Press Release

Cinema. The tenth edition of the Catholic Film Festival “Mirabile Dictu” has ended.

The Pesce d’argento (Silver Fish) prize was given to the film about Otto Neururer, a catholic priest killed by the Nazis in the Buchenwald camp, and to Derick Cabrido as best director for the film “Clarita”.

Cardinal Ravasi: “I testify that the Pontifical Council for Culture is very close to Liana Marabini”.

Rome, 29 November 2019 – The International Catholic Film Festival “Mirabile Dictu” has reached the finish line of its tenth edition, conceived in 2010 by the film director and producer Liana Marabini to give space to producers and directors, documentaries, docufictions, TV series, short films and programs that promote universal moral values ​​and positive models.

The Festival, which from the first edition is under the High Patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and had this year the heroism of priests as its main theme, has ended last night in Rome with the awards ceremony at the Terrazza degli Aranci of the Hotel Cavalieri, in the presence of the finalists from 11 different countries, in an  increasingly international atmosphere.

The Best Film Award went to “Otto Neururer, Hope Through Darkness” by Hermann Weiskopf (Austria); the Best Director’s to Derick Cabrido for the film “Clarita” (Philippines); the Best Short Film Award to “Faces” by Ernő Zoltán Balogh (Hungary); the Best Documentary’s to “J.R.R. Tolkien. An Unexpected Friend” by Ricardo del Pozo (USA).

“I wish to testify once again that the Dicastery which I preside, the Pontifical Council for Culture, is very close to Liana Marabini – said cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi in his introductory greeting –. Liana Marabini wanted, throughout these last 10 years and even recently, to widen the rainbow of the arts: she started with the cinema, but also with her interest in the world of books, this year she begun a new journey with the Biennale of Sacred Art… Her centers of interest are multiple and above all, she has been close to us, to our Vatican Dicastery. You have my testimony of affection, of closeness to her”.

Taking up the theme of the Festival, the heroism of priests and their testimony, the Cardinal recalled the Greek etymology of the word witness, which derives from “martyr”. Some of the first attempts of the growing Seventh Art, the cinema, concerned the passion of Christ crucified: “We can therefore say that cinema began with that testimony of blood that streaked the stones of the Holy Land and then continued, for example with ‘The Trial of Joan of Arc’ by Bresson, a very powerful film in which we see the testimony of martyrdom of a woman, or “Silence” by Martin Scorsese, an evocation of martyrdom in Japan”. “Therefore I would say that the testimony — remarked Cardinal Ravasi — is one of the fundamental components to the authenticity of faith: the word is important, but at the end it is life itself that testifies of what is said with the lips”. “This thread is continuously present, because we must not ignore the fact that even today, in some countries, there are witnesses who do not say only with their words, but precisely with their testimony”.

“Each one of us, in our own sides, must give a minimum of testimony — concluded the cardinal –. There are several levels, but even in small things there is the testimony of a daily martyrdom. Everyone must do his part, even if it is small; everyone must have his own little martyrdom, even if it’s modest and unknown”.

The President of the Festival, Liana Marabini, thanked those present and the numerous producers who applied for their works from all over the world. Over 1,500 films were received by the Festival’s office this year.

These are the winners chosen by the Jury — chaired by Princess Maria Pia Ruspoli, actress, and composed by the English actor Rupert Wynne-James, the Italian television producer Oriana Mariotti, the Austrian distributor and producer Norbert Blecha, and the French distributor Hubert-Henri de la Valière — who received the Pesce d’argento prize, inspired by the first Christian symbol.

Best short film: “Faces” by Ernő Zoltán Balogh (Hungary).

It is the story of a tragic night in 1919: Kucsera Ferenc, young chaplain of Szentendre, is arrested by the Soviet soldiers. The film shows his martyrdom, in the broader historical context of the violent and disordered upheavals of a collapsing world and of an ideology with all its contradictions.

The other two finalist films were: “Havenly Joy” by Natalia Fedehenko (Russia), and “Coming Back” by Alessio Rupalti (United Kingdom).

Best Documentary: “J.R.R. Tolkien. An Unexpected Friend” by Ricardo del Pozo (USA). A journey to discover the Christian meaning of the famous work of the Catholic writer Tolkien, “The Lord of the Rings”. Is it a parable? Orcs, elves and hobbits actually hide the “precious pearl” of the Gospel?

The other two titles in the competition: “Glorious Lives: Cardinal William Allen” by Robin Varghese (USA); “Santiago Gapp. The priest who confronted Hitler” by Manuel Cabo (Spain).

Best director: Derick Cabrido for the film “Clarita” (Philippines).

Manila, 1953. The faith of the priests Salvador and Benedicto is severely tested by the demonic possession of a woman, Clarita, on whom they are called to make an exorcism. In their attempt to help the woman, they will encounter demonic obstacles that will damage their lives and push their faith to the limit. In the end, will Clarita’s soul be saved, or will Evil triumph over it?

Two other filmmakers were finalists: Augusto Tamayo for “Rosa Mistica” (Peru); Jean-Marie Benjamin for “Ci alzeremo all’alba” (Italy).

Best film: “Otto Neururer, Hope Through Darkness” by Hermann Weiskopf (Austria).

It is the true story of the Austrian Catholic priest Otto Neururer, killed by the Nazis in the concentration camp of Buchenwald in 1940. After his clandestine catechesis and his administration of the sacraments activities were discovered in the camp, he was isolated and subjected to a slow and painful agony. He was beatified by John Paul II in 1996.

Were also in competition: “Joseph Freinademetz, The First Saint to Ever Serve in Hong Kong” by Lai Nor Ngan (Hong Kong); and “The Inspection” by Jacek Raginis-Królikiewicz (Poland).

The Special Prize for the Evangelization of the Capax Dei Foundation went to the film “Joseph Freinademetz, The First Saint to Ever Serve in Hong Kong” by Lai Nor Ngan (Hong Kong), about the person of Joseph Freinademetz, an Austrian priest, member of the Society of the Divine Word, missionary in China in the late nineteenth century, proclaimed saint by John Paul II in 2003.

The gala evening was presented by the journalist Armando Torno.