Sr. Rose Looks at Hollywood

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Today a colleague asked me if I thought there was an anti-Catholic bias in Hollywood.

It got me thinking.

I looked through my file of published articles and found one I wrote in 2006 at the invitation of US Catholic, a national Catholic magazine published by the Claretians. I re-read it and I am still of the same opinion as I was then: Horray for Hollywood (US Catholic Octoebr, 2006)

 Guide for Catholics on Media Bias

Back in 1999 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops published a helpful guide to Catholics who perceive a bias in the media, presumably the news. I think this leaflet can be very useful when we may perceive there to be a bias in the entertainment industry as well. This guide is available online at

Insights and Answers on Media Bias by the USCCB

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USCCB Publishing

A point that seems most significant to me in the leaflet says that concerned Catholics be wary of  making accusations that are generalizations or are inaccurate: “Religious bias is a serious matter, and accusations should not be made lightly or with insufficient evidence….” To me, this means evidence that is based on research, analysis, and quantifying results.

(When I read through the leaflet today it called to mind Bill Maher’s 2008 lazy film Religulous – all the points describing what media bias looks like were in this film! But it also made me think that as believers it behooves us to be able to explain, to articulate, the faith that is within us to cynics. It may not convince, but at least there is an opportunity for conversation.)

Urban Legends

I have some wonderful Catholic friends who get excited whenever anything worrisome appears in their email boxes. Before checking out the “rumors” or information, they forward emails to all their friends. In the last six months I have received several emails telling me to sign a petition because Terrence McNally’s play “Corpus Christi”, about a gay Jesus and gay apostles, is going to be released soon as a movie. According to www.snopes.com, this rumor has been going around at least since 2000 and it is false. Indeed, there is no mention of it at the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com) and Google doesn’t turn up anything. I recommend checking out rumors that seek to incite moral panics before passing on misinformation.

Media Literacy Education & Media Mindfulness

Media literacy education can also serve believers and citizens well because media mindfulness is a set of life skills (critical thinking) for the 21st century. These skills include core concepts and key questions to educate all ages who engage with the media to do so deliberately and critically (not negatively.) See www.medialit.org, www.PaulineCMS.org, and National Association for a Media Literate America. Media literacy/media mindfulness provide a way for thoughtful media consumers to respond to media stories in all forms: respectful, dialogic, informed, and responsive rather than reactive.

I am looking forward to the new document coming soon from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications on the media (see my blog entry below).  

In Spite of Darkness, a Spiritual Encounter with Auschwitz

“In Spite of Darkness, a Spiritual Encounter with Auschwitz”

auschwitz tor - Auschwitz Gate

A Lenten Morning of Prayer and Reflection

Guided by Fr. Ron Schmidt, SJ

Documentary Producer

 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

9:00 a.m. – 12 NOON

 

Meditation Room
Blessed Sacrament Church

6657 Sunset Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90028


The morning will use the documentary film, “In Spite of Darkness, A Spiritual Encounter with Auschwitz” as the framework for prayer and reflection on suffering, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

 

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Donation: $10

To register, please call Blessed Sacrament Church at (323) 462-6311.

In Spite of Darkness clip

Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor

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Flannery: A Life of Flannery O\’Connor by Brad Gooch

Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) is not only one of my favorite authors, she is one of my favorite people. I was 12 years old when she died. She’s like that friend you always wish you had as a kid. What I want to know is: why did it take me so long to meet you?

If it hadn’t been for a friend quoting one of Flannery’s zingers a couple of years ago about art I would not have gone beyond the one short story I had read in school. Obviously, I wasn’t ready for Flannery back then. It  all changed when I read her essays Mystery & Manners and then her The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O\’Connor edited by Sally Fitzgerald over the summer of 2005.

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I was thrilled when I read in the New York Times Book Review  New York Times Book Review March 1, 2009 that a biography of Flannery had just been published. The review, by Joy Williams, didn’t really critique the book. She condensed it – and did it rather well. I thought she really liked Flannery whether or not Gooch had written a good book or not. Needless to say, I bought the book and read it non-stop. (This past Sunday’s NYTimes Book Review had a letter to the editor complaining with much emphasis on the fact that Williams did not review the book!)

