Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Francis the First. In a cinematic first, Pope Francis will become the first pontiff to act in a scripted movie.

In AMBI Pictures’ Beyond the Sun, Pope Francis portrays himself in an inspirational story based on Gospel parables. The concept for the feature film is said to have emanated from Francis himself who asked the filmmakers to do a movie for children that communicates Jesus’s message.

Pope Francis’ willingness to actively participate in the movie was, no doubt, enhanced because all profits from Beyond the Sun will reportedly be donated to El Almendro and Los Hogares de Cristo. The charities, both located in Argentina, help aid at-risk children and young adults in need. 

Beyond the Sun is described as “a family adventure story where children from different cultures emulate the apostles while searching for Jesus in the world around them. The film will be uplifting and is intended to spiritually engage and encourage audiences of all ages to transmit Jesus words, to understand them and integrate them to live a better life, make good choices and help others.”

AMBI co-founders Andrea Iervolino and Lady Monika Bacardi are fully financing and producing the film through their AMBI Pictures banner. Co-producers are Graciela Rodriguez and Gabriel Leybu. Rodriguez wrote the film’s screenplay based on her own concept.

Producer Iervolino says “Our excitement and gratitude toward His Holiness, Pope Francis participating in this film is beyond words. This is not just a movie for us, it’s a message, and who better to have on your side to deliver an important societal and spiritual message than the Pope.” Iervolino added, “This movie will provide funds to support extremely worthwhile causes that we take very seriously. This message and cause are very dear to the entire AMBI family and we are honored and inspired by the level of collaboration from the Vatican.”

Bacardi adds “It is a great honor for Andrea and I to have the opportunity to work with His Holiness, Pope Francis, to spread the awareness of his message, through this film. We will make a movie everyone involved with can be proud of. Not only will families from around globe enjoy this film and be entertained, but they will be moved. There are creative ways to help those in need all over the world and we hope this film does just that. We appreciate Pope Francis’s permission to film him and use his image in our movie.”

Principal photography is slated to begin early 2016 in Italy. AMBI will oversee worldwide distribution through its Los Angeles-based international sales division, AMBI Distribution.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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