.- Television executives are seeking to fuel viewers’ new appetite for religious-themed programming, reported Agence France-Presse. The trend was evident at the latest MIPTV audiovisual trade show that closed in Cannes Friday.
Shows such as “The Man Who Would Be the Pope,” a Hollywood-style TV miniseries based on the life of John Paul II, historical dramas about famous saints, and glimpses of life inside the Vatican were top picks at the trade show.
This interest is being fanned by the recent death of Pope John Paul II, the September 2001 attacks in the United States and President George Bush, TV executives say.
Austrian broadcaster ORF's 45-minute film “Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, My Vatican” was particularly appealing to buyers since Pope John Paul II gave the nod of approval to the film before his death and some say the German-born cardinal has a good chance of becoming the next Pope. It already aired on Italian TV yesterday on the first day of the conclave.
CBS News Productions' “Holy Secrets: Electing a Pope” was another hot pick and is now set to air in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Poland and Western European shortly.
Another popular program set for international broadcast was Hallmark Entertainment's “The Man Who Would Be the Pope.” Shot in Poland, this TV miniseries tells the story of Karol Wojtyla, the actor turned priest, and named Pope.
In an attempt to capitalize on recent current events, well-known German distributor Beta Film re-released its 1988 Italian-Canadian film “The Jeweller's Shop.” The film about the power of love and marriage, starring Burt Lancaster, Olivia Hussey and Ben Cross, was based on a play written by John Paul II.
Movies on the lives of the saints were also highly popular. “Joan of Arc: Child of War, Soldier of God” will be broadcast in Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and India as well as in Ireland, Hungary and France. According to the report, the film might also be shown in China, where broadcasters are looking for top-quality history-based programs.