Gooch, who wrote City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O”Hara in 1994, has done a fine job of tracing Flannery’s life and writing, her relatives, friends, and her academic and professional career, and what some might call her quirks (the peacocks and other fowl; her quick wit). He doesn’t conjecture, but takes all the threads of her life and entwines them. This is a careful, well-researched and documented biography that moves right along. At one point I felt like I needed a geneology chart; at other times I wanted to see more photos especially of her mother and the many authors who were her friends and/or contemporaries. The funny thing is, although I couldn’t put the book down, or didn’t want to, I didn’t feel like I had learned a great deal more about Flannery than what I gathered from her Letters: The Habit of Being.  Flannery has comprehensive endnotes for each chapter and an Index, although not every name was listed there.

Gooch does add more light on Flannery’s relationship with her dominating mother, Regina, than Letters. He found people or memoirs of people who witnessed their strained way of being together and Flannery’s necessary dependence on her mother because of her lupus.

Flannery O’Connor was a very bad speller, and I take great consolation in this fact!

For those of you who may not know Flannery O’Connor: she was one of the 20th century’s most outstanding American novelists, make that Catholic novelists (short-story writer, essayist).  Her genre was “Southern Gothic” and her characters grotesque; redemption and grace in the “Christ-haunted” South her theme. She is also very, very funny; salty and observant. She never married and the consensus seems to be that she was an innocent. She seems to have fallen in love at least once, but knew she would never marry. She had a great capacity for friendship. She was, in every way, a Catholic – but a strong Catholic who knew that by grace she would not wilt in the face of sin or humanity – rather than the pious, lace, flowers, and plaster-statue rosary-weilding  kind (which she disparaged at every opportunity.)

For a quick review of her life and writing, see Flannery O\’Connor Wikipedia and if you are intrigued, I suggest reading Habit of Being and Flannery: A Life as companions. They compliment each other.

What fascinates me is Flannery’s insight and commentary on the relationship between art and religion. She truly has something to say about fiction, and by extension, cinema as art – though she seems to have not frequented the movie theater very often. What she says about fiction and story-telling as art is what can influence modern story-tellers. She refused to preference “message” over art. Art came first. Good art = good religion. Bad art = bad religion. (I think Sr. Wendy Becket would agree though their art forms are different.)

You may also wish to check out this excellent article on Flannery that appeared in Commonweal, November 21, 2008: What Flannery Knew: Catholic Writing for a Critical Age by Paul Elie.

Archbishop George N. Niederauer wrote Flannery O\’Connor\’s Religious Vision  for the Lane Center Lecture in September, 2007. It was published in America magazine in December 2007. It is well worth a read for his take on Flannery’s vision about the Church’s human element and flaws and “empty religion”. Too bad Bill Maher (Religulous) never met, or evidently read, Flannery O’connor.

For a YouTube lecture on Flannery O’Connor Yale University Lecture on Wise Blood. The film  Wise Blood VHS  directed by John Huston is available from Amazon.com (In researching these I discovered that Benedict Fitzgerald, the son of Robert and Sally Fitzgeraldwho were great friends of Flannery – Sally edited Letters: The Habit of Being –  wrote the screenplay for Wise Blood (1979) – and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.)

For a dramatization on YouTube of one of Flannery’s short stories, Good Country People (1960\’s).

In 2007, over 200 letters between Elizabeth “Betty” Hester, the anonymous “A” in Letters: The Habit of Being, were made accessible to the piblic. The LA Times covered the event, and what they mean in view of O’Connor scholarship here Letters give new insight into Flannery O\’Connor.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Flannery O’Connor (Letters: The Habit of Being unless otherwise noted):

“You would probably do just as well to get that plot business out of your head and start simply with a character or anything that you can make come alive. Wouldn’t it be better for you to discover a meaning in what you write rather than to impose one? Nothing you write will lack meaning because the meaning is in you.”  –  Unpublished letter to Elizabeth “Betty” Hester

I see no reason to limit the Holy Ghost to fire.  He is full of surprises. 1958

It is what is invisible that God sees and that the Christian must look for. Because he knows the consequences of sin, he knows how deep you have to go to find love.  

Pornography and violence and anything else in excess are all sins against form, and I think they ought to be approached as sins against art rather than sins against morality.

At least this is practical in these times when most writers are pagans and if you are going to talk in terms they can understand. The pious style is a great stumbling block to Catholics who want to talk to the modern world.       1956

About scandalizing little ones … I spoke to a priest about it and the thing he said to me was, “You don’t have to write for fifteen year old girls.” Of course, the mind of a fifteen year old girl lurks in many a head that is seventy-five and every day people are being scandalized not only by what is scandalous of its nature but what is not.

