By Sarah Mac Donald - 01 June, 2020
‘Hope’, the EWTN docudrama on the apparition at Knock in 1879, has won a prestigious Gabriel Award.
Directed by Co Down native, Campbell Miller, it is the first time an Irish director has won one of these much coveted prizes.
Gabriel Awards are presented annually by the Catholic Press Association in the US and Canada.
The awards honour both secular and religious film, television, radio and digital media outlets for “outstanding artistic achievement in media that entertains and enriches with a true vision of humanity and a true vision of life.”
Responding to news of his success, ‘Hope’ director Campbell Miller said it was “a great honour and a powerful endorsement of our EWTN work”.
His last film ‘Bravery Under Fire’ documented the life of Fr Willie Doyle, an Irish Jesuit Chaplain in World War I who was killed in 1917.
Campbell Miller explained that the cast and crew that made ‘Hope’ were all from Ireland.
“We shot the movie here on a small budget. Our actors’ contributions were immense in capturing the faith and wonder of the people of Knock. Also, we benefited tremendously from the input and support from the EWTN team in the USA. We’d like to thank everyone that helped make this project a success.”
The docudrama looks at how Knock has become a place that is visited by over a million pilgrims a year, where life changed for most of the inhabitants either directly or indirectly due to what happened on that rainy night in August of 1879.
It blends expert commentary and with reconstructions of what life was like in 19th century Ireland, when the country had been decimated by the Great Famine and emigration.
The film features contributions from relatives of the original witnesses, as well as Fr Richard Gibbons, Rector of Knock Shrine, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All Ireland, and Knock historian Tom Neary.
It also includes an interview with Marion Carroll, whose healing from serious illness at Knock while on pilgrimage has been officially recognised by the Church.
“We obviously didn’t know that the release of ‘Hope’ would coincide with the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are parallels between the two eras. People are fearful for their future, everything looks a bit grim. It is similar now, to the prevailing atmosphere at the time of the apparition.”
“There is poverty, disease and a sense of despair. Our Lady’s appearance at Knock gave people a sense of hope. Ireland needs to hear that message again at a time when so many are under pressure, depressed, and fearful.”
In February, Campbell Miller personally presented a copy of ‘Hope’ to Pope Francis, an occasion he said was “a great honour”.
‘Hope’ was first screened on 27th January at the Filmoteca Vaticana. It will be screened on EWTN television in Ireland in August. The film is now available on Amazon Prime and is currently being translated into German and Spanish for broadcast worldwide.
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