The head of Discovery + is optimistic about high-end non-fiction content.
“We’re investing in premium documentaries, a genre that we know our subscribers want more of,” Lisa Holme, group vice president of content and business strategy for Discovery, said Thursday during the tour presentation. streamer’s winter press. She added, “It allows us to support some of the best storytellers in the business.”
Among these acclaimed storytellers is Oscar-nominated filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky (Winter on fire: Ukraine’s struggle for freedom, Cries of Syria), including the latest documentary, Francesco, will premiere on Discovery + on March 28. The film examines the moral leadership of Pope Francis on many of the most important issues the world faces.
Evgeny Afineevsky on his documentary ‘Francesco’ that made headlines around the world with Pope Francis’ comments on LGBT unions
“From the start, the idea was to have us, humanity, as a key part of the story… what disasters we created, what poverty we created, what injustice we created,” Afineevsky said during the panel. TCA. “And tell his story as a person who tries for himself to guide us, to [an] example, to show us step by step how we can change these things. “
The director revealed that his first cut of the film was eight hours long. He said he was asked to consider making a documentary series of it, but that he believed a single film would have more impact. He see Francesco as a call to action.
“We have to re-evaluate our actions, leave a lot of things in the past,” Afineevsky said, “and with new thoughts, with a different approach, go into the future.”
Along with global warming, the global refugee crisis, the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar and other issues, the film explores the Pope’s response to the sex abuse scandal that has damaged the Catholic Church.
“It allowed me to tackle all the problems, to bring [in any] voice. I was showing him different parts of the movie, different parts of the movie, and I never had any restrictions or any [objections]Noted Afineevsky. “He gave me my full respect as an artist… I treasure his ability to allow me to tell these stories and allow me to bring them to the wider world with his help.
Juan Carlos Cruz, who was sexually assaulted as a child in Chile by a Catholic priest, plays an important role in the documentary. He praised Pope Francis for shifting his response to the scandal from the initial defense of some prelates accused of sexual misdeeds to taking strong action against some suspected attackers.
“Pope Francis wrote a letter to the world to apologize, to admit his mistake and it was never heard. No other pope had done this, ”said Cruz. “He is a man who recognizes his mistakes and a man who is not ashamed to admit a mistake and fix it and admit he made a mistake and fix it.”
Francesco made the news last year when it premiered at the Rome Film Festival at a point in the film when the pontiff appeared to support gay civil unions. There are still disputes over the precise position of Pope Francis on this issue. On another matter of contention within the Holy See, the Pope changed Church law last month, allowing women to play a more central role at Mass, although he does not approve of the fact. that women become priests.
Sister Norma Pimentel, Executive Director of Catholic Charities in the Rio Grande Valley, participated in Wednesday’s roundtable and praised Francis.
“Pope Francis brings to all of us this feeling of hope through his own humanity, his own anchoring in human life and in human reality,” Sister Norma commented. “I think his presence, his example, shows to us the importance of humanity today and to ensure that we respond to it in a caring, positive and compassionate way.”
Francesco premieres on Discovery + at the start of Holy Week, before Easter Sunday. For his film, Afineevsky not only spent time with the current Pope, but with his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Pope Francis sent handwritten notes to Afineevsky praising his work on the film, which may be ironic, as the Pope was not the most enthusiastic of the interviewees.
“Right from the start he said he didn’t want to be on camera for the movie because he wasn’t an actor. He’s a Jesuit, ”said Afineevsky. “For him, he prefers to go to the end of the world to help people.”