Pope Francis Doc ‘Francesco’ Tackles Church Intercourse Abuse Scandal – .

The head of Discovery + is optimistic about high-end nonfiction books.

“We are investing in premium documentaries, a genre that we know our subscribers want more from,” said Lisa Holme, SVP for content and commercial strategy at Discovery, at the presentation of the streamer’s Winter Press Tour on Thursday. She added, “This enables us to support some of the best storytellers in the business.”

These acclaimed storytellers include Oscar-nominated filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky (Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, Screams from Syria), whose most recent documentary Francesco premieres on Discovery + on March 28th. The film examines the moral leadership of Pope Francis in many countries most important problems in the world.

Evgeny Afineevskys on his “Francesco” documentary, which made headlines around the world with Pope Francis’ comments on LGBT unions

Stefano Costantino / MEGA

“From the beginning the idea was to have us, humanity, as a key element of history … what disasters we caused, what poverty we caused, what injustice we caused,” Afineevsky said during the TCA panel. “And to tell his story as someone who tries alone to navigate us, to show us [an] to show us step by step how we can change these things. “

The director announced that his first cut was eight hours. He said he was asked to make a documentary series out of it, but said a single film would be more effective. He sees Francesco as a call to action.

“We have to reevaluate our actions, leave many things in the past,” said Afineevsky, “and go into the future with fresh thoughts and a different approach.”

In addition to global warming, the global refugee crisis, the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar and other topics, the film looks at the Pope’s reaction to the sexual abuse scandal that has harmed the Catholic Church.

Evgeny Afineevsky

Director Evgeny Afineevsky
Courtesy Matthew Carey

“He allowed me to tackle all problems, bring them [in any] Be right. I’ve shown him different parts of the movie, different parts of the movie, and I’ve never had any restrictions or any [objections]”Noted Afineevsky.” He gave me my full respect as an artist … I appreciate his ability to allow myself to tell these stories and, with his help, bring it to the bigger world. “

Juan Carlos Cruz, who was sexually abused by a Catholic priest in Chile as a boy, plays an important role in the documentary. He applauded Pope Francis for further developing his response to the scandal, from initially defending some prelates accused of sexual misconduct to taking decisive action against some suspected perpetrators.

“Pope Francis wrote a letter to the world apologizing and admitting his mistake, and that was unknown. No other Pope had done that, ”said Cruz. “This is a man who recognizes his mistakes and a man who is not ashamed to recognize and fix a mistake and admit that he made a mistake and fixed it.”

Francesco made news last year when it premiered in film over a moment at the Rome Film Festival when the Pope appeared to be advocating gay civil unions. It is still controversial where exactly Pope Francis stands on this question. On another controversial issue within the Holy See, the Pope changed church law last month to allow women to play a more central role at Mass, despite not advocating women becoming priestesses.

Sister Norma Pimentel, Executive Director of Catholic Charities in the Rio Grande Valley, attended the panel discussion on Wednesday and spoke highly of Francis.

“Pope Francis brings this sense of hope to all of us through his own humanity, his own foundation for human life and human reality,” commented Sister Norma. “I think his presence, his example, models for us the importance of humanity today and ensures that we respond to it in a caring, good and positive way.”

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Francesco premieres on Discovery + from the beginning of Holy Week until Easter Sunday. For his film, Afineevsky not only spent time with the current Pope, but also with his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Pope Francis sent Afineevsky handwritten notes praising his work on the film, which is perhaps ironic because the Pope wasn’t the most ardent of those questioned.

“From the start he actually said that he didn’t want to be in front of the camera for the film because he wasn’t an actor. He’s a Jesuit, ”said Afineevsky. “For him he would rather go to the end of the world to help people.”

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