The fact is that in order not to be scandalized, one has to have a whole view of things, which not many of us have.   1956

I’m not one to pit myself against St. Paul but when he said, “Let it not so much be named among you.” I presume he was talking about society and what goes on there and not about art. Art is not anything that goes on “among” people, not the art of the novel anyway. It is something that one experiences alone and for the purpose of realizing in a fresh way, through the senses, the mystery of existence. Part of the mystery of existence is sin. When we think about the Crucifixion, we miss the point of it if we don’t think about sin.    1956

Fiction is the concrete expression of mystery – mystery that is lived. Catholics believe that all creation is good and that evil is the wrong use of good and that without Grace we use it [good] wrong most of the time. It is almost impossible to write about supernatural grace in fiction. We almost have to approach it negatively. As to natural Grace, we have to take that the way it comes – through nature. In any case, it [Grace] operates surrounded by evil.

I am to give a talk on the dizzying subject – “What is a Wholesome Novel?”.  I intend to tell them that the reason they find nothing but obscenity in modern fiction is because that is all they know how to recognize. – Letter to John Lynch, 1956 p. 176 HOB

I mortally and strongly defend the right of the artist to select an aspect of the world to portray and as the world gets more materialistic there will be much more to select from. Of course, you are only enabled to see what is black by having light to see it by… Furthermore, the light you see by may be altogether outside of the work itself. The question is not is this negative or positive, but is it believable.

About bad taste, I don’t know, because bad taste is a relative matter, There are some who will find almost everything in bad taste, from spitting on the street to Christ’s association with Mary Magdalen. Fiction is supposed to represent life, and the fiction writer had to use as many aspects of life as are necessary to make his total picture convincing. The fiction writer doesn’t state, he shows, renders. It’s the nature of fiction and it can’t be helped. If you’re writing about the vulgar, you have to prove they’re vulgar by showing them at it.

The novel is an art form and when you use it for anything other than art, you pervert it. I didn’t make this up. I got it from St. Thomas [Aquinas] (via Maritain) who shows that art is wholly concerned with the good of that which is made; it has no utilitarian end. If you manage to use it successfully for social, religious or other purposes, it is because you made it art first.

 

 

“I have found that anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the Northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.” –Flannery O’Connor, “The Grotesque in Southern Fiction”

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They Killed Sister Dorothy HBO film March 25

They Killed Sister Dorothy

HBO film documents her life and quest for justice

Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN

Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN 1931-2005

For thirty years Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN, and her community worked with the poor in the rain forest of the Amazon basin in Anapu, Para’, Brazil. When wealthy cattle ranchers began destroying huge areas of the rain forest to make way for grazing land, Sr. Dorothy became active in the Brazilian government’s Sustainable Development Project, also called PDS. She also became a Brazilian citizen.

 The PDS gave grants of government land to sustenance farmers with the proviso that they farm a percentage of the land for food and leave the rest as forest. At the same time, far from federal oversight, the landowners who were responsible for deforestation fraudulently gave plots of land to employees in order to retain control of the forest. This created tension and conflict between the ranchers and the farmers who were supported by Sr. Dorothy.

 She frequently wore a t-shirt that said in Portuguese: “The death of the forest is the end of our life.

 On February 12, 2005, two men approached Sister Dorothy as she walked toward a meeting. One of them asked if she was armed to which she responded that her only weapon would be the Bible. She began to read the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor in spirit….” One of the men then shot the 73 year-old Sister Dorothy six times, killing her.

Rayfran das Neves Sales, is seen in a video which shows how he killed nun Dorothy Stang during a trial at Justice Tribunal in Belem, Brazil, on Friday, Dec 9, 2005.

Rayfran das Neves Sales, is seen in a video which shows how he killed nun Dorothy Stang during a trial at Justice Tribunal in Belem, Brazil, on Friday, Dec 9, 2005.

 They Killed Sister Dorothy is an enthralling account of Sister Dorothy’s death and the capture and trials of her killers.

 The film, which has already won numerous awards at film festivals, was screened at the City of Angels Film Festival in Los Angeles on March 1. In addition to director and filmmaker Daniel Junge, Tom Stang, one of Sister Dorothy’s younger twin brothers, was present.

