Focus Features has announced Wim Wender’s “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” will open domestically in the U.S. on May 18, 2018. The film’s U.S. release announcement today coincides with Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent for Christians around the world. Universal Pictures International will distribute internationally. Written and directed by three-time Academy Award nominee Wim Wenders (“Buena Vista Social Club,” “Pina,” “The Salt of the Earth”), the documentary is a rare co-production with the Vatican, featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and the Pope addressing his audience directly, answering the world’s questions on life, death, social justice, immigration, ecology, wealth inequality, materialism and the role of the family.
Pope Francis – A Man of His Word is intended to be a personal journey with Pope Francis, rather than a biographical documentary about him. The pope’s ideas and his message are central to this documentary, which sets out to present his work of reform and his answers to today’s global questions.
The film’s direct-to-camera visual and narrative concepts engage the audience face-to-face with the pope, creating a dialogue between him and, literally, the world. Taking questions from people of all walks of life, Pope Francis responds to farmers and workers, refugees, children and the elderly, prison inmates, and those who live in favelas and migrant camps. All of these voices and faces are a cross section of humanity that join in a conversation with Pope Francis.
While this “symphony of questions” provides the backbone for the film, it also shows the pope on his many journeys around the world, with footage of him speaking at the United Nations, addressing the Congress of the United States, mourning with those gathered at Ground Zero and at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. He speaks to prisoners in correctional facilities and to refugees in Mediterranean camps. We see him travel to the Holy Land (Palestine and Israel) as well as to Africa, South America and Asia.
Throughout the film, Pope Francis shares his vision of the Church and his deep concern for the poor, his involvement in environmental issues and social justice, and his call for peace in areas of conflict and between world religions. There is also a presence of Saint Francis in the film, connecting back to the pope’s namesake, through accounts of legendary moments in the Saint’s own life as a reformer and ecologist.
In an era of deep distrust of politicians and people in power, when lies and corruption and alternative facts are the order of the day, “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” shows us a person who lives what he preaches and who has gained the trust of people of all faith traditions and cultures across the world.
“Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” is produced by Mr. Wenders with Samanta Gandolfi Branca, Alessandro Lo Monaco (“The World’s Smallest Army”), Andrea Gambetta and David Rosier (“The Salt of the Earth”). The film is a production of Célestes Images, Centro Televisivo Vaticano, Solares Fondazione delle Arti, PTS Art’s Factory, Neue Road Movies, Fondazione Solares Suisse, and Decia Films.
About Focus Features
Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com) acquires and produces specialty films for the global market, and holds a library of iconic movies from fearless filmmakers. Current and upcoming domestic releases from Focus include six-time Academy Award-nominated and Best Picture nominee “Darkest Hour,” directed by Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill; director Paul Thomas Anderson’s six-time Academy Award-nominated and Best Picture nominee “Phantom Thread” starring Daniel Day-Lewis; “7 Days In Entebbe,” a gripping political thriller directed by José Padilha and starring Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl; Jason Reitman’s new comedy “Tully,” starring Charlize Theron and written by Diablo Cody; “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” director Morgan Neville’s documentary on Mister Rogers; Lenny Abrahamson’s atmospheric thriller “The Little Stranger”; Joel Edgerton’s coming-of-age and coming-out drama “Boy Erased,” about a boy’s true-life experience at a conversion therapy program, starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe; “Mary, Queen of Scots” with Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I; “On the Basis of Sex,” the real-life drama of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg staring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer; Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s directorial debut “Mustang”; and Spike Lee’s new film “Black Klansman.”
Focus is part of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG), which produces, acquires, markets and distributes filmed entertainment worldwide in various media formats for theatrical, home entertainment, television and other distribution platforms, as well as consumer products, interactive gaming and live entertainment. UFEG’s global division also includes Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Brand Development, Fandango, DreamWorks Animation Film and Television and Awesomeness. UFEG is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.