Washington D.C., Aug 9, 2021 / 15:30 pm (CNA).
A longtime Hollywood producer has teamed up with a Catholic YouTube host to create a live-action film on Eucharistic miracles.
Ray Grijalba, host of the YouTube channel “The Joy of the Faith,” is co-producing the movie along with Angelo Libutti, who has worked on famous films such as “The Avengers,” “The Lion King 3-D,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” and “Spiderman.” The two said that Blessed Carlos Acutis, an Italian teenager who died in 2006 and was the first millennial to be beatified, was their inspiration for the movie.
“I think viewers need to know that Blessed Carlos Acutis’ mom is in this film and she’s a big fan of the movie,” Grijalba told CNA in an interview. Grijalba’s YouTube video on Eucharistic miracles gained half a million views.
Libutti told CNA that the goal of the movie is to evangelize those who have been misled about the reality of the Eucharist.
The co-producers are excited about their live-action movie format, because they believe many people – believers and non-believers – will be willing to sit down to enjoy a quality film.
Libutti said that many Eucharistic documentaries have been produced, but he questions whether the format of those documentaries has the ability to grab people’s attention for long periods of time.
“What I’m trying to do is find the synergy between speakers in the movie and the live-action scenes,” Libutti said. “So, when we start to feel the talking is becoming boring, people have had a little bit too much, that’s when we’re going to put in the live-action so it’s going to interact perfectly.”
The film includes Catholic figures such as Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler; Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation of Divine Worship; Fr. Donald Calloway, author of the “Consecration to St. Joseph”; theologian Dr. Scott Hahn; Catholic Answers host Tim Staples; and Lila Rose, president of Live Action. The film also features interviews with a scientists on the miracles.
So far, more than $300,000 has been raised for the film, but the two co-producers are looking to double that number.
The co-producers told CNA the making of the movie has been made possible through many sleepless nights of work and through Libutti’s Hollywood connections. Libutti told CNA that many of his connections in the film industry have donated some of their time for free because of their longtime friendship.
The role of Jesus is being played by actor Robert Renzi, who told CNA that disbelief in the Eucharist is because “the church of relativism, subjection of truth, and that ‘feel-good’ theology has crept in and spread throughout the church.”
Renzi believes that every human being has an objective craving of the “truth, goodness, and beauty that can only be satisfied by the true bread of life, the Eucharist.”
He told CNA he is honored to play the role of Jesus and that the film aims to take the audience on a “cinematic journey into the heart of these miracles.”