UPDATE 2 Feb:
____ ORIGINAL Published on: Feb 1, 2016
From Variety (not The Onion… not Eye of the Tiber):
“Beyond the Sun” — from Ambi Pictures — is a family adventure based on the Gospels. Pope Francis asked the filmmakers to make a movie that communicated Jesus’ message to children.
AMBI co-founders Andrea Iervolino and Lady Monika Bacardi will finance and produce the film. Graciela Rodriguez wrote the screenplay and will co-produce with Gabriel Leybu. Monsignor Eduardo Garcia will be Pope Francis’ advisor.
All profits from the film will be donated to Argentinean charities El Alemendro and Los Hogares de Cristo, which aid at-risk children and young adults.
Iervolino made his first film in his hometown of Cassino, Italy, at age 15.
“Our excitement and gratitude toward His Holiness, Pope Francis participating in this film is beyond words,” he said. “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 said, “It is a great honor for Andrea and I to have the opportunity to work with His Holiness, Pope Francis, to spread the awareness of his message, through this film. We will make a movie everyone involved with can be proud of. Not only will families from around globe enjoy this film and be entertained, but they will be moved.”
Principal photography is slated to begin early this year in Italy. Ambi will oversee worldwide distribution for “Beyond the Sun” through its Los Angeles-based international sales division.
Okay… let’s poll this one.
Choose your best answer and, if you are registered to comment, give an pith and well-considered explanation in the combox.
Moderation queue is ON.
UPDATE 2 Feb:
From AP via ABC:
Vatican Disputes Pope Film Claim, Says Pontiff Not an Actor
The Vatican is disputing a U.S. film studio’s claim that the pope is making his movie debut, saying no scenes were shot for the venture and that the pope isn’t an actor.
Los Angeles-based AMBI Pictures headlined its press release: “Film Will Mark First Ever Big Screen Participation Role for the Leader of the Worldwide Catholic Church.”
Monsignor Dario Vigano, the head of the Vatican’s communications operation, acknowledged that he couldn’t exclude that the filmmakers got hold of some clips of the pope. But in comments broadcast on Vatican Radio on Tuesday, Vigano disputed the press release claiming that Francis would “play himself” in the film “Beyond the Sun.”
He said: “The pope is not an actor.”
AMBI described the film as “a family adventure story where children from different cultures emulate the apostles while searching for Jesus in the world around them.”
The company said “Beyond the Sun” initiated with Francis asking the filmmakers to make a movie for children that communicates Jesus’s message. The press release was accompanied by photos of the pope with the filmmakers.
The Vatican works hard to control the pope’s image, enforcing tough copyright restrictions on all visual media, and Vigano’s reaction to the announcement was a clear sign that the Vatican didn’t appreciate the hype. But Francis has been known to go his own way on several occasions, allowing friends to shoot video of him to convey messages to private gatherings: He delivered such a message to the Argentine Jewish community and to a gathering of American Pentecostals.
Vigano’s comment that he couldn’t exclude that the filmmakers had some footage of the pope suggested that they might have secured some video of him in the privacy of his hotel reception rooms.
The organizers said all profits from the film will go to two Argentina-based charities that help at-risk children and young adults.
A spokesman for AMBI declined to comment Tuesday.