Pelayo A Short Film On The Hero Of The Asturias Mountains, Of Spain And Of All Christendom

The short film Pelayo is written and directed by a young adult sister team, Mary Bowen and Faustina Bowen who are answering the call to tell good stories through film. This short film will be premiering soon. Come back to watch the LIVE premiere on this page.

In the year 722 A.D. Spain is suffering a Muslim conquest. These Moors come from Africa to set up a paradise on earth and the favorable climate of Spain is where they choose to build it. But Pelayo and his small band of 300 men will do everything possible to win an impossible victory and save their Christian culture.

Pelayo Movie

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The short film Pelayo is sold as a dual pack with Max and Carlota. Enjoy these two historical shorts on one DVD with many bonus features. Total run time: 60 minutes

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Pelayo And His Band Of 300 Do Everything Possible To Win A Seemingly Impossible Victory

Presenting Pelayo, a Catholic short film that will intrigue the whole family, leading them to learn more about the first heroic stand of Spain against Muslim invasion. This marks one of the most heroic stands in the history of Christendom. 

The film follows a story that emphasizes the great care of the Mother of God for her children here on earth and the victories she is able to win when complete trust is placed in her. Although defeating the Muslims with only three hundred men was seemingly impossible, Pelayo and his Visigoth warriors had the faith of children in their Mother and fought the battle despite insurmountable odds. 

Pelayo's force neither despaired nor committed the great sin of presumption that God would save them without any effort on their part. It appeared as though all of Spain was to be lost to Muslim rule until this courageous band of men engaged in battle. When they did, Our Lady preformed the impossible and assisted in the victory. 

This is much like the impossible battles we face in our world today. Although we do not physically go to war, we should apply the same warfare that Pelayo used against his enemies: trust in God and devotion to His Mother.

"The mentality which...won in Covadonga (was): To believe in the impossible under the protection of the Virgin. 

We should ask Our Lady for the grace to never doubt a victory that we are sure she wants – even if it seems impossible. We should do everything we can to achieve that goal and trust that she will give the final victory."

-Taken from The Saint of the Day which features highlights from the lives of saints based on comments made by the late Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira.

Pelayo The Movie

3. Behind The Scenes With Pelayo (Patrick Bowen)

Pelagius of AsturiasPatrick Bowen as King Pelayo of the Asturias Mountains

I had a lot of fun acting as Pelayo. Pelayo played an important role in saving Spain from the Moors. He was faced with the conflict of fighting the Moors while resisting the Bishop's advice to surrender to them. He bravely decided that he would not choose to surrender. He followed his conscience and fought the Moors. 

Pelayo possessed the virtues which belong to a good leader. He was prudent and proved to his men that he led by example because he fought alongside them. His victory was equally their victory. I most admire Pelayo's strength of Faith. He proves this when he says that the mountain would be the salvation of Spain and the mercy of Christ would free the Visigoths from the Muslim multitude. God used Pelayo to show that it takes faith rather than numbers to win against great odds.

You will find this surprising, but wearing a fake beard helped me get in the zone for performing this role. I was able to feel like I was no longer myself and that I was in someone else's skin (or beard!). Somehow, Pelayo's face was not my face and that made me feel like I was him.

One of my favorite memories from the shoot days was goofing around and singing with the other actors. My favorite edited scene is the second battle because we win in the end, and I get to kill the Muslim general. My favorite part of the shoot days is the snack break. 

I liked acting with Faustina and Michael. Faustina always knows her lines and gets the shoot over really fast. Michael is fun to act with and we sometimes get sidetracked and have really goofy, interesting conversations. This, of course makes the shoot take longer but we have a lot of fun.

4. Making The Short Film About The Great Visigothic Hero Who Stood Up To The Entire Force Of The Muslims Alone: Pelagius of Asturias

Finding the focus of our fourth film was pretty much already determined by the time we were completely done with Grisly Grisell. After having read El Cid: God's Own Champion by James Fitzhenry, we were inspired by the short aside about a character who would have inspired Rodrigo Diaz, also known as the Cid. This character was Pelayo, the hero that protected Spain from the early invasion of the Muslims. 

