Millennium Post

Mother Teresa International Film Festival begins, three world premieres scheduled

Coinciding with Mother Teresa's 106th birthday and in the run-up to her canonisation as saint, a film festival focusing on her life and teachings was inaugurated here on Friday.

The four-day-long movie carnival at the state-run Nandan multiplex is screening a selection of 23 best foreign and Indian films ever made on or inspired by Teresa.

Organised by the Archdiocese of Kolkata, Missionaries of Charity and SIGNIS India (Indian chapter of World Catholic Association for Communication), the fourth edition of Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF) is having three world premieres.

The festival opened with the screening of the 82-minute-long documentary 'Mother Teresa' by Petrie Productions (1986).

One of the biggest highlights of MTIFF is the world premiere of 'Mother Teresa: An unexpected encounter' by Leigh Wharton, who was one of the six people Teresa had allowed to film her.

The film had its beginnings 22 years ago in Kolkata when the renowned documentary filmmaker started shooting, but the footage later on got lost for 27 years before being found at a lab in New York.

Another big highlight will be 'Mother Teresa & Me', which is personal documentary narrating the journey of Goutam Lewis, a polio-afflicted man abandoned by his parents in Kolkata but rescued by Teresa who went on to become a successful entrepreneur in London.

'Love till it hurts' made by Pauline Sisters will be the third film to have a world premiere here.

Altogether there are films from seven countries, including eight from India, said festival director Sunil Lucas.

He said they are presenting the best and the biggest repertoire of films and documentaries made on and inspired by the life of the Nobel laureate.

The Roman Catholic nun, who passed away in 1997 after serving the poor and sick on the streets of Kolkata for 45 years, will be declared a saint on September 4 by Pope Francis in the Vatican City.

After Kolkata, MTIFF will be held at over 100 locations in India and around 50 other countries to commemorate Teresa's sainthood.

Other notable films in MTIFF are 'Making of a Saint' and 'In the Name of God's Poor', which stars Charlie Chaplin's daughter Geraldine as Mother Teresa.

Another important work is from Emmy Award-winning directors Ann and Jeannette Petrie who made 'Mother Teresa: The Legacy' which was the official film for the occasion of her Beatification in Rome.

Chronicling Teresa's rich legacy, which is carried out through the Missionaries of Charity founded by her in Kolkata, the film also has her interviews and other video footage.

Besides films on the Mother's life, there will be works which take a cue from her teachings like the Bengali film 'My Karma'.

This is the fourth edition of the festival, which is held only on special occasions associated with the Nobel laureate.
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