Saw Bella

November 3, 2007

We went and saw Bella last Wednesday with my sister and husband and our newest addition, Maria. We have a tradition of going to one movie very soon after each child is born which means that we have been to about seven movies in the last ten years.

Bella is a good movie. Not a great movie, but a good movie. The message, if not beat-you-over-the-head obvious, does lean in a pro-life direction and you do come away happy in the end. I actually think that this helps the movie. It isn’t a soap box sermon or a legal brief. It’s a story about ordinary people and the difficulties they face.

Jose was a rising “football” star who had just signed a multi-million deal with a US team when he ends up in jail for running over a child. After getting out he works as the head chef at his brother’s restaurant. The scenes in the kitchen and the dishes prepared had me ready to go spend several hundred dollars I don’t have on dinner.

Nina is a waitress at the restaurant who ends up pregnant by someone who wants to “take care of it”.  Jose convinces her to let him adopt the baby instead.

My favorite parts of the movie are the food, the interaction with Jose’s family, the food, the every-day look at New York City and the food.

The movie suffers from some editing problems that leave you with a series of vignettes instead of a flowing story and the end if the movie makes you wonder if there was half an hour lost during production.

In spite of the editing problems, the story is warming, the message is positive, and the characters  are real.

Barbara Nicolosi didn’t like it.

Steven Greydanus did.

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A Note From Eduardo Verastegui About Bella (and some PR)

October 25, 2007

I am so overwhelmed with joy by the support we have received all year, and most of all this week. Finding investors to finance “Bella” was the first miracle, the film completed was the second. The third and biggest miracle was
when “Bella” Won the Toronto Film Festival, but the most touching of all has been traveling the country and meeting all of you, and your support this week has been inspirational.

We have hundreds of theatres pre-sold and many supporters are buying a 100 tickets for family, and others 10,000 to bless a whole city, anything to adopt these theatres, all in support of our film and it’s message.

I want you to know how grateful I am, and I hope when it comes out in theatres this Friday, you can sit in that chair, watch it on the big screen and know you were part of a miracle in action. It is a beautiful film that to me was created by something bigger then us all, and I will never forget all of the passion, support and life this film has inspired.

If you can walk with me just a few more weeks and help us get the word out so this film can get it’s place in time and into the hearts and minds of as many people possible.

I have pasted below ways in which you can help, most of all by adopting a theatre or asking others to co-adopt a theatre.

Every email you send, blog you post, call you make, has a tremendous impact. As we all work together amazing things are happening.

God Bless,

Eduardo Verastegui
p.s. I am amazed by the unending genorocity of the people we have met through Bella. A young girl who can not afford her own rent, took all of her savings to adopt a theatre.
p.s. Our group sales Director says she has never seen anything like this. This is a testament to you.
www.BellaTheMovie.com
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WAYS TO HELP BELLA

1. Adopt a theatre opening weekend Oct 26 or the next weekend

a. 1 person buys 300 tickets

c 10 people buy 30 tickets

Give to family, churches or organizations
You can adopt a market as well buying 4200 tickets

2. Email us your e-mail list so we can send out our special movie mails
(email back to me))

3. Blog, post and message people about www.BelleTheMovie.com
4. Send email below to your email list and ask others to do the same
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Film “Bella” in theatres this week – October 26

The story behind the making of the new movie, “Bella” is unbelievable!!!

…I know many of them and they deserve our support for making a movie that is transforming peoples lives. A group of first time filmmakers took a huge leap of faith to tell this beautiful story and miraculously won People’s Choice Award in Toronto, which is often an indicator of future Academy Award nominations, with past recipients including best picture winners & nominees “Chariots of Fire”, “American Beauty”, “Life is Beautiful”, “Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon”, “Hotel Rwanda” among others.

After seeing the film Producer Steve McEveety (Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ) signed on as the Executive Producer of “Bella” to help market the film and it is coming out nationwide Oct 26th.

Here is an article describing their release.

There are other articles & videos at: www.BellaNews.com

By forwarding this email to your entire list, we show our support for quality films that celebrate the best of the human spirit and inspire people to live for others and to build a better world.

At the same time we will encourage filmmakers to create more beautiful films like it.

We need to support our friends who are working hard for us in Hollywood because if we don’t the market will continue to be flooded with films that don’t have the beauty that “Bella” has. If the film has a big opening weekend it will go into even more theatres next
week and touch more lives… so please try to turn out this week on opening weekend, Oct 26th.

I think the below email from my friend says it all.

Please pass this email on to everyone you know!

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REVIEWS & QUOTES

CNN – Ana Maria Montero

“Powerful and moving… a true inspiration.”

ABC NEWS
A romantic drama….Mexican director Alejandro Gomez Monteverde’s Bella tells the story of two people whose lives converge and turn upside down on a single day in New York. It has won the People’s Choice Award, which is often an indicator of future Academy Award nominations.