We also knew that we would have a perfect shot location for this film, having recently moved back to an area with a dramatic terrain as described in El Cid. We had long had this location in mind for this particular film and knew that when we moved back was the time to film Pelayo.

The short film is driven forward by the action of the battle scenes. Often in past films, the battles are where we skimp because they are a lot of work and sometimes seem secondary to the main storyline. By making the battle the focus of the movie forced us to really think it out and do a good job. Another aspect that made this film go quickly was how small the main cast was: 3 members all in our family. This gave us complete control over the schedule, only needing to plan the battle scenes carefully.

The Story Behind The Costumes For Pelayo: Visigoth and Muslim Tunics Custom Made To Fit Each Actor

The costume for Pelayo was already practically completed before the Grisly Grisell premiere. We based Patrick's costume on a painting that we found of Pelayo defending the cave on Pinterest. In this painting, Pelayo wears a long gold and white tunic with blue leggings tied with red straps. Over his outfit, he wears a long red cape. On his feet are a pair of short light brown boots. We found items with features as close to these items as we could and made the costume accordingly.

At the Grisly Grisell premiere, one of the viewers and a friend of ours offered to sew costumes for our next film. We were absolutely thrilled to let her take the costume making over! She made all of the costumes for both armies, custom fitting all the tunics to each actor. For Alqama Pasha, we did purchase a pattern designed to be an Ottoman leader. 

We went to the many thrift shops in our area and purchased belts and other accessories, mainly looking for black scarves and beanies for Muslim turbans. Our seamstress also donated some exciting fabrics that we were able to accessorize our characters with. 

Ottoman EmpireAdelaide Bowen as Alqama Pasha
Historic Short FilmLevi Wassmuth, Becket Bowen, and Kathleen Bowen in their Muslim Warrior costumes
Pelayo MovieNoël Bowen as a Visigoth Warrior

Pelayo Budget: Making The Numbers Work And Getting The Weaponry Of Our Dreams (And The Dreams Of All Teenage Boys Who Were Acting)

Homemade MoviesTotal: $1,700

With the budget that we were working with, we are very happy with the overall look we were able to achieve, especially as regards the weaponry. We were able to use all of the swords from our previous films as well as purchase a new medieval sword for Pelayo and two scimitars for the Muslims.

Collin Knutson, one of the extras, had brought a small scimitar from a trip to Israel and was happy to have it in the film as well. The Knutson children were very creative with bringing their own props and costumes for us to use or scrap as we saw fit. Thanks so much, guys!

With all outdoor scenes, we were able to save a lot on sets. This also gave us the freedom to spend more on weapons and even give a small commission to all the actors for their time freely given. 

Pelayo The Movie

Practicing With The Actors To Get Battle Ready Without Accidentally Harming Each Other With The Swords

Historical Short

Since the battle was to be the focus of this short film, we went through the trouble of actually choreographing the battle scenes. Faustina typed up a battle sequence and she and Becket taught it to the actors with the help of the rest of the crew. There were three planned weeks of practice leading up to the shoots.

The first practice, it hailed and rained like crazy and we had to mainly work under the pavilion, shivering and freezing cold. The other practices were much warmer and better, although the ground was mushy and we made a mud pit of the city park. After practice, practice, practice, we took to the shot locations and shot the scenes with much more smoothness than we experienced in past films.

Doing The Grunt Work On The Pelayo Shoot Days

We broke our record with filming Pelayo. The entire movie was filmed in just 2 weeks. We shot the battle scenes on a weekend, the bishop scene only a few days later and the cave scene the following weekend. DONE! The only close call with the swords was when Michael accidentally stabbed Collin's shirt to the ground.

On the first battle day, we had everyone costumed as Visigoths before lunch. After lunch, we re-costumed and applied makeup for the Moors for the after lunch shooting. On the second battle day, we did the combat clips with half Visigoth and half Moor cast.

The editing, since we upgraded to Adobe-Pro and hit a major learning curve, took much longer than the filming. At last, even the editing was done by October and was sent off to Music Forge for its score!

Pelayo The Movie

5. Pelayo Original Music Score

Pelayo was sent off to Music Forge in October 2022. We were very pleased with the Max & Carlota and the Grisly Grisell  soundtracks which were produced by the same composer.

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