Pope Francis Takes His Influence to the Big Screen by Starring in 2 Christian Films

Pope Francis to star in two movies coming out this May,
Pope Francis to star in two movies coming out this May, | (Photo: (L) Focus Features, (R) Grace Hill Media)

Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is starring in two motion pictures coming out this month.

Marking the first time a pope has ever participated in and appeared in a movie, Pope Francis is featured in "Beyond the Sun," which follows four friends who are in search of God. He is also starring in "Pope Francis – A Man of His Word," a documentary.

"Beyond the Sun," written and directed by Graciela Rodriguez Gilio, is a family movie. According to a statement shared with The Christian Post, the filmmakers wish to bring a message of "hope, joy, and God's love to all" by using the exploration of Bible stories through the eyes of a group of runaways who wish to discover God.

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"'Beyond the Sun' is a modern day tale of hope, faith and courage based on stories from the Bible. Featuring an awe-inspiring appearance by His Holiness Pope Francis, the film chronicles the adventures of four young friends in search of God. This uplifting story is intended to spiritually engage and encourage audiences of all ages to live their best life, make good choices and help others," the film's synopsis reads.

Rodriguez-Gilio, a psychiatrist turned filmmaker, told The Hollywood Reporter that she was not afraid to ask the 266th pontiff to be in the film because of her time working with him and victims of abuse in Argentina.

"It was easy for me to ask because I knew him from before he was the pope," Rodriguez Gilio told THR.

"He is used to having cameras in front of him now. He would advise [the crew] and be like, 'The light is better this way,'" Rodriguez Gilio recalled, adding that Francis showed up to set with rosaries as gifts for the crew.

Distributed by AMBI Distribution, the film will donate all profits to Los Hogares de Cristo and El Almendro. "Beyond the Sun" was released May 15.

The second film, "Pope Francis – A Man of His Word," set to release May 18, is a documentary by three-time Academy Award nominee Wim Wenders. The film is intended to be a personal journey with Pope Francis rather than the typical biographical documentary.

"A Man of His Word" will center around the pope's ideas and messages, highlighting his work of reform and his answers to today's global questions. Throughout the film, Pope Francis will share his vision of the Church, his concern for the poor, and his involvement in environmental issues, social justice and more.

The Focus Features documentary shows the papal on "his many journeys around the world, with footage of him speaking at the United Nations, addressing the Congress of the United States, mourning with those gathered at Ground Zero and at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. He speaks to prisoners in correctional facilities and to refugees in Mediterranean camps. We see him travel to the Holy Land (Palestine and Israel) as well as to Africa, South America and Asia," the synopsis explains.

There is also a presence of Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), who the pope was named after. Saint Francis is one of the most revered Christian saints and reformers who dedicated his life to "Sister Poverty" and to a deep love of nature and all living beings and viewers will explore how that impacted the unconventional Catholic leader.

Follow Jeannie Law on Twitter: @jlawcp

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