Faith. Hope. Love. Life. "Bella"
One person can change your life forever.
I really regret that I was not able to see this film at a special screening that the Archdiocese put on a month or so ago (but then again, the pneumonia in my lungs at the time was probably better left on the couch). Today I found this awesome article on the film by Steven Greydanus, courtesy, once again, of the Ignatius Insight blog.
Excerpt from the article: ..."Bella is not King Kong or Superman," said Verástegui. "We don't have these big budgets behind us. This is just a film with a small budget but with a lot of heart and soul. We believe in this so much because we feel this is a call from our holy father John Paul II. We just want to show it to everybody."
For all their enthusiasm about Bella and future projects, the filmmakers maintain a sense of perspective. Mindful of Mother Teresa's maxim about faithfulness and success, they regularly downplay the significance of the past or future successes. More than once, and by more than one party, the theoretical possibility of every print of Bella being destroyed and the film never being seen again was cited as a way of emphasizing that there are bigger issues than any one film.
Verástegui made the point this way. While preparing to shoot the film, he revealed, he made a fateful choice: to visit an abortion clinic as research for his role.
"I thought it was going to be very simple," he said. "I was very naive. I thought I was going to arrive in the morning, with a few papers and a pen... Now, when I arrived that day, I forgot about the film. I was in shock when I saw all these fifteen, sixteen, seventeen-year-old young girls going in. Next thing I saw this little group of people outside, trying to convince them not to do it."
Approaching the group, Verástegui found himself being asked to talk to a Latino couple who spoke no English. "I had no idea what I was going to say. I was very nervous," he reported. Then the couple recognized him—from his soap opera roles. "They were from Mexico. Even though I did them ten years ago, they repeat them in television forever."
Verástegui wound up talking to the couple for the better part of an hour, and gave the mother a miraculous medal. "We talked about life, faith, Mexico, dreams, about everything. I don't even remember what I said. I gave her a little teddy bear. Next thing you know I said something and she was touched. And she leaves, and she didn't go inside the clinic. So I told her the next day, 'Hey, I'm here to help you, anything I can do to help you, if it's money or whatever. Consider me your friend.' "
Shortly after that, Verástegui left for New York to shoot the film. "I came back a few months later," he continued, "and I received a call. And it was this man who was with her. And he tells me, I have great news. My baby was born yesterday. And I want to ask your permission, because I want to call him Eduardo. And I couldn't even talk, man."
Verástegui went to the hospital to visit the couple and their new baby. "It was amazing. I went to the hospital and met the baby, and carried him in my arms—the way how he was looking at me, and I was calling him Eduardito, and I was singing, dancing with him. It changed my life completely. Because I didn't plan to do that. I just thought I was going to do my research as an actor. I never thought that by the grace of God I was going be used as an instrument to say something to this young lady to touch her heart. And the next thing you know I'm dancing with Eduardito.
"If this film tomorrow disappears and it burns and nobody sees it again," he concluded, "the fact that one baby is alive by the grace of God, I will rejoice in the Lord."
The whole article is a must-read, and, dare I say, a must-forward to everyone on your e-mail list, along with a plug to contact all of our local theaters and ask that they carry this film when it is released on October 26th. (The official website is here or click the pic below.)
If you have a blog or web site, go here for resources to use to help promote the film!