“You didn’t know Ignatius was Irish?”

December 20, 2005 in General, News

Film on first JesuitsLoyola Productions has just brought out a film to commemorate the first Jesuits, AMDG – A World is Not Enough. Paul Campbell describes the project and notes that the actor who plays St. Ignatius, Sean Mahon, hails from Dublin!

Sean Mahon, the actor who plays St. Ignatius in Loyola Productions’ A.M.D.G. – A World Is Not Enough, hails from Dublin and, although his accent is almost perfectly mid-Atlantic, you can catch the occasional Irish vowel. Sean is joined by American actors playing Francis Xavier and Pierre Favre. All three normally work in TV dramas, soap operas and sitcoms, but I think when you’ve seen the film you’ll agree that they did a splendid job of conveying the joyful friendship of the First Companions.

A.M.D.G. – A World Is Not Enough is an unusual kind of film. Its three main sections, “A Bullet,” “A Prayer” and “A Dream” each start with a dramatic scene featuring a key moment in the lives of the Jubilarians in order to illuminate a charism of the First Companions and this is followed by documentary footage showing how the same charism is being lived out by contemporary Jesuits and their partners in mission across the world.

The origins of A.M.D.G. – A World Is Not Enough are quite complicated. A group of Italian Jesuits proposed making a film for the anniversary but after discussions with Tom Rochford, S.J., the Society’s Secretary for Communication, it was decided that Loyola Productions, based in Culver City, California was in the best position to coordinate the project. Our brief was simple: Fr. General wanted us to avoid triumphalism and the project should be as international in scope as possible.

The dramatic scenes were written and directed by our own Michael Breault, S.J. (California), a Peabody award-winning producer and director, while the documentary portions, directed by Eddie Siebert, S.J. (Detroit), were scripted by Peppe Zito, S.J. (Italy) and Tom Rochford, S.J. (Missouri). During the ten months we worked on the film, we had Jesuits from Zambia, Wales, Tanzania, Portugal, Mexico, Italy, India, Germany, Chile, Canada & Australia come to California to help us out. I did my bit to represent Ireland. Documentary footage was provided by dozens of Jesuit sources across the world – look out for Noel Barber, Alan McGuckian, and a Dublin bus! – and reveals the impressive diversity of the Society’s ministries. The dramatic scenes were filmed in English, the narration can be heard in Spanish, French or English, and there are subtitles in seven languages.

Gene Geinzer S.J. and the Maryland Province brought three hymns to the project – one for each of the Jubilarians – and they have been incorporated into the project as a CD accompanying the DVD in a boxed set. Matt Ferraro, who composed the hymn for St. Ignatius, also wrote the score for the film and we went to London with him in October to record the soundtrack and the hymns. Carl Riley composed the hymn for Peter Faber and the one for Francis Xavier was written and sung in English and Spanish by Cristobal Fones, S.J. (Click on the A.M.D.G. – A World Is Not Enough icon at www.loyolaproductions.com to hear the hymns.)

It took a lot of effort in financial and other ways to make this film a reality. I am deeply grateful that the Irish Province stepped up to the plate and made significant contributions. I hope and pray that, when you have seen the film, you will agree that it was money well-spent. Thank you.

AMDG – A World is not Enough can be ordered from the Loyola Productions website (www.loyolaproductions.com) for $35. It consists of a cloth-covered boxed set of the film (PAL version available), a music CD, and a booklet with short biographies, the music score and a viewer’s guide to the film, with questions for group discussions.