) who will stop at nothing to protect their children. In this true story, a child sponsorship through Compassion International changes real lives of real people, who include the giver and the recipient.
The story begins with William Mwizerwa who is a father who with his family, are fleeing the Rwandan Genocide. William, his wife, and his daughter barely narrowly escape death from soldiers’ machetes and guns. In a Kenyan refugee camp, William learns that he can participate in a program that can take him to America, where once he establishes residency, he can bring his family.
Despite the hardship of leaving his family, William goes to America and meets Randy Hartley, who is facing challenges with his family. Randy’s daughter Andrea is becoming increasingly rebellious due to a secret assault that she shares only with a child sponsorship pen pal, a Rwandan girl, Umuhoza, whose family has also been affected by the Rwandan genocide.
Out of a growing friendship, Randy and William inspire and help each other to work to keep their families together and eventually develop an outreach center to assist refugee families from war-torn countries, which eventually brings William’s wife and daughter to America. Randy asks William to guide his family to Rwanda for Andrea to see her Rwandan pen pal. Randy and William’s family go to Rwanda where more trials, but amazing redemption awaits. William learns that if everyone believed in the concept of “an eye for an eye” the whole world would go blind.
Randy Hartley, a financial advisor from Nashville, had his life changed after a chance connection between a Rwandan refugee and the Rwandan girl his family sponsored. The connection and journey of these American and Rwandan families has been produced into a major motion picture, Beautifully Broken. Hartley is a partner in Thoroughbred Financial Services, LLC and is a producer known for the documentary, Through the Valley.
Sonoma Christian Home had a reflective interview with Randy Hartley. SCH Editor at Large Dr. Diane Howard reports.
SCH: How has the journey of making this movie changed your life?
RH: It has been cathartic. The events happened 8-10 years before, but it has been freeing to go back through all that happened to reflect on how we have recovered. It has been a painful process, personal process; but we hope it will help others.
SCH: How has your daughter’s life been changed in her journey of recovery?
RH: After her assault she struggled with self-worth, but her journey of recovery has transformed her life, beginning with her volunteering to work with refugee children who loved her and made her feel loved and of worth. She learned Swahili; went to LSU in International Studies; did fun-raising to take 25 girls to Africa; now lives in Nairobi, Kenya; serves with ACTS Africa; and has found her life work in Africa.
SCH: How has the journey of making this movie changed the lives of others?
RH: Like I have found, William has found that his pain has become his passion. We have both learned when we hit rock bottom that God was there as our rock. It has been important for us both not to become bitter with what we have experienced but to let the pain fuel our passion.
SCH: What have you learned about the sovereignty of God?
RH: I have learned and experienced that God is always there. He does not promise that we will not have hard times; but we will not waste our pain if we let Him turn our pain into passion.
SCH: What have you learned about God’s timing in answering our prayers?
RH: His time is most meaningful. Many years have transpired since the beginning of this story and journey; but now when this movie is ready, the topics resonate today more than ever.
SCH: How did giving to others lead to receiving healing and blessings?
RH: Helping others leads to healing.
SCH: What have you learned about following our Lord one step at a time to see His great surprises unfold?
RH: The key is to take one step at a time, putting on foot in front of the other, continuing to follow Him, continuing to keep going, and sometimes sitting back to let Him work. I have learned more and more about the stories in this movie in multiple, subsequent trips.
SCH: Your story evidently first came out as a documentary and then was made into a dramatic movie. Tell me about how this developed.
RH: The initial documentary did well. As it received awards, we were encouraged to do more with the story.
SCH: How did you become involved with Big Film Factory to produce your movie?
RH: The documentary people brought in Big Film Factory. They were able to compress the timelines, give the movie shape, and they collaborated with me to produce it.
SCH: How has Big Film Factory been a good match for producing your movie?
RH: They have been creative at writing. They have been able to weave together three complicated stories. They caught my vision, the heart of the story, and have collaborated with me through post-production. They can relate to and touch the next generation where they are. They can bring hope out of tough real-life topics to especially authentically relate to today’s 15-25-year-olds, who tend to be skeptical.
SCH: How do screenwriters of compelling, redemptive screenplays submit their work for consideration?
RH: They can be reached through contact information on their website.
The Beautifully Broken cast includes the following : Scott William Winters (Lethal Weapon television series, Good Will Hunting), Benjamin Onyango (God’s Not Dead, Inception), Emily Hahn (Toy Story 3, Fresh Off The Boat television series), Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight, The Expendables), Jessica Obilom (Trafficked), Caitlin Nicol-Thomas (Nashville, TV series), Alan Powell (Quantico, TV series), Eugene Khumbanyiwa (District 9), Tammi Arender (Pitch Perfect 2), and TV personality Thomasina “Goo Goo” Atkins (Mary Mary series). Christian music legends Toby McKeehan aka Toby Mac and Michael W. Smith also make appearances in the film.
Filmed on location in Port Alfred, South Africa and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Beautifully Broken is directed by Eric Welch (DC Talk: Welcome to the Freak Show) and written by Brad Allen, Chuck Howard and Martin Michael (I Am Not Ashamed), along with Mark McCann (Harmony). It is produced by Allen, Michael and Howard, along with Lisa Arnold (Caged No More), Jarred Coates (God’s Not Dead), MichelleS. Duffie (War Room, and executive produced by Randy Hartley (Through the Valley).
The movie features the title song “Beautifully Broken,” performed by three artists, each lending their voice to a unique version of the song, which incorporates all three musical stylings: Grammy Award- winning country artist, John Berry, Dove Award-winning pop singer Plumb and Grammy Award-winning gospel artist CeCe Winans. The song is produced by award-winning producer, Chuck Howard, who also co-wrote the film.
Beautifully Broken is the true story of three families, from different countries, each struggling to find hope and safety amid the devastation of war. Their lives become intertwined as they help others and in turn find help themselves. As they work to change the world around them, the world within them in also changed.
Big Film Factory has produced Beautifully Broken. This company, based in Nashville, Tennessee, has made six feature films; with three films sold and released and three in post-production. The film company’s business model focuses on industry trends and technology that allows the production of a new film every 40 to 75 days. Capitalizing on Hollywood’s limited interest in producing family friendly films, BIG Film Factory has established a unique marketing approach by combining well-known artists from music and film to create an instant demand.
Find a theater near you to see Beautifully Broken.
See the movie’s website and trailer.
To learn more about this author, please visit Dr. Diane Howard
Luke 6:37 “…Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.