Major Production: New FATIMA Movie Poised to Rock your World

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By Karen A. Walker

Dick Lyles, CEO of Origin Entertainment, today confirmed with Catholic Business Journal that the company’s long-anticipated,  FATIMA film directed by Italian director Marco Pontecorvo (son of famed director Gillo Pontecorvo), and produced by Origin Entertainment along with Elysia Productions and Rose Pictures, has wrapped up filming. Andrea Bocelli has just finished recording for the film the original song “Gratia Plena” (“Full of Grace”), composed by renowned Italian composer Paolo Buonvino. Arrangements for top-drawer distribution have been finalized, and it will be in theaters April 24, 2020.

“It’s a stunningly beautiful film; just beautiful, ” Lyles says. “All of the actors are superb, and Stephanie Gil, the young actress from Spain who plays a young Lucia, the eldest of the three Fatima shepherd children, is amazing.”

“This movie will remind you what it means to be an authentic Catholic,” adds Lyles. “The courage of the three shepherd children is an inspiration for the ages.”

In praise of this movie, the Shrine of Fatima has endorsed the script as true to the meaning and message of Fatima, and have instated an Advisory team to work with the filmmakers to ensure an accurate and sensitive portrayal of the story.  

Tourism Portugal and ICA held a promotional event at the Cannes Marche du Film, and invited the FATIMA team to present about the FATIMA movie, as well as their experiences of filming in Portugal, as the first film through the country’s new cash rebate film incentive program.

But a great movie, even with A-list actors, a compelling script, exceptional filming, and a world-renown director still requires a seasoned, strategic, proven-successful distribution team in order to draw audiences. And that’s just what they have.

Strong Actors and distribution

Bob and Jeanne Berney relaunch Picturehouse with North American Rights deal for Faith-based drama FATIMA

As reported in The Wrap and Deadline, in his first major move since exiting Amazon Studios, distribution executive Bob Berney has teamed with wife Jeanne Berney to reopen Picturehouse, the label he once headed. They have acquired North American distribution rights to Fatima, a feature film starring Stephanie Gil (Terminator: Dark Fate), Lúcia Moniz (Love, Actually), Joaquim de Almeida (Queen of the South) and Goran Visnjic (Beginners) with Sonia Braga (Aquarius) and Harvey Keitel (The Irishman).

Bob Berney, former head of marketing and distribution at Amazon Studios, left Amazon in June 2019.  Prior to this work, he headed Picturehouse, which was originally formed in 2005 as a joint venture between Time Warner subsidiaries HBO and New Line Cinema.

Strong distribution track-record

Under Bob Berney’s leadership, Picturehouse has released such record-breaking films as The Passion of the Christ and Monster; as well as hits Whale RiderPan’s Labyrinth; Kit Kittredge: An American Girl; A Prairie Home Companion and Seth Gordon’s documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, to name a few.

“Marco Pontecorvo has created a beautiful and inspirational film telling the emotional story of three young children whose visions captured a nation at a time when World War I was ravaging Europe,” Bob Berney and Jeanne R. Berney said in a joint statement. “We are extremely excited to bring this film to North American theatergoers.”

Strong story

Fatima is a powerful and uplifting drama about the power of faith. It tells the story of a 10-year-old shepherd and her two young cousins in Fátima, Portugal, who report seeing visions of the Virgin Mary. Their revelations inspire believers but anger officials of both the Church and the secular government, who try to force them to recant their story. As word of their prophecy spreads, tens of thousands of religious pilgrims flock to the site in hopes of witnessing a miracle. What they experience will change their lives forever. Fatima will open in theaters nationwide on April 24, 2020.

Strong directing and production

Directed by Marco Pontecorvo and written by Pontecorvo, Valerio D’Annunzio and Barbara Nicolosi, Fatima is produced by James T. Volk, Dick Lyles, Stefano Buono, Maribel Lopera Sierra, Rose Ganguzza, Marco Pontecorvo and Natasha Howes. The film features the original song Gratia Plena (Full of Grace) performed by Andrea Bocelli and composed by renown Italian composer Paolo Buonvino.

Fatima is the second feature directed by Pontecorvo following the award-winning drama Pa-ra- da. His numerous credits as a cinematographer include HBO’s Game of Thrones and Rome, and John Turturro’s feature Fading Gigolo.

Compelling historical reality

“It is amazing to realize that in 1917, before television, the internet, or any reliable mass communication, 70,000 people gathered at this remote site to witness an anticipated miracle,” Volk noted in a statement. “It’s truly a remarkable story, based on real events, and we are excited to partner with Picturehouse in the release of this film.”

Fatima is not a film about religion,” underscored Ganguzza in a statement. “It is a film about the power of faith in times of conflict and turmoil.”

Remember, Mark your calendar

Fatima will open in theaters nationwide on April 24, 2020.


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