 “You think that you can get over something like this, but you never really do,” Mr. Stang told the audience. “It is truly amazing that my sister really gave her life for all of us. How many of us truly live our lives according to our beliefs? The evil you see in this film is unbelievable. Those of us who care about planet earth know that we are in peril. My sister stood up. And I applaud all of you who want to save our planet earth.” 

Director Daniel Junge (The Iron Ladies of Liberia) told the audience that he read about Sr. Dorothy’s murder in the New York Times. “The story of a 73-year old nun murdered in the rain forest got my attention. So I called the Dayton newspaper, Sister Dorothy’s hometown, and asked a reporter if there was anyone in the family I could speak to. She suggested (Father) David, a Maryknoll missionary and Tom’s twin. Ten days later we were on a plane to Brazil.”

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 Within days of Sr. Dorothy’s murder, three men were arrested and admitted to the crime. The greater part of the film is taken up with legal proceedings against the men, appeals, depositions, and trials. Junge admits that the media, including his crew, got extraordinary, if not unbelievable access to both prosecution and defense interviews and courtroom proceedings. The most surprising aspect of the film is the manner in which local or state courts in Brazil conduct business. It is pure theater, and justice seems elusive. Junge noted, “These characters (lawyers, judges, ranchers) were a pure gift to a filmmaker. We could not have scripted them; no one would have believed it.”

 The footage of the soft-spoken Sister Dorothy, one of eight children of German-Irish parents, shows a gentle woman determined to do the right thing for the common good of the local community, of Brazil, her adopted country, and of the world. “Dot got her love for nature from my dad,” explained Tom Stang. “We had had nuns and priests in our family so it was normal for us to consider a religious vocation. We wanted to do something meaningful with our lives. We were products of the 1960s and we believed we could make a difference.”

 One thing that I noted was that there were no clergy visible nor was the local bishop, Dom Erwin Krautler, quoted in any way that demonstrated the support of the local church for Sr. Dorothy and her ministry. Daniel Junge assured me, however, that Krautler has been and is an outspoken advocate for justice for Sr. Dorothy and her work (see America, March 2, 2009). Religious in the area, including the bishop, continue to receive death threats. Krautler, in fact, now has limited police protection.

 When asked how the making of this film had changed him, Junge responded that he was raised Catholic and “I have never been more proud of being a Catholic than during the making of this film. This story represents the best of what it means to be a Catholic. To see these completely selfless women giving of themselves to the betterment of humanity is news that doesn’t always get told.”

 The film will premiere on HBO on March 25; check local listings for time.

L to R Eugene Suen, City of Angels Film Fest producer, Tom Stang, brother of Sr. Dorothy, Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP, director Daniel Junge, Craig Detwiellwer, CAFF producer, pose for a photo after the screening of "They Killed Sister Dorothy" at the Directors Guild of America, Hollywood, March 1, 2009

L to R Eugene Suen, City of Angels Film Fest producer, Tom Stang, brother of Sr. Dorothy, Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP, director Daniel Junge, Craig Detwiellwer, CAFF producer, pose for a photo after the screening of "They Killed Sister Dorothy" at the Directors Guild of America, Hollywood, March 1, 2009

For more information:  They Killed Sister Dorothy

Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP is the director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Los Angeles and the film/tv columnist for St. Anthony Messenger magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kings new TV series re-imagines David & Goliath and Book of Samuel

 

Ian McShane as King Silas, Christopher Egan as David Shepherd -- NBC Photo: Eric Liebowitz

Ian McShane as King Silas, Christopher Egan as David Shepherd -- NBC Photo: Eric Liebowitz

King David Comes to Primetime

NBC launches new Sunday night series

Kings, a new television series from the director of I Am Legend and Constantine (Francis Lawrence), will premiere Sunday, March 15, at 8:00 pm on NBC. It is the age-old biblical story of David and Saul set in contemporary times and the ensuing developments in royal politics.

            In the 2-hour series premiere entitled Goliath, we meet King Silas of Gilboa (Golden Globe winner Ian McShane, Deadwood) whose country’s war with Gath has gone on for too long.  Many have died.  He calls upon God to protect Gilboa but his trust lies elsewhere. David Shepherd (Chris Egan, Eragon), a lowly but brave soldier, longing for an end to the war, takes action that eventually leads him to the court of Gilboa, promotion, and special treatment from King Silas.  But those in power resent David’s presence and will do anything to keep their places of prestige and influence.  Discontent among the people and the war’s financial backers threaten Silas’s throne. Even Rev. Samuels, one of the King’s advisors, tells him that God will cast him aside for a man after his own heart.

