Posts Tagged ‘film’

Jesuit Seeks to Find God Through His Camera Lens

Jeremy ZippleDuring his Jesuit formation, scholastic Jeremy Zipple has been making documentaries. Sometimes his films are about spiritual subjects, such as St. Xavier, and sometimes not, as with his documentary, “Rat Attack,” about a plague of rats that overrun the forests of India every 48 years. No matter the subject, Zipple has used his camera to seek to find God in all things.

Making films was his first passion. Zipple, a Mississippi native, has been shooting documentaries since high school. He ended up meeting the Jesuits by chance during a college tour in Boston when his father suggested visiting Boston College, which wasn’t on his list.

Zipple applied and was accepted and during a dinner at Boston College for prospective Presidential Scholars, he found himself at a table with Jesuit Father William Neenan, vice president and special assistant to the president.

“He sealed the deal. I had no category for a person like this — a priest, an economist, witty, with a wide breadth of knowledge and a taste for literature,” says Zipple. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow! Who are these Jesuits?’ I felt like I could learn a lot from these guys.”

After graduation, Zipple taught at a Catholic grade school in New Jersey, served as codirector of a contemporary liturgical choir and studied philosophy at Fordham University. In 2002, he entered the Society of Jesus.

Zipple describes his regency, a period of three years Jesuits normally spend in ministry before theology studies, as “untraditional.” He spent that time as a writer, producer and director for National Geographic Television in Washington, D.C., where he coproduced not only “Rat Attack” but “Quest for Solomon’s Mines,” about treasure seekers who, inspired by the Bible’s account of King Solomon’s riches, search for evidence of temples and palaces yet to be found.

Now back at Boston College for divinity studies, Zipple will be ordained to the priesthood this May. He also continues to make documentaries. He directed, wrote and produced his latest film, “Quest for the Lost Maya,” based on new archaeological findings about a forgotten Mayan society in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It aired on public television nationwide last March.

After ordination, Zipple plans to stay at Boston College and study for his licentiate in sacred theology. He says he may focus on the history of American Catholicism and “and hopefully get a film out of that, too.” For more on Zipple, read Boston College’s Becoming a Jesuit: Five Lives at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry.

Jesuit and His Gang Ministry Star in Documentary

G-DOG movie poster with Jesuit Father Greg Boyle and a homie“This is the story of a remarkable odd couple.” That’s the description of the new film “G-DOG” about Jesuit Father Greg Boyle and the former gang members, or homies, he’s served and befriended since 1992, when he founded Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.

Homeboy Industries helps former gang members learn skills to better their lives and provides jobs in its bakery, café and t-shirt store.

“G-DOG” was directed by Academy Award-winning documentarian Freida Mock and had its U.S. debut this past June at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Mock says she was inspired to make the film after seeing Fr. Boyle’s book “Tattoos on the Heart.” She remembers thinking, “A priest, kids, gangs and love? What’s this all about?”

The film, which is slated for theatrical release next year, introduces audiences to Fr. Boyle and the homies he helps. It also depicts a tough year for Homeboy Industries, with the possibility that the businesses will have to close because of challenging economic times.

Variety’s review said, “In an era with a paucity of real heroes, a genuine one emerges in “G-Dog”: the inexhaustible Jesuit priest Greg Boyle, whose Homeboy Industries has saved countless lives in Los Angeles’ gang-plagued neighborhoods.”

For more, visit the film’s website, www.gdogthemovie.com, where you can meet the cast and view clips.

Jesuit Hopes to Turn Cardinal Bernardin’s Story into a Film

Jesuit Father Michael SparoughShare

Jesuit Father Michael Sparough, a retreat director at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, in Barrington, Ill., and author of a number of books, is now leading an effort to bring Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s life story to the big screen.

Fr. Sparough is working with two Hollywood scriptwriters to turn Bernardin’s best seller, The Gift of Peace, into a mainstream feature film.

“It’s a classic hero’s journey, and I think it’s a story that needs to be told in our time — and my hope is it’s a healing story for those who have been wounded by the Church, and a story that will remind us of some of the best parts of our Catholic tradition,” said Sparough.

Sparough, who has a background in theater directing, said the project “has been incubating” for about eight years, and he’s getting help from a program called Act One that tries to enhance the Christian presence in Hollywood.

Sparough hopes to have the project in good enough shape this coming spring to start shopping it around.

“I’m encouraging people to pray for the project, there are lots of obstacles, but I really believe that if the Lord wants the story to be told . . . it’s going to happen.”

Read more about Sparough’s project at Chicago Catholic News.

Jesuit Hopes to Turn Cardinal Bernardin's Story into a Film

Jesuit Father Michael SparoughShare

Jesuit Father Michael Sparough, a retreat director at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, in Barrington, Ill., and author of a number of books, is now leading an effort to bring Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s life story to the big screen.

Fr. Sparough is working with two Hollywood scriptwriters to turn Bernardin’s best seller, The Gift of Peace, into a mainstream feature film.

“It’s a classic hero’s journey, and I think it’s a story that needs to be told in our time — and my hope is it’s a healing story for those who have been wounded by the Church, and a story that will remind us of some of the best parts of our Catholic tradition,” said Sparough.

Sparough, who has a background in theater directing, said the project “has been incubating” for about eight years, and he’s getting help from a program called Act One that tries to enhance the Christian presence in Hollywood.

Sparough hopes to have the project in good enough shape this coming spring to start shopping it around.

“I’m encouraging people to pray for the project, there are lots of obstacles, but I really believe that if the Lord wants the story to be told . . . it’s going to happen.”

Read more about Sparough’s project at Chicago Catholic News.