RUETERS:
TORONTO (Reuters) – “Bella,” a romantic drama by Mexican director Alejandro Monteverde, was the surprise winner of the top award at the Toronto Film Festival on Saturday….. The prize is often an indicator of future Academy Award nominations, with past recipients including best picture winners “American Beauty” and “Chariots of Fire.”Last year’s winner, “Tsotsi,” won an Oscar for
best foreign-language film. “I really hope that this is not a dream and that I don’t wake up at film school,” a visibly surprised Monteverde said at an awards ceremony. “This festival is my first festival, it’s my first film. It’s my first everything.”

NEW YORK TIMES WEBSITE:
A man whose life is about to be changed forever discovers that sometimes it takes losing it all to finally appreciate the things that truly matter in director Alejandro Monteverde’s emotional tale of self discovery.

~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide Click link below to view actual article You can get NY Times article by going to this link.

FOX NEWS
I am very pleased that the Toronto Film Festival chose “Bella” to win their top audience award over the weekend…. It’s incredibly charming, with terrific performances by Tammy Blanchard and Mexican star Eduardo Verastegui and Manny Perez. It’s directed by Alejandro Gomez Monteverde. It’s too easy to say this is the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” of this season, because “Bella” is far more complex and sophisticated while losing none of the humor. Whoever decides to release “Bella” will have a nice little hit on their hands. The freshness and lack of affectation in “Bella” must have appealed to audiences who had to endure a number of big-name films that seemed contrived, stale or calculated. You can get read the article by going to this link.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: “Bella” Wins

TORONTO — A trio of Mexicans triumphed at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday when their U.S. independent drama “Bella” captured the People’s Choice Award, voted on by festival audiences…. “These Mexican guys go to America and beat the American independents at their game — it’s impressive,” Toronto festival co-director Noah Cowan said after an awards luncheon. You can get Hollywood Reporter logo and authors name for the article by going to this link.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: The Story Behind “Bella”
Winning in Toronto can be the first step on the road to Oscar and Golden Globes success. “Bella” could wind up following in the footsteps of such past Toronto winners as: “American Beauty,” which won five Oscars in 2000, including best picture and director, and three Globes, including best picture and director; “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” which won four Oscars in 2001, including
best foreign language film, was a best picture Oscar nominee and won two Globes, including best director for Ang Lee. Read the article at this link.

VARIETY
“This movie depicts the culture but also transcends it,” said Pilar O’Leary, exec director of the Smithsonian Institute’s Latino Center. “It has universal appeal.”Which is why the Latino Center is presenting Verastegui and helmer Alejandro Monteverde with its award for emerging talent. Pic doesn’t see release until August, but because of the increasing buzz, the Mexican Embassy wanted
to sponsor a private screening as part of its Cinco de Mayo bash.

-William Triplett, Variety.com To read entire article visit this link.

AFI (American Film Institute) Movie Review – Dallas
Life is really, really hard; thank god it’s so beautiful – it’s one of those rare films that catches you by the emotional short hairs and refuses to let go. By the time the final reel plays, you’re going to be weeping tears of commingled sadness and joy – unless you happen to have blocked tear ducts. (And, if you do, you might consider a viewing of this movie as a possible cure.) Bella is really not so much a love story (in the sense of two people falling head over heels) as it is a story about love and how it can heal psychic wounds and enrich our lives.

-John P. Meyer, AFI Dallas. To read article visit this link.

InCONTENTION.com
“Bella” marks the debut feature of Alejandro Gomez Monteverde, a truly humble man in awe of the fact that he’s actually made it here. It’s better to know as little as possible about this film before going into it but let me tell you that it feels both sincere and loving. It’s great to see a film that legitimately moves the viewer without being drowned in sap. And it does this in just 90 minutes. If it comes your way, see it. You won’t regret it. You can read the article by going to this link.

CNN – Ana Maria Montero
“Powerful and moving… a true inspiration.”

NBC, MIAMI
“Bella is a romantic drama full of heart, soul and beautiful messages. It’s a film that will stay with you forever! Powerful, passionate and unpredictable, Bella is a rare gem, a true surprise. A movie that can transform your life and keep you thinking. Bella is a cinematic jewel. One of the best films I’ve seen in a long time”.Watch out for its extraordinary cast, especially Mexican leading
man Eduardo Verastegui, truly the “Brad Pitt of Latin America”.

— Maria Salas, NBC-Miami

The last film with Bella’s momentum was the Passion of the Christ.”

-Stephen McEveety Producer (The Passion, Braveheart)


Bella News

October 23, 2007

Several news updates on the Bella opening this weekend found at Catholic News Service.

  • “I decided to have the archdiocese arrange a private screening to help promote the success of ‘Bella’ because of its powerful message about the sanctity of life, as well as the desire to support the efforts of talented individuals attempting to use modern means of communication for the promotion of positive values,” Archbishop Naumann (Kansas City) wrote in a note to those who attended the screening.
  • The back story of Metanoia Films, opening its first feature film, “Bella,” nationwide Oct. 26, could be called The Miracle on Bedford Drive.

