International film fest to celebrate Mother Teresa’s sainthood in 2016

Kolkata, Dec 18 (IANS) The Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF) which commemorates special occasions associated with the Nobel laureate will in 2016 present the best and biggest repertoire of films and documentaries made on her to mark the canonisation.

While the sainthood will end the wait for her patient followers, on the other hand, it will bring the curtain down on the specialised film fest, organisers said on Friday.

“The one in 2016 will perhaps be the last one since the festivals commemorate a particular event associated with her. But it will be the biggest ever,” Sunil Lucas, the festival director, told IANS.

Mother Teresa will be canonised as saint of the Roman Catholic Church next year, the Vatican and the Missionaries of Charity announced on Friday, a day after Pope Francis recognised a second miracle attributed to the much-adored nun.

First held in 2003 with around 8 or 9 films, MTIFF celebrated Mother Teresa’s beatification — the first step towards sainthood — after Pope John Paul II accepted as authentic a miracle attributed to her. The next edition was on her 10th death anniversary in 2007.

The festival will feature some iconic cinema based on Mother Teresa such as “Something Beautiful for God”, the 1969 BBC documentary said to be the first film on her work, “Mother Teresa and Her World” (1979), the second film on her by Japanese filmmaker Shigeki Chiba as well as “Mother Teresa” Aby Asisters Ann and Jeanette Petrie, said Lucas.

The 2010 edition of MTIFF began on August 26, her birth anniversary and showcased around 15 films. It was held at the West Bengal government-run auditorium Nandan with support from the Archdiocese of Calcutta and Missionaries of Charity. Simultaneous screenings were organised in India and in neighbouring countries.

Lucas said in 2016, the dates will be in accordance with the canonisation ceremony.

“She gave hope to the poor and she is my hero. We will incorporate more number of films since the numbers of documentaries and movies made on her has gone up over the years,” Lucas said, adding talks and seminars by experts on Mother Teresa will be important highlights of the fest.

Mother Teresa is likely to be canonised in September next year to coincide with the 19th anniversary of her death and Pope Francis’s Holy Year of Mercy.

The second miracle — mandatory for her canonisation — related to the curing of a Brazilian man with a brain illness.

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