Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Documentary about excommunicated Brazilian priest wins RNA award

Alex Ferreira (photo) of DOCFilms (Brazil) has won a first place Excellence in Short Religion Video Award from the Religious Newswriters Association for his documentary "O Excomungado" ("The Excommunicated One") about the excommunication of controversial Brazilian priest Roberto Francisco Daniel, aka "Padre Beto." Fr. Daniel was suspended a divinis and later excommunicated in a rapid fire process when he refused to remove and recant online videos in which he expressed views contrary to the current teaching of the Catholic Church on issues such as gay marriage. The film alternates clips of interviews with Padre Beto and with a spokesman for the Diocese of Bauru, and shots from the ex-priest's daily life, his final Mass, and protests in support of him, as well as news clips about the controversy. The filmmaker also includes "man on the street" interviews with local Catholics about Padre Beto.

Ferreira, who was born in Bauru and has a masters in sociology of art from the Sorbonne, has extensive radio and TV experience in Brazil, France, and the United States. He told the local press that he was moved to cover Padre Beto's story because "the issue is important since it goes back to intolerance and religious fundamentalism, which is present in ten out of ten wars in the world today."

Ferreira is presently working on another documentary "As Vozes de Deus", sponsored by The International Humanist and Ethical Union. He says that "when the news ran around the world that a priest was excommunicated for preaching humanist ideas -- 414 [years] after Giordano Bruno -- a caution light went on in developed societies. International organizations dedicated to monitoring freedom sounded the alarm. People were interested in finding out what happened. Why was freedom of expression being curtailed? The impact was enormous. So this was an international agenda. I was just in charge of telling the story."

Padre Beto continues to teach, preach, and publish in the secular media and institutions and through his own web site. His latest books are Palavras de Vida and Verdades Proibidas.

O Excomungado

Pe Beto SITE from DocFilms on Vimeo.

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