By John Jalsevac

April 11, 2008, ( – Bella, the extraordinary, life-affirming, independent film-that-could, has been released for the first time in Canadian theaters today. The makers of the film are encouraging Bella supporters to bring as many people as possible to view the film this first weekend, as ticket sales over the next few days will determine whether or not Bella will continue to be shown in Canada in the following weeks (to see a list of theaters where the film will be playing, go to:

Bella, the first film from the independent film company Metanoia Films, which was shot on a shoe-string budget in just over twenty days, came like a bolt out of the blue at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006, taking home the coveted Peoples’ choice award, considered to be the most prestigious film festival award in North America.

Since then Bella has become something of rallying point for those looking for and hoping to encourage uplifting, family-friendly, thoughtful cinema. Pro-life and pro-family advocates in particular have welcomed the film for its positive portrayal of adoption and for its powerful celebration of family life. 

At the same time, major secular film reviewers and the viewing public have also 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, who admits to having lived 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.

“We want to be able to make a difference in society,” he told about his intentions for Metanoia Films. “We want to be able to touch people’s hearts and make a good influence, no matter how tiny.  We know that people are going to be imitating art – well then, let’s create the right art so that whatever they are imitating is going to be the right thing, you know.”

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.

In the midst of the constant and sordid stream of recent Hollywood releases, Bella comes as a lone ray of light – a movie that compellingly tells the story of a few simple, humble people placed in difficult circumstances, who, in the end, by the strength of their friendships and family ties, triumph over loneliness and despair. Bella is a must-see for anyone who hopes for the return of a Culture of Life, even if only for the sake of encouraging more films like it.  

Already Bella has had a profound impact in the United States, where it has already been released in theaters. The producers of the film have reported that numerous women have contacted them, informing them that the movie’s presentation of an alternative choice to abortion led them to choose to give birth to their unborn child, instead of aborting. One mother told the filmmakers that she had named her child Bella, since the movie was the only reason that her child was alive today.

Theaters in Canada where Bella is showing this weekend:

See related coverage:

Bella Star Reveals Difficult Personal Journey From Soap Opera Star to Producer of Ethical Films

Toronto Film Festival Winner “Bella” Finds Major Distributor, Anticipates Opening October 26

‘Bella’ Movie Star, Eduardo Verastegui, Saved Real Baby While Researching Film

Fans of Quality, Ethical Movies Urged to Support Bella With Bulk Ticket Purchases and Theater Rentals

Latino “Heartthrob” Soap Opera Star Speaks out against “the holocaust of abortion” Scoop Confirmed: “Bella” the Movie to be Released Across United States October 26