Shared from the 2018-01-18 Mon Valley Independent eEdition

Belle Vernon man comes home with 1st feature film

John Johnson is a master mason, a Scottish Rite Mason and a Knight Templar.


“Johnny Royal”

Belle Vernon native John “Johnny Royal” Johnson is coming home to share his first feature-length film.

Titled “33 & Beyond: The Royal Art of Freemasonry” will be screened 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the AMC Loews Waterfront 22 theater in Homestead.

The film takes viewers on a journey through the Blue Lodge, York and Scottish Rite bodies of Freemasonry – one of the world’s oldest secret societies.

The film debuted Oct. 13 at the Masonic Theater/Grand Lodge of Freemasonry in San Francisco and has been presented in other major cities.

The documentary is billed as the first film to fully examine the American Masonic structure, providing a look into the purpose and meaning of the rituals, membership and culture of the fraternity, as well as its future. It is based on more than 70 interviews of Masons. Johnson said that after he started to conduct interviews, it took a while to decide on the story he was trying to tell, but eventually realized he was exploring a hero’s quest and the masonic path to self-enlightenment.

Johnson said he became involved with the secret society about 10 years ago while studying in London.

He is a master mason and officer at Santa Monica Palisades No. 307, a 32nd-degree Scottish Rite Mason at Los Angeles Valley Scottish Rite and a Knight Templar.

Johnson said the documentary is about the “human condition” and both Masons and nonMasons will enjoy it.

Johnson wrote and directed the film.

The production staff comprises supervising editor Jason Pachomski; cinematographers Pablo Diez, Philipp Friesenbichler and Daryl Gilmore; and original music by Juliette Beavan, Sean Beavan, Ernest Chapman and Johnson.

The film was produced by Praetorian and TriCoast Entertainment.

DVD and Blue-Ray copies are available at .

On Demand video services will begin to stream the film in February.

Johnson said beyond the worldwide premiere, he is most excited for his Mid-Mon Valley family and friends to see his “baby.”

“I said this before, and I was kind of joking, but I honestly feel like I am about to give birth,” Johnson said.

“This is my baby. I have been working on it for seven years, and I am about to bring it into the world.

“I have these amazing people that have helped me tell this story.

“I am excited to now be known as a filmmaker and a storyteller.”

Prior to his work in film, Johnson moved to the West Coast where he launched a music career with Black Lodge, an industrial rock band.

For reserve tickets to the Waterfront showing, go to

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