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Vatican to Host World Premiere of "The Nativity Story"

On Sunday, November 26th, New Line Cinema’s The Nativity Story will become the first feature film ever to premiere at the Vatican. The Nativity Story is scheduled for a Dec. 1, 2006 release in the U.S., and will open in territories worldwide throughout the month of December.

The premiere, to be held at the Vatican’s Aulo Paolo VI (Pope Paul VI Hall), will be attended by The Nativity Story ’s director Catherine Hardwicke, actors Shohreh Aghdashloo and Oscar Isaac, producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, screenwriter Mike Rich, and 7,000 invited guests of the Vatican. The event will serve as a benefit, with contributions going toward construction of a school in the village of Mughar, Israel - which has a diverse population of Christians, Muslims, and Druze and is located approximately 40 kilometers from Nazareth.

"We are very proud of The Nativity Story and extremely grateful that the Vatican has embraced the film in this way," said New Line’s President Rolf Mittweg. "We believe it is the perfect venue to present the film’s universal message of hope and faith, a message we are sure will resonate around the world."

" The Nativity Story is an extraordinary event, and this premiere is a fitting way to reach out to our community and share the experience," said Stefano Dammicco, CEO of Eagle Pictures, the film’s Italian distributor. "It is a privilege for Eagle Pictures to be New Line’s Italian partner on the film."

The event has been made possible due to the collaboration of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, the Vatican Film Library, the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" (for Human and Christian Development), the Vicariate of Vatican City State, and the Foundation for Sacred Art and Music.

Comments (3)

review by Andrew L. Urban

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It's hard to imagine a more faithful retelling, in the religious sense, of the stories told in Luke and Matthew's New Testament, surrounding the events leading to the birth of Jesus. This is not necessarily a good thing, though, because the story falls rather flat and is delivered with the earnest but dull weight of a junior school play. Admittedly well performed and in superb locations ... The heavenly choir (at one stage singing Holy Night) provide the sort of backdrop that would not be out of place in a basilica tour, and the heavenly visitations, miraculous pregnancies and such seem oddly matter of fact. If anything, the film throws into sharp relief the simplistic nature of the story, turning this pivotal aspect of Christianity into a lame fairy tale.

But that's just me; I suspect the target audience will love the purity of its story and the complete surrender to its religious touchstones. This is a film intended for families to attend rather as if attending Sunday mass, a little removed from day to day reality. An excellent primer for children being taught the story at Christmas; at least it's relevant.

Luckily the cast is well chosen and manage to remain credible speaking an accented English occasionally interrupted by Hebrew (like at prayer).

marketing buzz and faith

I agree totally, recognising that the most powerful selling-tool for a film is its word of mouth: you will definitely see more of these.
Generating positive word of mouth using a Get your community, diaspora, group, social network behind you is the classic way to go, if, on top of that, your advocates are strong believiers feeling they MUST share, you are in good shape.
One of the strongest argument is elevating the film out of an entertainment context to a society subject.
(Build it they will come), If you believe they will come...
the editor

The nativity story

The buzz is out that the best way to promote your film is to have the Christian population behind it...hence you will see much more of this type of promotional effort behind films. It will be interesting to see if more Christians start making more films and promoting them in Christian venues if it will detract from Hollywood being able to do the same.

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