Pope Francis to Make Feature Film Debut in 'Beyond the Sun'

Pope Francis in Cuba - H 2015
Associated Press

The film marks the first-ever big screen role for the Bishop of Rome.

The leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, Pope Francis, will play himself in the new film from AMBI Pictures, Beyond the Sun. This is the first time in the history of the Church that any Pope has made a film debut.

The film is a family adventure story based on the Gospels told in several tales. It arose from Pope Francis asking the filmmakers to do a movie that communicated Jesus’s message for children.

AMBI co-founders Andrea Iervolino and Lady Monika Bacardi will finance and produce the film. Graciela Rodriguez wrote the screenplay. She will co-produce with Gabriel Leybu. Monsignor Eduardo Garcia will be Pope Francis’ advisor.

All profits from the film will be donated to two Argentinean charities, El Alemendro and Los Hogares de Cristo, which aid at-risk children and young adults.

“Our excitement and gratitude toward His Holiness, Pope Francis, participating in this film is beyond words. This is not just a movie for us, it’s a message, and who better to have on your side to deliver an important societal and spiritual message than the Pope,” said Iervolino in a statement. “This movie will provide funds to support extremely worthwhile causes that we take very seriously. This message and cause are very dear to the entire AMBI family and we are honored and inspired by the level of collaboration from the Vatican.”

Principal photography will begin in early 2016 in Italy. AMBI will oversee worldwide distribution through its Los Angeles-based sales division.