 

KINGS -- "Pilot" -- Pictured: (l-r) Chris Egan as "David Shepherd", Eamonn Walker as "Reverand Ephram Samuals" -- NBC Photo: Eric Liebowitz

KINGS -- "Pilot" -- Pictured: (l-r) Chris Egan as "David Shepherd", Eamonn Walker as "Reverand Ephram Samuals" -- NBC Photo: Eric Liebowitz

 

            Kings makes no secrets of its biblical allusions to the David and Saul story from the First Book of Samuel.  All the characters are present even though the modern-day situations sometimes give an air of lightness to contrast with dark of war, like the Queen losing her cell phone and causing a national security crisis and Goliath as the name of the enemy’s military tank.  You might even recognize some of the places.  Gilboa’s capital city of Shiloh is a visual treat with an eye-catching blend of antique and contemporary architecture.

            Knowing the exploits of Saul, David, Solomon, and company in the Bible, it will be fascinating to follow the development of this new series. With four books of the Old Testament (I & II Samuel, I & II Kings) as back story, Kings will never run out of material.

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Sr. Hosea Rupprecht is an associate at the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City, CA.

Vatican considering document on communications in age of ‘new media

Archbishop Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication

Archbishop Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication

Vatican considering document on communications in age of ‘new media

 

 

By John Thavis Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican is considering the preparation of a major document on new media and their implications for the church’s communications strategy. Bishops from 82 countries began a five-day meeting in Rome March 9 to discuss modern media and the new culture of communications that has arisen in recent years. The seminar was sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the pontifical council, said the purpose of the seminar was to review with bishops the changing communications scene and see how the church should respond to the challenges and opportunities. The pontifical council, in a plenary meeting in late October, will then decide whether to go ahead with a new document on the subject, he said.

The modern church’s communications strategy has been based primarily on the Second Vatican Council’s 1963 decree “Inter Mirifica” on the instruments of social communications, and on the pontifical council’s 1991 pastoral instruction, “Aetatis Novae” (“At the Dawn of a New Era”).

Archbishop Celli said that since 1991 “a lot of water has gone under the bridge. New media are posing new questions, new interests and new pastoral necessities.” He said it was important for the church to understand that it’s not just new technological tools that have arisen, but a whole new attitude toward communication based largely on interactivity and dialogue. “The church today cannot only give information — which is certainly useful, but we cannot limit ourselves to that,” Archbishop Celli said. “I think the church needs to enter into a dialogue that is increasingly rich and proactive, a dialogue of life with people who are seeking, who are distant and who would like to find a message that is closer and more suitable to their path,” he said. For that reason, he said, his council has been pushing bishops around the world not only to have their own Web sites, but also to make sure these sites are interactive. Unfortunately, Archbishop Celli added, it’s been impractical for the Vatican to make its own Web presence interactive because it would be flooded by questions and comments from all over the world. It’s something more easily done on the local level, he said.

           Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ communications committee and a participant at the Vatican seminar, said effective use of new media is vital in reaching younger generations. “You go where they are. And where are they? They’re on programs like Twitter and Facebook and others,” he said. “We need to be present, and we need the young people to help us be present.” Archbishop Niederauer said the change in new media was in some ways like the change from the horse to the car a century ago. “Because 100 years ago, if an old man bought a car, who could fix it? His grandson or his son, because they learned the machinery. They headed straight for it; they didn’t look back,” he said. In a similar way today, he said, young people have seized on the communications opportunities of new media, and the church should welcome their talents and expertise.

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What is the Big Idea? Bobette Buster lecture series

actone

 

 

What IS the Big Idea?

 

Act One and Bobette Buster have the answer!

 

Sign up TODAY

for the Act One Lecture Series

‘What’s the Big Idea?: The Art of Cinematic Story-telling’

with world-renowned story expert Bobette Buster!

 

 

Considered by many to be the next ‘Robert McKee’, Buster’s course is taught at USC, Pixar and all over the world, and her students have gone on to write and produce international blockbusters.

 

“Bobette Buster’s…insights and thoroughness in examining every aspect of a film; from structure to marketing, acting, cinematography, editing, and sound, have been immensely valuable to our ongoing commitment to learning and creativity,” says Elyse Klaidman, Pixar Animation Studios.

 

“Bobette Buster is an absolute wizard at understanding story and passing that understanding along to others,” says Kathy Fogg, Associate Director, Peter Stark Producing Program at USC.

