Starring Pope Francis – New film features Holy Father as himself (UPDATED)

Pope Francis at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, Jan. 27, 2016. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.
Pope Francis at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, Jan. 27, 2016. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

.- Update 2/2/16 6:30 p.m. EST: Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Communications, responded to reports that the Pope will be in an upcoming movie, saying, “The Pope is not an actor.” He said that some footage of the Pope may be used in the movie, but no acting was done specifically for the movie. AMBI Pictures did not respond to CNA request for clarification and has removed the promotional webpage for the movie.

The “Pope of Surprises” is at it again. Pope Francis is set to be featured in the upcoming film “Beyond the Sun,” the first Pope in history to play himself in a big screen production.

The idea for the film came from the Holy Father, who approached the filmmakers at AMBI Pictures, asking them to produce a movie that could effectively portray Gospel passages and parables to children.

The movie will be a family adventure story where children from different cultures emulate the apostles while searching for Christ in the world around them, says the film group.

All proceeds from “Beyond the Sun” will go to El Almendro and Los Hogares de Cristo, Argentine charities that provide support for at-risk children and young adults in need.

AMBI co-founders Andrea Iervolino and Lady Monika Bacardi are fully financing and producing the film through their AMBI Pictures banner. Co-producers are Graciela Rodriguez and Gabriel Leybu, and the screenplay was written by Graciela Rodriguez.

Iervolino has been producing films since he was 15, when the church in his hometown of Cassino, Italy, opened their doors and allowed him to shoot his footage inside. He has produced, funded and distributed over 50 feature films including “The Merchant of Venice”, “The Humbling” and “All Roads Lead to Rome.”

He said in a statement that working with the Holy Father will be a highlight of his career.

“Our excitement and gratitude toward His Holiness, Pope Francis participating in this film is beyond words. This is not just a movie for us, it’s a message, and who better to have on your side to deliver an important societal and spiritual message than the Pope.”

Bacardi added that the film will be entertaining and moving for families around the world and a creative way to raise money for worthwhile causes.

Principal photography will begin in early 2016 in Italy. AMBI will oversee worldwide distribution through its Los Angeles-based sales division.

Tags: Pope Francis, Beyond the Sun

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