John Paul II Film Festival features a documentary on Pope Francis

A documentary on the life of Pope Francis — from his childhood, to his role in the Church in Argentina to his election as pope — will make its big screen debut at the John Paul II International Film Festival on Saturday, April 12, in Miami.

The documentary, Francis: The Pope From the New World, traces the remarkable rise of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who, just over one year ago, became the first pope from the Americas. The documentary was primarily filmed on location in Argentina and features interviews with pontiff’s close friends, co-workers, and biographer, as well as those living in poverty in Buenos Aires.

“The film brings to life the story few people know — the story of Jorge Bergoglio, who came from humble beginnings and relative obscurity and is now the leader of the Catholic Church,” said Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, one of the documentary’s executive producers. “It is fitting that the life of Pope Francis be featured at a film festival named in honor of Blessed John Paul II since it was Pope John Paul who named Bergoglio archbishop and then cardinal, and it is Pope Francis who will name John Paul II a saint.”

Anderson added: “Both popes continue to be inspirational figures to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and both provide the world, and each of us, with a remarkable witness of living out the Gospel.”

The documentary begins with the electrifying moment when Pope Francis stands before the crowd in St. Peter’s Square on the day of his election. It then takes viewers through both the ordinary and climactic events of his life, tracing his work for those threatened in Argentina’s “Dirty War,” his advocacy for those affected by economic and political turmoil, and the opposition he sometimes encountered from Argentina’s political elites.

The John Paul II International Film Festival was founded in 2009, 10 years after John Paul II, himself a playwright, poet and actor, wrote a letter to the world’s artists to urge them to use their talents to lift up society, to teach and preach human dignity, and to help the people of today to better understand the mysteries of both God and man.

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