    That’s where former 20th Century Fox entertainment lawyer Leo Severino met Mexican pop singer/telenovela soap opera star Eduardo Verastegui — outside Good Shepherd Church in Beverly Hills after attending mid-week Mass in 2004.

    Severino, 35, couldn’t help but notice Verastegui, 33. Besides being the only other young person at church, he was unabashedly devout, praying after Mass with head bowed and raised hand touching the church’s indoor statue of Christ near a side exit.

    “I was really moved by that,” said Severino, who was struggling to reconcile his Catholic faith and new job responsibilities requiring that he draw up contracts for programs “not exactly what the Blessed Mother would be watching on her television.

    “I was going to daily Mass just praying for deliverance and guidance from the Lord. I didn’t know it was going to come in the shape of a 6-foot-1-inch, ridiculously good-looking Mexican superstar,” said Severino. Not wanting to interrupt Verastegui during his private devotions after Mass, he passed by without saying a word on his way out to the parking lot.

  • It is uncommon for a film to make a clear, confident moral statement from which audiences of all demographics can benefit. It is even less common for a film that does make such a statement to be good.

    “Bella” (Roadside Films/Metanoia Films), which will be released Oct. 26, does just that — it takes a moral stand and exhibits the qualities of excellent filmmaking.


Eduardo Verastegui Comes Home

October 15, 2007

The Latest Faith and Family Magazine, edited by famous Catholic mom Daniel Bean, has a great interview with Eduardo Verastegui about his reversion to the Catholic faith and his new role in the movie Bella.

He’s known as the “Brad Pitt of Mexico,” but Eduardo Verastegui may soon be regarded as Mexico’s “Jim Caviezel.”

Once a notorious playboy, the singer, actor, model, and film producer experienced a powerful reversion to his Catholic faith four years ago. In the process, he gave up his fame and fortune to pursue film projects that glorify God.

The first of those is Bella. The film won the prestigious People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival last fall. Bella will be out in limited release in late October. Filmmakers are asking for support on its opening weekend so they can push for wide release shortly thereafter.

Unfortunately, Faith and Family isn’t available on-line (hint, hint) so I’ll just mention some highlights here.

  • “I was one of those Catholics who made my own Catholicism because that’s what I thought it was – as long as I don’t kill, I’m a good person, you know. You go to Mass twice a year at Christmas and Easter and pray every night.”
  • “We signed with Sony Music and traveled to 16 countries. We were a very successful band. After 3 1/2 years, I wasn’t content anymore. I left the band and acted in Mexican soap operas for five years. My biggest dream was to do a movie in English.”
  • “I needed to understand the pain the other person in the film was going through, so I ended up going to an abortion clinic. I thought it was going to be easy. I’m doing my homework as an actor. I’ll stop the first girl I see and ask her questions.So I arrived, and I was in shock when I saw all of these 13-,14-,15-year-old girls going in.”
  • “I saw a little group outside trying to talk to them and convince them not to do it. One of the ladies in that group told me the couple was from Mexico and they didn’t speak any English. We ended up talking for 45 minutes. I gave them my number, then they left. They didn’t go in.”
  • “I received a call, months later. It was the man who was with her that day. And he said, “I don’t know if you remember me. I want to ask your permission to call my son ‘Eduardo.'”
  • Bella is the fruit of 3 1/2 years of sacrifice, of saying No to a lot of offers that were not honoring God.”
  • “If God wants me to use my talents in this career so I can glorify him: Thanks be to God!”

This movie is worth supporting and getting into theaters. Please read our previous post on how you can help.

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Help Get Bella into Theaters

October 7, 2007

Bella Banner Okay folks, it’s time for a little grassroots action. The movie, Bella, won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival this year but may never make it into theaters.It’s a movie with a pro-life, pro-family message that uplifts without devolving into sappy religiosity. The bishop of Colorado Springs (Thank you, Bishop Sheridan!) sponsored a screening of the film yesterday here in Colorado Springs and the director spoke after the screening.The director is a Catholic and had quite a story of faith to tell about the whole production process and the actors involved.

To get the movie into theaters they are going to need a commitment for at least 4,000 tickets in a city.

You can download free promotional stuff here. You can get banners, trailers, desktop wallpaper and articles.

You may also want to pay a visit to the official Bella site as well. Watch the interview with Eduardo Verastegui, the star who walked away from the pinnacle of Mexican Hollywood to do something meaningful with his life.

So apart from buying tickets, what can you do?

  1. Call your local theaters and ask if they are going to be running Bella.
  2. If you’re a blogger, write about this movie on your site.
  3. Submit this post to Digg, Delicious and various other sites using the buttons below the trailer so the word gets out to more people.
  4. Ask your parish to sponsor a theater.
  5. Put out fliers at work.

Here’s the trailer:

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