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McEveety Speaks on the Production of The Passion


Predicts that the Internet will allow more good movies to become widespread

Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2009

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STEUBENVILLE, OH—"Never has the world been so dark," movie producer Steve McEveety told a standing-room-only crowd at Franciscan University of Steubenville Sunday evening.  "This is the time to make this world a better place." 

McEveety, producer of The Passion of the Christ, Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, and Bella, engaged the audience with stories about his involvement in that struggle and his thoughts on how the rising generation of filmmakers may become involved, in his November 15 talk, "The Passion, Hollywood, and the Church."

McEveety captivated students, faculty, and community members with stories of the time he spent working with Mel Gibson before and during production of The Passion.  He also shared many of the difficulties and problems the crew experienced while working on the film.

"It was the hardest movie I ever shot," McEveety said.  "It's a movie about arguably the most important 12 hours of all eternity, so of course we're going to have a lot of problems."

The wild media controversy that began before they even started shooting only intensified as the movie neared release, and was a daily struggle, McEveety said.  Thunderstorms plagued the filming process, with Jim Caviezel, who played Christ, and a crewmember being struck by lightning, but miraculously emerging uninjured.  Because no major studio would release the film, they had to go directly to individual theater owners to find people willing to show it.

"The devil was doing whatever he could to mess up the project," McEveety said.

The devil didn't succeed, however; The Passion of the Christ had the second-biggest opening weekend ever for an R-rated film, earned over $600 million, and most important, has impacted people all over the world.

In a question-and-answer session, McEveety predicted that while there are a lot of great Christian writers out there, probably not more than one or two Christian movies are going to come out of the big production studios a year, because the current system "doesn't understand the Christian market."

New technology, though, will allow the people whose movies are not being made to spread them anyway, especially through the Internet.

"With what is available now, you can make a movie, a good movie, easily.  Big studios will continue to make the blockbusters, but we're going to see really great movies coming out by people who aren't well-known to Hollywood."

He presented the challenge of making these new, great movies to the young people in the audience.

"This is your world, not mine," he said.

McEveety's latest film, The Stoning of Soraya M., is currently being shown in selected venues and is due out on DVD, in spring 2010.  He is currently working on two projects: Left to Tell, the true story of a Rwandan genocide survivor, and a film about Our Lady of Guadalupe.

His lecture was the latest presentation in the Franciscan University Distinguished Speaker Series, which features leaders who have distinguished themselves in service to Church and society.

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