Director David Naglieri and the Knights of Columbus have brought Pope Francis to the big screen in a unique documentary, Francis: The Pope from the New World. David’s film will screen at the John Paul II International Film Festival on April 12th, 2014 at 3:15PM at the Paragon Grove 13 theater in Coconut Grove, FL.
David was able to talk a little about his film before it premieres at the film festival.
Frank (JP2IFF Co-Director): How would you pitch your movie to an audience?
David (Director, Francis): Ever since his election to the papacy Pope Francis has sparked a great fascination both among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. His humility, simplicity and straight-forward manner have won him legions of fans and admirers across the globe. Our film gives audiences a chance to go deeper into his past and hear first-hand from close friends and collaborators, classmates and fellow priests—who truly is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?
Frank: In your opinion, how does your film fit into the 2014 theme, Inspiration. This question applies to the film itself as well as its production process.
David: Pope Francis has become an inspiration to millions through his commitment to the poor and his demonstrated humility. Having the chance to walk in his footsteps throughout Buenos Aires provided a remarkable glimpse into a truly inspirational figure. We met a priest threatened by drug Lords in one of the slums of Buenos Aires who Pope Francis vowed to give his life for, and we met a homeless woman who said the Pope would always provide her a bit of money along with a plea for her to “pray for him.” These living examples of Christian love and witness emerge from our portrait of Pope Francis and serve as inspiration for all who seek a return to the essence of Christ’s call to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Frank: What aspect of Pope Francis’’ life inspired(s) you the most?
David: I was deeply drawn to Pope Francis’ sheer humanity and striking simplicity. He loves soccer and is a tremendous fan of San Lorenzo de Almagro, his neighborhood team in Buenos Aires. He loved to joke with his friends and would always remember their birthdays. He refused to own a car or accept rides because he wanted to “be with the people” on the subway. In short he was someone you could be yourself around. At the same time he worked diligently to promote social justice, build bridges with other religions, and foster a authentic spirituality throughout his pastoral ministry. This was someone with tremendous depth of character who never allowed his varied pursuits to distract him from the core essence of the Gospel, which he lived out in an inspiring manner.
Frank: What challenges come with directing a documentary?
David: We had the challenge of dealing with time constraints as we attempted to complete our film and introduce the world to Pope Francis in a timely manner. We felt there was still a lot of confusion about who he was and what his background involved. For that reason we jumped right into this project and travelled to Buenos Aires within weeks of his election as Pope. The project would not have been possible without a great team of collaborators. Executive Producers Andrew Walther and Alejandro Bermúdez opened a lot of doors, and provided excellent vision and leadership. We also had a highly skilled translator and interviewer who helped us find the right stories and connect with our interview subjects. The short turn-around was challenging but ultimately very rewarding.