Oshawa and Oakville connections for theatrical release of Mother Teresa documentary

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Published October 18, 2022 at 4:52 pm

A documentary on the extraordinary life of Mother Theresa will hit select theatres for a brief two-day run November 3-4, including Landmark Cinemas in Whitby.

Twenty-five years have passed since the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, sparking a renewed interest in this spiritual giant of the 20th century. Filmed on five continents and featuring unprecedented access to both institutional archives, the apostolates of the Missionaries of Charity and testimonials from people whose lives were touched by her, the film reveals not just who Mother Teresa was, but how her vision to help the poor continues to be realized today.

The documentary had a two-day run earlier this month in the U.S, and took in more $1.2 million at the box office, prompting a return to the big screens during the first week of November.

David Naglieri, the director and producer of the film, described the production as a “soaring tribute to a cultural icon” and hopes it does justice to Mother Teresa, who died in 1997 and was canonized as a saint in 2016.

“We travelled all over the world and conducted more than 150 interviews,” said Naglieri, whose 2016 feature length documentary: Liberating a Continent; John Paul II and the Fall of Communism, earned five Emmy nominations. “We hope this is the definitive film for the life of Mother Teresa.”

Naglieri, who worked in Toronto for Salt + Light Media (where he met his wife, who is from Oakville) before joining the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Connecticut, said he was always struck by Mother Teresa’s “humility and courage” and by the effect she had on people. One of those is Jim Wahlberg, a filmmaker and author of the Wahlberg acting family, who life was changed after meeting her.

“There are some very powerful testimonials in this film,” Naglieri said.

Originally the Missions of Charity wanted to make a feature film about 20 years ago but “nothing felt right,” Naglieri noted, and the project ended up in the hands of the Knights of Columbus in 2021.

“We agreed to make the film and started production last October,”

Besides Nagileri’s link to the GTA there is plenty of other Canadian connections on the film. Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, who is featured in the documentary, is a Winnipeg native who spent 17 years gathering evidence and data to make the case for Mother Teresa to be declared a saint by the church; and co-director Marc Boudignon, who has worked with the Knights of Columbus on numerous projects and, previously at Salt + Light Media, is based out of Oshawa.

The film, which features a score from composer Sean Beeson, has commentary from several prominent Catholics, including Patrick Kelly, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus and the executive producer of the project; Bishop Robert Barron of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, who is founder of the Catholic media apostolate Word on Fire; Wahlberg; and Father Kolodiejchuk, who has written three books on Mother Teresa.

Naglieri said he is proud of the finished product and hopes theatre-goers will be “inspired” by what they see. “We wanted to make a documentary that would stand the test of time with the very best documentaries.”

The trailer – and more information – is available here: https://www.motherteresamovie.com/.

A portion of ticket sales will be directed to charitable efforts that advance the legacy of Mother Teresa.

The U.S. premiere in early October

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