cross-posted from The World...IMHO
A good review by Deal Hudson (and some positive media news :)
A new and unusual film festival focused on pro-life issues will be held in San Francisco today. The Cinema Vita Film Festival is "dedicated to encouraging emerging filmmakers, showcasing movies about contemporary issues concerning life, and exploring life's deep significance."
Sponsored by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the Diocese of Oakland, and St. Ignatius Press, Cinema Vita was conceived by four pro-life laywomen. With the help of San Francisco's pro-life community, the festival became a reality.
I had the chance to view the films and I was very impressed.
Submissions of these short films -- most in the five-minute range -- were made in three categories: high school, college, and open, the highest number of entries being in the high school category. Festival judges are actress Jennifer O'Neill; Rev. Michael Morris, O.P., film and art historian at Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology; Doug Sherman, founder and chairman of Immaculate Heart Radio; Vicki Evans, Respect Life Program Coordinator at the Archdiocese of San Francisco; and me.
Bill and Marjorie Campbell are one of the two couples helping to underwrite the fledgling festival. "We see this as an ongoing project that will grow like the San Francisco Walk for Life," Marjorie told me. "We were inspired to support it because of the success of films like Bella and Juno. The arts, especially film, are much more effective at conveying a pro-life message than strident political debates."
One of the biggest stories concerning religion in the past several years is the explosion of Christian interest in producing films, ignited by the success of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. The grassroots marketing campaign for The Passion left in its wake a spate of companies and ad hoc networks attempting to tap into the same audience.
This interest in film as a medium of evangelization clearly appeals to Catholic investors like the Campbells.
"You have a much better chance to change people's minds when they go to movies, because the movies are not an attack on you. Films invite people to reflect; political debate often creates division and separate camps."