Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Priest-to-Priest confession draws strong feelings from John Charles Jopson.

Screening date October 11th @3pm. 
Tricycle cinema, London. 
Tickets £7.50 (single), £18.00 (festival pass)

Strong feelings, graphic description and controversal subject matter make Sanctified a heavy dose of reality at London Lift-Off this year...

A very hard hitting reality check of film promises to pack no punches at this years London Lift-Off film Festival. Our blogger talked to the director about the inner workings and set-up of Sanctified.

What was the total length of the project?
Sanctified took about 5 months from conception to completion.

Why did you decide to make a film with such controversial subject matter?
I made Sanctified because a fifteen-year-old boy - the son of acquaintances of mine - committed suicide after being abused by a priest for three years. The parents only learned of the abuse 2 weeks before the boy killed himself.

Why did you decide drama over documentary?
The boy's suicide took place at the height of the Catholic Church's worldwide abuse scandal. I wanted to make a film to expose the hypocrisy and honour all the children who have committed suicide after being abused - a staggering amount I have learned - and didn't feel a documentary would be the right approach. After I began researching I realized there was enough material out there from court proceedings and grand jury investigations to create an honest and accurate portrayal of a priest confessing to the repeated rape a young boy. I thought - wouldn't we all like to be a fly on the wall in a priest-to-priest confession?

What were the major pitfalls, if any?
The greatest pitfall in making Sanctified was shooting a film about clergy abuse in an actual Catholic church. Our first location, a small chapel, fell through and we had to scramble to find a suitable church. In the end we used a Pre-Romaneqsue church in Tuscany built in the year 700. Very appropriate given that the church is still decorated with pagan symbols and somehow survived the Vatican's gaudification. We had to sneak in, gorilla-style, on a moment's notice and get in and out quickly. Unfortunately I didn't have quick access to a quality HD camera in the boonies of Tuscany and thus had to shoot wide open on SD in natural light: It's a medieval church with few windows.

How did you fund it?
Sanctified was self-funded. I have an acting ensemble in Florence with whom I work regularly, and a great crew who will work for free for me when the subject matter and budget warrant.

Overall were you happy with the film?
Overall I'm happy with the content but disappointed in the technical quality, which was due to the location filming limitations.

What would you have done differently?
I would love to have had a better camera with a super-fast lens.

Do you have any message/advise for those looking to make a film?
The great thing about today's filmmaking tools is that one can make films of high quality with very few resources. When I started out one had to hire a film camera and find the money to buy, process, and print film negative - and shooting with available light was prohibitive. My advice to anyone wanting to make a film: If you have a great idea, don't sit on your arse waiting for funding to materialise. Go out and do it.

Sanctified is part of the official selection for London Lift-Off FIlm Festival running 10th-12th October 2011 at the Tricycle Cinema in North West London. Click here for tickets
or call the box office now on 020 7328 1000.

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