FATIMA MOVIE - A promotional image for the movie “The 13th Day” shows the actors who portray Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, the Portuguese children who met Our Lady in a series of apparitions during the height of World War I. The full-length film, shot on location in Portugal and in the United Kingdom will be presented at SouthePointe Cinemas in Lincoln Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. (Courtesy photo)
LINCOLN (SNR) - Tickets are selling fast for a special Lincoln private showing of a new movie about the miraculous apparition of the Blessed Mother at Fatima. The full-length feature film, “The 13th Day,” will be presented at SouthePointe Cinemas Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.
Distributed by Ignatius Press, “The 13th Day” tells the true story of three Portuguese children who meet Our Lady in a series of apparitions during the height of World War I.
Their doubting families and the local anti-Christian government attempt to silence them, but the youngsters remain devoted to the Blessed Mother. They successfully deliver her messages of peace and faith, plus warnings about the spread of communism and an attempted assassination of a pope.
The event is a fundraiser for ConQuest, a club for Catholic boys that focuses on learning virtues such as honesty, courage and perseverance. Just as the three children in “The 13th Day” maintain their faith through every trial, ConQuest teaches boys to maintain their own faith in the face of worldly influence.
ConQuest is an apostolic project of the Regnum Christi movement, with groups for boys in third through fifth grades and sixth through eighth grades. According to the club’s national web site, “ConQuest trains boys to become self-disciplined and confident young men, Catholic leaders who possess moral integrity and are committed to improving the communities in which they live.”
The Lincoln chapter meets at Cathedral of the Risen Christ Parish, observing four six-week campaigns per year, each focused on a single virtue. The boys participate in Bible studies and other activities focused on the virtue. They also enjoy fun and games.
“We probably have 30 kids,” said Chuck Reese, one of the Regnum Christi men who helps with ConQuest in Lincoln.
His brother, Herb Reese, thought of the idea of using “The 13th Day” as a fundraiser for ConQuest after hearing that the movie had been used in similar ways elsewhere.
“It’s better than a car wash,” reasoned Chuck Reese. “You’re doing something to raise funds, but you’re also raising spiritual awareness.”
The movie was produced by Origin Entertainment, a group of experienced Hollywood professionals who are all deeply committed Christians. Origin Entertainment’s mandate is “to provide the global viewing audience with ‘Transformative Entertainment’ – productions that will be marked by creative excellence and depth of meaning.”
“The 13th Day” was written and directed by a pair of devout Catholic brothers, Ian and Dominic Higgins of the United Kingdom. They based their script on the memoirs of one of the children, Sister Maria Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, and a collection of independent eyewitness accounts of the events that happened between May and October 1917 in Fatima.
“From day one, everyone on the team was committed to [keeping] this film… as true to the actual events as possible,” Ian Higgins said in an interview published by Ignatius Press.
They filmed the movie on location in Portugal and in the United Kingdom, artfully using black-and-white through most of the scenes.
“While black and white not only helps create a sense of the period, it also conveys a particular perception of the world where so much is hidden,” Dominic Higgins explained.Color is brought in to emphasize the supernatural.
Three young Portuguese actors were cast in the roles of the young visionaries. They portray Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta with a wide range of emotions, from the joy of encountering Our Lady, to the confusion of facing unbelieving parents, to the fear of death when they are imprisoned and threatened with death.
The movie climaxes with the Miracle of the Sun, which was reportedly witnessed by 30,000 people. Months of experimentation with lighting, photography and computer-generated effects went into creating this special effect, which the Higgins brothers hope will inspire Catholics around the globe.
“Fatima still speaks to a modern world,” Ian Higgins said. “It’s a message that is even more relevant today than it was 90-odd years ago.”
He continued, “We want the film to give people hope that the world does not always have to be such a cynical place.”
“The true miracle of Fatima didn’t happen in the skies over a field in Portugal,” his brother added. “It happened inside the hearts of thousands of believers and non-believers and that was the lighting or re-lighting of a spiritual flame that spread out from that field and out across the world and it’s still spreading today.”
Mr. Reese cautioned that the film is so well done, some of the scenes might be frightening for some children. In particular, the visions of hell may be too unsettling for very young or very sensitive children.
Currently, Regnum Christi men plan to show “The 13th Day” on one night only. Tickets to the Jan. 13 presentation are only $4 and must be purchased in advance from Gloria Deo. Seating is limited to 190. After the showing, a limited number of DVDs will be available for purchase for $25 each.