Cinema - Festivals
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Film festival to mark Mother Teresa’s canonization

Kolkata, Brussels, December 22nd, 2015 (SIGNIS/Matters India). Mother Teresa will make history with the fourth Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF) dedicated in her honour in Kolkata, on the occasion of her canonization scheduled for next year.

The Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF) which commemorates special occasions associated with the Nobel laureate will in 2016 present the best and biggest repertoire of films and documentaries made on her to mark the canonisation. “The one in 2016 will perhaps be the biggest ever,” said Sunil Lucas, the 2016 festival director.

Mother Teresa will be canonised as saint of the Roman Catholic Church next year, the Vatican and the Missionaries of Charity announced on 18th December, a day after Pope Francis recognised a second miracle attributed to the much-adored nun.
“No saint or blessed in the Catholic Church’s history has had an international festival of films dedicated to him/her,” says director of first and second MTIFF and first president of SIGNIS India-Catholic Association for Radio, TV and Cinema, Salesian Fr CM Paul.

“Mother Teresa, the ‘Saint of the Gutters’, who captivated the world in her blue-bordered white sari and her dogged zeal, deserves this fourth feature and documentary film festival,” said Fr Paul, the first MTIFF director and archdiocesan media and festival coordinator for her beatification in 2003.

10 films were screened, included biographies of Mother Teresa’s life like the very first film made on her: “ Something Beautiful For God ” by the BBC (1969) by the cynic-turned convert Malcolm Muggeridge.

Also shown, was the two-time Emmy Award winner Anne Petrie’s “ Mother Teresa-Her Legacy ”, as well as Japanese director Shigeki Chiba’s “ Mother Teresa And Her World ”(1979), Anna & Folco Terzani’s “ Mother Teresa’s First Love ” (1997), an Eternal Word TV networks’ Total Surrender documentary (1998), and Dominique Lapierre’s feature film “ In The Name of God’s Poor ” (1997), amongst others.

The controversial 1994 British ITV Channel 4 documentary, “ Hell’s Angel: Mother Teresa of Calcutta ” based on Christopher Hitchens’ controversial book The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice was not screened.

The second MTIFF edition was on her 10th death anniversary in 2007. The third edition, in 2010, marked her birth centenary and showcased 15 films. It was held at the West Bengal government-run auditorium Nandan with support from the Archdiocese of Calcutta and Missionaries of Charity. Simultaneous screenings were organised in India and in neighbouring countries.

Lucas said that, in 2016, the dates will be in accordance with the canonisation ceremony. “She gave hope to the poor and she is my hero. We will incorporate more number of films since the numbers of documentaries and movies made on her has gone up over the years,” Lucas said, adding talks and seminars by experts on Mother Teresa will be important highlights of the fest.

Mother Teresa is likely to be canonised in September next year to coincide with the 19th anniversary of her death and Pope Francis’s Holy Year of Mercy. The second miracle — mandatory for her canonisation — related to the curing of a Brazilian man with a brain illness.


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