Bringing ‘Mary’ to the masses

We could not be happier to have been brought on board by Universal Pictures for Mary Magdalene. Our team caught an early preview of the film and were completely knocked out by it: and we knew that our many contacts in the UK church community would find it captivating too.

In a way, the film is quite an unusual proposition. It’s a biblical drama which makes a serious engagement with the person of Jesus and the Gospel accounts – but it’s more concerned with the spirit than the letter. It’s not a ‘Christian’ film, but people of faith who come to it with an open mind will find a rich and rewarding experience. For those who don’t believe, it’s a reminder of the fertile ground that biblical stories can still offer for creative exploration.

The A-List talent behind the film and the care and respect with which it’s been crafted make Mary Magdalene unmissable cinema.

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‘Mary Magdalene’ Companion Booklet

According to the Gospels, Mary of Magdala was present at both Jesus’ death and burial; and is identified as the first witness to the resurrected Jesus.

In 591, Pope Gregory claimed that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute, a misconception which remains to this day.

In 2016, Mary of Magdala was formally identified by the Vatican as Apostle of the Apostles – their equal – and the first messenger of the resurrected Jesus.

Download the Companion Booklet here

Mary Magdalene (in cinemas 16th March) is a powerfully imagined portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history. The biblical biopic tells the story of Mary (Rooney Mara), a young woman in search of a new way of living. Constricted by the hierarchies and gender inequalities of the day, Mary defies her traditional family to join a new movement led by the charismatic Jesus of Nazareth (Joaquin Phoenix). She soon finds a place for herself alongside Jesus and at the heart of a journey that will lead to Jerusalem.

Written by Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett, and directed by Garth Davis, Mary Magdalene also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tahar Rahim.

This companion booklet offers an insight into the making of the film, as well as questions and reflections for church groups wanting to engage with it more deeply.

More at marymagdalenefilm.co.uk

Passion and Paradox: ‘Messiah’ at the cinema

We’re thrilled to be working with event cinema experts CinemaLive in bringing Handel’s Messiah from Bristol Old Vic to cinemas across the UK and Ireland. This dramatised production, in cinemas for one night only (Wednesday 28th March 2018), retells the Easter story in a striking new way. 

Book tickets at a cinema near you

About Messiah

Messiah is the most popular choral work ever written in English. The music was composed by George Frederic Handel in 1741, over a period of just 24 days. The words were put together from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer by Handel’s collaborator Charles Jennens, who wanted to create ‘a meditation of our Lord as Messiah in Christian thought and belief’.

Continue reading Passion and Paradox: ‘Messiah’ at the cinema

A closer look at… Coco

This is a child-friendly guide; some of the discussion questions are for younger viewers.  Coco is rated PG for mild threat, violence. 

The Scoop

Young Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming a musician, just like his departed icon Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). But Miguel’s family is set against his ambitions. Years ago, his great-great grandfather abandoned his wife and daughter to pursue his own musical career, and since then music has become a household taboo.

Desperate to enter a local Day of the Dead talent contest – and believing he’s discovered a secret connection between himself and his hero – Miguel steals a guitar from de la Cruz’s shrine. However, the theft curses Miguel and transports him to the Land of the Dead.

With the help of shambling skeleton Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), he has until sunrise to obtain a blessing from his dead ancestors – or risk never getting back to the Land of the Living.

Continue reading A closer look at… Coco

‘Summer in the Forest’ Companion Booklet

Imagine sitting down for a meal with someone different to you.

 Something stopped you coming here before. The expectation of awkward silence, perhaps. The suspicion that your worst fears about the other person might be confirmed. Your discomfort with the unknown.  

 But as you begin to look at each other, to eat together, something shifts. You talk about everyday things, and begin to enjoy each other’s company. A joke catches you off-guard, and you start to laugh. You forget yourself.

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Download the free companion booklet

Life-affirming new documentary Summer in the Forest is in cinemas and online June 23. This poetic film follows the life of the L’Arche community in Trosly, France, where people with learning disabilities and those who support them have found what it truly means to be human.

This companion booklet introduces the stars of the film, and the transforming wisdom of Jean Vanier, who founded the L’Arche movement.

