Saturday, May 15, 2010

Making a Difference in Hollywood

Recently, I talked about my experience of the story of Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. I also thought at the time what an inspiring story this would be on film. Well, as it happens, there is a film in the works and it should be coming out in 2011. 

Steve McEveety produced the movie "The Stoning of Soraya M" in 2008, but is working on the production of two other films - one about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the other based on the book Left to Tell, by Immaculee Ilibagiza. He decided that he wanted to work on this film because he was drawn to the way Immaculee was able to forgive those people who, in the most violent way, had slaughtered her own family. The film will have as its focus the subjects of forgiveness and spiritual warfare. 

Like Left to Tell, "The Stoning of Soraya M" is also a true story, based on a book by the same name. It tells of an innocent woman accused of adultery who was stoned to death in a village in Iran while no one supported her but her aunt. The next day, the aunt, knowing that her only hope for justice lay in exposing the inhumanity of what had happened, approached a French-Iranian journalist with her harrowing story. McEveety read the 1994 book and knew he had to act on it. It was a story that needed to be told. 

You have probably heard the famous quote, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing."  Well it is true that it only takes one person to do what is right. Though she was unable to prevent the stoning of her niece, the aunt succeeds in telling the world this moving story - first through the journalist's book and then through the Hollywood film. 

Working as a Catholic in Hollywood can't be an easy thing, but McEveety has done a brilliant job. Early in his career, he concentrated on entertaining and learning his craft. Now that he has some experience, he is able to draw attention to the films that have an important message. One of those movies was "The Passion of the Christ."  

McEveety says that making "The Passion" changed the lives of his family. It "opened our eyes to a spiritual world that we didn't realize was so prominent in this world. I now see clearly that here is a spiritual war going on... we're expected to be part of that battle." After making "The Passion" he also understood his faith in a totally different way. Strange phenomena took place during filming. More than one person, including Jim Caviezel, were struck by lightening and family members of people working on the film were experiencing physical cures. The significance of this film crossed the boundaries of our natural world.

We should be hoping that producers like Steve McEveety continue to work with other Catholics in Hollywood, like Mel Gibson and Jim Caviezel, to make films whose messages have real value and will bring others to Christ. Each person CAN make a difference!

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