Friday, March 9, 2007

An Evening of Angelus at Notre Dame

The state-of-the-art Browning Cinema at Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center…
A screening of the four prize-winning films in the 2006 Angelus Student Film Festival…
A lively Q&A session following the screening with three of the award-winning young directors and one of the winning films’ lead actors….

Such were the elements of An Evening with Angelus at Notre Dame, a groundbreaking new event which brought the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture into collaboration with the Angelus Awards Student Film Festival and the sponsors of that festival, Family Theater Productions, a Catholic film production company located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. The Angelus Awards was created by Family Theater Productions in 1996 to showcase and award emerging filmmakers and to encourage them to continue creating visionary projects that honor the fundamental dignity of the human person.

The collaboration between the Center and Family Theater Productions is a natural one, as the national director of Family Theater is a Holy Cross priest, Fr. Willy Raymond, CSC. Fr. Willy first participated in the Center’s activities when he delivered a talk entitled “Young Catholic Hollywood” in the Center’s inaugural Catholic Culture Film Series in the Spring of 2006. At that time, the Center began to talk with Fr. Willy about an event that would bring to Notre Dame the winning filmmakers in the Angelus Awards Student Film Festival. The culmination of those discussions was An Evening with Angelus at Notre Dame, which took place on March 8, 2007.

That evening the Center was happy to host the award-winning filmmakers along with Fr. Willy and three members of the Angelus Awards staff: Monika Moreno, director of the Festival, Kale Zelden, associate director, and Robyn Gibson. The films screened at “An Evening with Angelus at Notre Dame” were the following: The Trojan Cow, written and directed by Barbara Stepansky of the American Film Institute, Los Angeles, winner of the $10,000 Excellence in Filmmaking Award in honor of Servant of God, Father Patrick Peyton, CSC (the founder of Family Theater Productions). The Trojan Cow is the story of two teenagers’ attempt in 1973 to be illegally transported inside a hollow cow across the East German border to freedom.

Queen of Cactus Cove, written and directed by Anna Christopher, also of AFI, is the winner of the $5,000 Priddy Bros. Triumph Award. In this film, teenage chess champ Billie faces the prospect of defeat for the first time when she competes against her best friend at the biggest chess tournament of her career.

Kilroy Was Here, written and directed by Charlie Boyles, North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, winner of the $2,500 Fujifilm Audience Impact Award and the $1,500 Act One Screenplay prize. In the film, the characters fought for different causes in the same war. Now together, they will forge a connection that transcends language…and their cause will become one. Kilroy Was Here was represented by its leader actor, Keith Harris.

Silences, written and directed by Octavio Warnock-Graham, City College of New York, winner of the $3,000 Outstanding Documentary Award sponsored by Maryknoll Productions. Silences is an intimate personal journey by the filmmaker to find the one person who can complete his search for answers…his biological father.

After the screening of the films, Monika Moreno moderated a stimulating Q&A with the three winning directors and actor Keith Harris. The Center would like to thank Fr. Willy Raymond, the staff of the Angelus Awards, as well as the Peter Grenville Foundation, for helping make this event possible. A special word of thanks goes out to Jon Vickers, manager of the Browning Cinema at Notre Dame, for his help in organizing this event at the wonderful facilities
of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

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