More at summerintheforest.com

Summer by the sea: A journey into L’Arche Bognor (part 2)

Sophie faceAs chronicled in part 1 of this post, I recently spent time with the L’Arche community in Bognor Regis, as part of creating a special resource for new documentary Summer in the Forest.

Hugh Campkin is the community leader at Bognor, and I spoke to him about the joys and challenges of this unique role.

Hugh Campkin (left) with a core member at L'Arche Bognor
Hugh Campkin (left) with a core member at L’Arche Bognor

Continue reading Summer by the sea: A journey into L’Arche Bognor (part 2)

Summer by the sea: A journey into L’Arche Bognor (part 1)

Sophie faceWe couldn’t be more pleased and proud to be supporting the release of Summer in the Forest, a beautiful and life-affirming documentary which will be released in cinemas and on V-O-D 23rd June.

The film (directed by Randall Wright) follows Philippe, Michel, Andre and Patrick, who were locked away and forgotten in violent asylums until the 1960s, when the young philosopher Jean Vanier took a stand and secured their release. Together they created L’Arche Trosly-Breuil, a community at the edge of a beautiful forest near Paris. A quiet revolution was born.

L’Arche (which now has 151 Communities in 37 countries) has a vision for a world where people with learning disabilities and their carers can discover a fuller life together. As part of the process of creating a companion booklet to go alongside Summer in the Forest, I paid a visit to the L’Arche Community closest to where Damaris Media is based: L’Arche Bognor Regis, on the South coast a short distance from the sea.

Continue reading Summer by the sea: A journey into L’Arche Bognor (part 1)

A closer look at…Kubo and the Two Strings

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This is a child-friendly guide; some of the discussion questions are for younger viewers. children Kubo and the Two Strings is rated PG for mild fantasy violence, scary scenes

The ScoopA deep, dark and mind-blowingly magical adventure

Kubo (Art Parkinson) is a fearless storyteller whose days are spent entertaining crowds in the marketplace with tales of adventure. His nights, however, are spent caring for his sick mother, and wondering about the father he never got to meet.

Then Kubo unwittingly catches the attention of the villainous Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and is plunged into an adventure of his own. Torn away from his home, he must embark on a quest to salvage the lost pieces of his father’s armour – accompanied by his fierce protector Monkey (Charlize Theron), and the dim-witted Beetle (Matthew McConaughey), a cursed Samurai warrior.

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A closer look at… Ida

Note: Guides from our archive are in a slightly different format and have been edited here to make them more user-friendly.

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Ida is rated 12, contains suicide scene. The film is available on DVD.

Poland, the 1960s. Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is a young nun who has grown up within the sheltered confines of the convent. Before she takes her vows, her superiors decree that she must meet her only living relative – her aunt, Wanda (Agata Kulesza).

Anna travels to stay with Wanda in her city home, and meets a woman about as different from herself as she could have imagined. A heavy-drinking court judge who loves dancing, jazz music and men, Wanda’s carefree persona hides a painful past. She quickly reveals to Ida that the family is, in fact, Jewish: Anna’s real name is Ida, and her parents were murdered during the anti-Semitic purges of the Second World War.

Together, the mismatched pair set off to find where Anna’s parents are buried. But digging up the past, it soon becomes clear, will change the direction of both of their futures.

Continue reading A closer look at… Ida

A closer look at… Anna Karenina

Note: Guides from our archive are in a slightly different format and have been edited here to make them more user-friendly.

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Russia, the late nineteenth century, and one of the best-known tragedies in literature is about to unfold. We meet Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) as she prepares to rescue her boisterous brother Stiva (Matthew Macfadyen) from a marital crisis, brought on by his infidelity to wife Dolly (Kelly McDonald). Anna bids farewell to her mild-mannered husband Alexei (Jude Law) and beloved young son Serhoza (Oscar McNamara), and embarks upon a fateful train journey to Moscow.

Having talked Stiva and Dolly into a reconciliation, Anna is persuaded to attend a ball with Dolly’s sister Kitty (Alicia Vikander), who is innocently infatuated with the dashing Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). She is expecting a proposal at any minute – but to her dismay, Vronsky suddenly has eyes for nobody but Anna. His gaze is reciprocated. Having been in a passionless marriage since the age of eighteen, Anna is completely swept off her feet, and it isn’t long before the two have plunged headlong into an affair.

Continue reading A closer look at… Anna Karenina