Crowdfunding campaign currently underway
SAN DIEGO – Catholics believe that, during the Mass, bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ.
In most cases, this must be accepted on faith because the Eucharist continues to look and taste like bread and wine. But, on numerous occasions throughout history, the truth of this teaching has been demonstrated in extraordinary ways.
For example, in 750 A.D. in Lanciano, Italy, when a doubting priest recited the words of consecration, the host and the wine physically changed into human flesh and blood in the sight of the congregation. The relics of this Eucharistic miracle, which underwent examination in the 1970s, have baffled scientists.
The incident at Lanciano is far from a one-time occurrence. Blessed Carlo Acutis, an Italian teenager who was beatified in October, created a website documenting a long list of such phenomena around the globe and dating from the early centuries of Christianity to as recent as seven years ago.
The young blessed’s work provides the foundation for an upcoming documentary tentatively titled “Eucharistic Miracles.” The film, which is scheduled to be released on June 3, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, is expected to include interviews with experts in the Church and the scientific community, live-action dramatizations of Eucharistic experiences in the lives of the saints, and Hollywood-quality special effects.
The film’s director, Angelo Libutti, said the goal is a film with universal appeal that is capable of reaching a diverse audience that includes poorly catechized and “lukewarm” Catholics, non-Catholic Christians who do not accept Catholic teaching about the Eucharist, and those who place their trust in science but remain skeptical about spiritual matters.
The documentary aims to take viewers to some of the locations where Eucharistic miracles have occurred, “like a treasure hunt, an Indiana Jones trip,” said Libutti, a Catholic and a veteran of the entertainment industry who has 35 film and television credits on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).
Libutti is collaborating on the project with Ray Grijalba, CEO of The Joy of the Faith, whose YouTube videos about Eucharistic miracles caught Libutti’s eye and provided the inspiration for the documentary, and film producer Austin Kelly, CEO of ChristianChannel.com.
The scope of the film will be determined by the results of a crowdfunding campaign at christianchannel.com/crowdfund-films, which is currently underway and will continue through Monday, Jan. 4.
The campaign has a goal of $35,000 and two stretch goals of $77,000 and $127,000. The lowest funding level will pay for subtitles and captions in three languages, two minutes of special effects at a cost of $8,000 to $9,000 each minute, seven minutes of live-action filmmaking, and on-location interviews in Lanciano. By contrast, the highest level of funding would pay for subtitles and captions in 12 languages, 14 minutes of special effects, 21 minutes of live-action footage, and interviews in Lanciano plus three other locations of Eucharistic miracles.
For Libutti, “Eucharistic Miracles” has a message the world needs right now. Along with Grijalba and Kelly, Libutti said he believes that the film can change lives.
Noting that the film approaches its subject both through faith and science, he said, “If people know all this information, they will all get back to Christ, because now, we have science on our side, too.”
View a trailer for the film at https://youtu.be/CbubQgdmzfE.