 

Check her out for yourself at : http://www.actoneprogram.com/alumniseminars.htm

                   

For the first time ever, this 6-day course (see attachment for dates and location) is open to the public and at a fraction of the price!

 

Writers, Producers, Development Executives…

 

What’s your big idea?

 

Treat yourself or send us your people…Join one of the most sought out story experts Bobette Buster and learn how to make it happen!

 

‘What’s the Big Idea?’ covers the foundations of a good screenplay, the actual writing process and what it takes to turn vision into film, making good scripts truly great.

 

Pay $600 for the entire course or pay $250 for a weekend segment.

 

Topics to be covered in each segment include:

 

Weekend 1:  March 21/22 – Cinema Language 101:  Learn what Coppola, Kurasawa, Spielberg and Lucas figured out:  the roots to their success began with discovering the unique cinema language for each story.

 

Weekend 2: March 28/29 –  Weekend 2 – Advanced Story Physics & Sound Design: Cinema is the orchestration of emotions.  Learn how the master film storytellers create complex chords of feelings while creating clarity of insight.

 

Weekend 3 : April 4/5 –  The Future of Cinematic Storytelling:  How Fractured Narrative Works.  And Understanding Hollywood Economics and Target Audience:  how to create smart scripts that connect with the right audience. 

 

For group rates of 3 or more, and to register for individual weekends, please contact Rosario Rodriguez at rosario@actoneprogram.com

 

 

To register go to:

http://public.serviceu.com/registration/default.asp?OrgID=9286&EventID=3838776&OccID=129738087

 

For more information about this course, visit our website at www.actoneprogram.com  or contact Act One directly at info@actoneprogram.com | (323) 464-0815

Catholics in Media to Award “Doubt” “Without a Trace” & Lou Gossett, Jr.

 

 

The CIMA Award

The CIMA Award

 

Catholics in Media Associates (CIMA)

16th  Awards Mass & Brunch honors

Louis Gossett, Jr., “Doubt” and

CBS / Warner Television’s “Without A Trace”

 

Mark Derwin (“Secret Life of an American Teenager”)

to serve as MC as venue moves to the Beverly Hills Hotel

 

   Catholics in Media Associates’ (CIMA) Sixteenth Mass and Awards Brunch on Sunday, March 29, 2009 will honor Louis Gossett, Jr. for Lifetime Achievement, the feature film “Doubt“ and the CBS / Warner Bros Television / Jerry Bruckheimer Productions television series “Without A Trace.”  The celebration, which will be held for the very first time in the Crystal Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA, will begin with a Mass at 10 AM with a brunch and awards ceremony to follow, announced television producer and CIMA President Marilyn Gill.  Mark Derwin, costar of ABC Family’s “Secret Life of an American Teenager,” will serve as Master of Ceremonies.  

        The CIMA Awards were created in 1992 by former DGA President Jack Shea and other prominent Catholics in the entertainment industry. Their purpose is to promote and applaud individuals, films and TV programs that uplift the spirit and help us better understand what it is to be part of the human family.       

              Oscar-winning actor Louis Gossett, Jr. will receive the CIMA Lifetime Achievement Award for his personal and professional achievements which span a half-century. The recipient of an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and NAACP Image Award for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the 1982 film “An Officer and a Gentleman,” Gossett’s career encompasses motion pictures, television and the Broadway stage, where he made his debut in 1961 in “A Raisin in the Sun.” Memorable television appearances include starring roles in the epic mini-series “Roots” and “Sadat.” Other film roles include the “Iron Eagle” series, “Travels with My Aunt,” “Toy Soldiers” and “The Deep,” among many others.

         In 2006, Gossett founded the non-profit Eracism Foundation” whose mission is  the eradication all forms of racism by providing programs that foster cultural diversity, historical enrichment, education and anti-violence initiatives.  Gossett remarks: “This is a gratifying moment for me and I am humbled by this award.  I believe the gift of acting is from God, my oath to God, and I want to make sure, on a daily basis that it is honed and deeply spiritual. I want to believe that the audience believes my acting comes from this special place.”                                                                                        

      Past CIMA Lifetime Achiement Award recipients include Gregory Peck, Martin Sheen,  Rosemary Clooney, Jane Wyatt, Ricardo Montalban, Dick Van Dyke, Carroll O’Connor and Lew Wasserman, among many others.

