1. The Letter
Interfaith Power and Light is partnering with the Laudato Si’ movement to bring the documentary film about climate change, “The Letter,” to congregations this summer.
The Letter tells story of the Laudato Si’ environmanals encyclical letter by Pope Francis issued in 2015, through the eyes from frontline leaders battling the ecological crisis across continents. Laudato Si means “Praise be to you” which is the first line of a canticle by St. Francis that praises God with all of his creation.
Featured in the film are a variety of speakers on the topic: Arouna Kandé, a climate refugee in Senegal; Cacique Dadá, an environmental defender and leader of the Maró Indigenous territory in the Brazilian Amazon; Ridhima Pandey, a youth climate activist from India; and Greg Asner and Robin Martin, biologists studying coral reefs in Hawaii.
The film features exclusive footage from their encounter with Pope Francis, alongside the personal stories and scientific findings throughout the documentary.
SABBATH is a feature length film showing how the practice of observing the Sabbath or Shabbat, a time of “rest and “keeping the Lord’s day, has been part of our lives and culture over several centuries.
Observing the Sabbath is the 10th commandment though people do not practice it uniformly. For some, certain activities are strictly forbidden on that day. Some families take time to participate in religious life of the community on the Sabbath. For others the Sabbath has nothing to do with religion and is part of a search for a more sustainable life, such as a time to put down electronic devices. For others, the Sabbath doesn’t play a part in life at all.
From those earliest Biblical accounts up to our present day we have struggled to understand what it actually means to “rest.” And now, in our 24/7, nonstop culture, rest seems more important and elusive than ever. The file profiles a wide array of stories and congregations, and includes leading writers in the field.
3. Re-packaging of “The Way”
Santiago, where St. James is buried was depicted in the film, The Way. The title refers to the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrim’s path starting in France and leading to the Catholic church in Santiago in Northwestern Spain. The film features Martin Sheen as an agnostic eye doctor, Tom who has lost his son Daniel, in France along the Camino., Tom, decides to walk the same path that took his son’s life when he goes to retrieve his son’s remains. Previously, Tom had disconnected himself from Daniel. which he only realizes when he decides to walk the Camino. It changed his life.
The 2011 movie “The Way” was re-released for one night only in May, 2023. However, it will be streamed again on various platforms this summer according to the 2011 film’s director, Emilio Estevez, the son of -star Martin Sheen. The film highlights the scenery of southern France and Spain and shows how the Camino affected Sheen and his fellow pilgrims.
Estevez recently said to the Catholic News Agency, “I have never created a motion picture that has had more of an impact on so many people around the world,” he said. “Coming out of the pandemic, ‘The Way’ is more timely now than when we originally embarked on this journey 12 years ago.”
The movie also sparked an interest in the Camino. In 2011, the year the film was released American Pilgrims on the Camino, the US-based association for people interested in the Camino, issued 1,858 credentials — a kind of “pilgrim’s passport,” Religion News Service reported. In 2012 that number went up to 3,570, and in 2013 it was 5,128. It continued to climb — reaching more than 7,000 credentials — until the pandemic hit in 2020.