By John Jalsevac
July 26, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bella, the heart-warming independent film that took the 2006 Toronto Film Festival by storm, winning the prestigious "People’s Choice Award," is in final negotiations with a major U.S. distributor, a representative at Metanoia Films told LifeSiteNews.com. *
According to the representative, barring any last minute glitches in the signing of the papers, the film will be released in theatres across the country on October 26 of this year. Currently, however, he said, further details cannot be released until the contract is finalized.
While the team behind Bella is not marketing the work as a strictly pro-life movie, many pro-life and pro-family groups across the country and internationally have embraced the film for its unapologetic celebration of life and the beauty of family and for its honest look at the difficult issue of what to do about an unplanned and "unwanted" pregnancy.
Recently Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley plugged the film on his personal blog, saying to his readers, "I recommend the film to all of you because I think that the message is so beautiful."
Much like Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, this newest film has become something of rallying point for those desiring to see uplifting, moral entertainment come out of Hollywood. And much like The Passion, Bella, from its inception to its current breakthrough finding a major distributor, has been blessed by a host of miracles both large and small that have convinced many that it was "meant to be".
At the same time, major secular film reviewers and the viewing public have welcomed the movie for its refreshing simplicity, high production quality, superb acting and compelling storyline.
The film is the first for lead actor Eduardo Verastegui since a profound conversion that saw him transformed from one of Mexico’s hottest television and music stars, known for an immoral lifestyle, to a humble, devout Catholic who now professes that the driving force behind everything he does is his desire to become a saint.
"For me, I was eager to erase the last twelve years of my career, the stereotype of the latin lover," says Verástegui about his role in Bella.
Most of Bella takes place during a single day, and follows lead characters Jose, once a famous athlete, now a chef at his adopted brother’s restaurant, and Nina, a young waitress at the restaurant, who finds out near the beginning of the film that she is pregnant. Single, scared, and alone, Nina appears to have decided that her only option is to abort the child, until Jose spends an unusual day with her in New York City. However, the word "abortion" is never mentioned in the movie.
Since taking home the People’s Choice Award, the team behind Bella has worked tirelessly promoting the film, gathering grassroots support for the cinematic underdog. The atypical film, which was shot on a shoe-string budget, and in less than 25 days, has captured the hearts of viewers for its intense intimacy and endearing characterization. At a screening that this LifeSiteNews.com writer attended, when the film ended it received a full five minute standing ovation, while many of the audience members were in tears.
The people behind Bella have never shot low, and currently their sights are on the Oscars, where many other films that have won the "People’s Choice Award" at the Toronto film festival have gone and won numerous award before, including Best Film.