The CIMA Film Award will be bestowed on “Doubt,” written and directed by Academy Award and WGA Award-winning screenwriter John Patrick Shanley (“Moonstruck”), adapted from the author’s 2005 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning Broadway play. Nominated for five Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards, including “Best Screenplay,” “Doubt” is set in 1964 at a Bronx, New York Catholic elementary school and concerns the confrontation between a progressive priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and a strong-minded principal (SAG Award-winner Meryl Streep) over the priest’s excessive interest in the school’s first African-American student. “Doubt” also stars Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG nominees Amy Adams and Viola Davis.  Shanley notes:  I have been fortunate in the uniformly positive reactions I have received from the Catholic community to ‘Doubt’ and I am gratified beyond words. American Catholicism has shown itself to be generous and robust in its embrace of new ways of looking at the Catholic experience.”  

             Past CIMA Award feature films include “The Valley of Elah,” “Narnia,” “Hotel Rwanda,” “The Passion of the Christ,” “Seabiscuit,” “Dead Man Walking,” “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan,” among many others.

             The 2009 CIMA Television Award will be presented to the CBS / Warner Bros Television / Jerry Bruckheimer Productions dramatic series “Without A Trace.”  Created in 2002 by Hank Gardner and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, “Without A Trace” concerns a fictitious FBI missing persons unit. Each episode focuses on the search for one individual along with an examination of the personal lives of the team members and their insight — and sometime traumatic reactions — to certain cases.

          “Without A Trace,” which stars Anthony LaPaglia, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Poppy Montgomery, Enrique Murciano, Eric Close and Roselyn Sanchez, also displays information about real-life missing persons and public service announcements at the end of many episodes. “Without A Trace” Executive Producers Greg Walker and Jan Nash comment: “If we had been nominated for an Emmy, we wouldn’t have been as proud as receiving this news. We have always operated from the premise of our characters looking to find the spiritual center of each episode.  The series is a terrific vehicle to interject spiritual questions into people’s daily life and work.”

            Past CIMA Television Award recipients include “Ugly Betty,” “Cold Case,” “Medium,” “Joan of Arcadia,” “The West Wing,” Judging Amy,” “Homicide – Life on the Streets,” “The Practice” and “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,” among many others.

           2009 CIMA Award Master of Ceremonies Mark Derwin stars as “George Nicholson on ABC Family’s “Secret Life of An American Teenager.”  Familiar to primetime, television audiences for his recent roles on “Chuck,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Boston Legal,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,”  “Without A Trace,” “Navy NCIS” and “CSI,” Derwin also starred on daytime television’s “The Young and The Restless,” “One Life To Live” and “Guiding Light.”    

 Tickets to the 2009 CIMA Awards can be purchase online at  Catholics in Media Awards or by calling 818.907.2734.                       

    


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Franz Jaegerstaetter: A Man of Conscience

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From Ron Schmidt, SJ:

The premire screening of “Franz Jaegerstaetter: A Man of Conscience” on Friday, March 6, 2009, will be accompanied by a gallery show of Austrian school children’s artwork about Franz. The film is from Hope Media Productions and distributed by  Maryknoll Productions.

 

The film will be shown a number of times throughout the evening.

The artwork will be up for a month at the church with special screenings offered for schools.

 

From Sr. Rose: I had the opportunity to see the film recently and it is an intriguing story of a layman (a husband and father who also fathered a child out of wedlock before his marriage) Blessed Franz Jägerstätter who refused to serve in Hitler’s army. He suffered the ultimate consequence for following his conscience.

Blessed is the Match: The Life & Death of Hannah Senesh

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A beautiful documentary opened earlier this month in LA and NY and will soon be on DVD: Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh. It is narrated by actress Joan Allen.

It is the story of a vibrant young Hungarian Jewess, Hannah Senesh (1921-1924), who was born into privilege in Hungary and migrated to Palestine in 1939 to study agriculture. She later joined the British army in order to parachute into Hungary and join the partisans to support the Jewish resistance. It was the only military operation undertaken during World War II to help the Jews.

Unfortunately, the timing was terrible. Hannah and her companions landed just as the Nazi’s occupied Hungary. They were captured; Hannah was killed.

But Hannah was many things, above all a poet.

This documetary is named for the last poem, or song, that she wrote after she parachuted into the partisan camp before capture. It reminds us that we can all make a difference:

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.
Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake.
Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

Fascinating story.

Life of Hannah Senesh  wikipedia

Blessed is the Match documentary website