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Pro Bono input leads to Art House Movie production...

Making a film about the life of St Francis ...

Two WCoMC members, Denise Fellows and John McLean Fox, are also tertiary members of an Anglican Religious Order, the Society of St Francis. John and his wife Maria have another tertiary friend, Paul Alexander, who is a notable actor. Paul had a meeting over lunch with John and Maria in December 2012 to discuss the possibility of making a film about the life of St Francis. Despite numerous setbacks and disappointments, this ambitious project has since become a reality and a film about the life of Francis is actually being produced! The setting of the film is Hilfield Friary in Dorset, a working friary surrounded by beautiful countryside. The acting takes place in modern dress, and members of the Community participate alongside experienced actors and a film crew drawn from Arts University, Bournemouth. In order to make this happen a Steering Group was formed in Autumn 2013, which Denise was invited to join; technically we apparently are termed ‘film producers’ now!

Filming took place at Hilfield in July, and the post-production editing, etc is happening at the present time. The charity experience of the WCoMC participants has been invaluable, particularly from Denise, whose contributions have included the setting up of a special web page to receive donations and grants; the address is https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/deniseeasteal1  if interested. Denise has also hosted meetings at Cass for the Steering Group. Having seen some rushes from the film, its potential would appear to be considerable.

The scenes which show the Christmas crib with local people and sheep nudging around (that Francis first did at Grecchio), hay-making in summer, and the death of Francis are stunning excerpts. 

It is termed an ‘art house movie’ and will be shown at Film Festivals to gain a wider appeal. There will also be a private launch in London in January – do let us know if you would be interested in attending this.

We never imagined that our pro bono aspirations would lead to genuine film production – what next?                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                        John McLean Fox

                                                                                          Denise Fellows