Six months after Mel Gibson scored a Hollywood upset with the huge popularity of his violent film, "The Passion of the Christ," another Catholic filmmaker is borrowing Gibson’s playbook to sell a much sweeter religious movie about a saint whose national shrine is in metro Detroit.
Already, Catholic supporters of St. Therese of Lisieux, the 19th-Century saint who is honored at the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, are doing everything they can to whip up interest in the film about her, "Therese," slated to open nationally Oct. 1.
That includes 11-year-old Brigid Wilson of Royal Oak, who dressed like the saint and paraded along Woodward Avenue during the Dream Cruise. It also includes the shrine’s pastor, Msgr. William Easton, who showed a preview of the movie after a Sunday mass earlier this month, encouraging parishioners to express their interest in seeing the film this fall.
Following Gibson’s grassroots marketing strategy, there are many ways that Catholics are expressing their interest in "Therese." Supporters are firing e-mails, passing around digital film clips and clicking on Internet sites to indicate that they plan to see the movie. One such site is www.theresemovie.com.
Also like Gibson’s team, the film’s supporters are encouraging groups to book local theaters. One Michigan-based group, Call to Holiness, has booked theaters for private showings of the film on Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 as part of a conference in Sterling Heights.
And many Catholics have donated to the nonprofit company that produced the movie, Luke Films.
"We’re hoping everyone will want to see Therese’s story," said Debbie Bloomfield of Wyandotte, whose family donated $5,000 to the multimillion-dollar project.
"Obviously, this won’t be a shoot-’em-up-and-torture-’em kind of action movie. This is a quieter story, but it’s so dramatic to learn about this young girl who went on to influence the whole world." [Source]