Idol Chatter

IMG_9070It is exceedingly rare for the Pope to get involved with commercial project and films, but “Beyond the Sun” is an exception to the rule. In this children’s adventure story of courage and faith, Pope Francis will appear on the silver screen. In an interview with Beliefnet, director Graciela Rodriguez Gilio spoke about “Beyond the Sun” and working with the Pope.


Beliefnet: What inspired this project? How did this film come about?

Gilio: I have worked with children for many years as a psychiatrist. I’ve seen many who have been discouraged, and in need of hope. I wanted to create a film that brings inspiration into their lives.

As a person of faith, I also feel it’s important to share the message of God’s love. Faith is such a powerful thing that helps guide us throughout life’s hardships.

I wrote a script that I feel accomplishes these two goals in hopes that it will positively impact and encourage children and families.

I’ve worked with Pope Francis before, and when I came to him about this project, and the message of the movie, he was incredibly supportive and even participated by appearing in the film.


Beliefnet: This is the first time the Pope has ever appeared in a feature film. What was his big reason for signing onto the project?

Gilio: Pope Francis loves children. And he understands that film and movies are a very direct and impactful way of reaching them. He believes this to be a wonderful opportunity to share the message of Jesus, hope and love.


Beliefnet: Why do you feel it’s so important that this film comes out right now?

Gilio: There is a lot of darkness in the world, and this is such a timely message that I feel can bring hope and peace to so many.


Beliefnet: What was your favorite scene shooting? What was it about this scene that you were particularly moved by?

Gilio: I love the scene between the children and Pope Francis. It was such an honor to not only have him be a part of the film, but for him to be the one to deliver such as incredible message that can hopefully touch the lives of so many – it is the scene of a lifetime as a filmmaker.


Beliefnet: What are some themes you touch on in the film?

Gilio: Besides ensuring that Jesus’s message about love and accepting one another was incorporated throughout the film, I would say another theme I would like for the audience to takeaway is to never give up on God and on one another. We all need to both receive and give our love and support to one another in order to create a community that heals, nurtures, and becomes a positive force in the world.


Beliefnet: What is the biggest thing you hope audiences will take away from this film?

Gilio: I hope audiences, especially families, hear words of encouragement and God’s message of love. I also hope they share and express this message to all children and help them to build a strong life with faith. I believe that having faith really guides us and helps us to face the adventures and challenges of our own journey in this world.


“Beyond the Sun” is available for streaming and download on both iTunes and Amazon. All profits from the film will go to aiding at-risk children and young adults in need through two Argentinian charities, El Almendro and Los Hogares de Cristo. Combine service and entertainment by watching “Beyond the Sun” this weekend, and check out their website for more information about this unusual film collaboration.

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