LifeSite has a joint interview with Eduardo Verastegui, a former Latin American soap opera star who converted to Christianity, turned his life around, and is now dedicated to making films that stress family values; and Leo Severino, producer of Bella, due for release in the U.S. this weekend. Bella is being rolled out like Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, so if you are willing to sponsor a showing, or can get large groups together to see it, or are willing to help promote it, please check the website for more information. Bella won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, and has gone on to more acclaim from there.
From the LifeSiteNews.com interview (Eduardo):
Update: Via Lars Walker, here's more on Bella, from Rebecca Cusey (New Film "Bella" Rejects Latin Stereotypes, The American Culture, October 24, 2007)
One day, I did this soap opera where I was playing a drug addict and the consequences and then at the end, let's show the guy goes to rehab. OK, but the first three or four months of that story was really attractive - I am riding in this convertible car with two beautiful girls and guys doing drugs and I remember after that show, I was in Miami one day and this guy from Venezuela came and approached me and said, "I love your show - it was amazing. I was watching every day. I can't believe that I am meeting you - and I have to tell you, my favorite scenes were when you were getting high to the point where I started doing drugs because of your show."
That was the first pin right into my heart. Can you imagine someone telling you, "Thank you - because of you, I started doing drugs." That was when I really realized the power of the media. How, one guy is changing his life only because of what he saw - so either for good or for bad. Then, as an actor, producer or writer, sometime we don't assume responsibility. Sometime we just do it for the career, for the fame, for the opportunity, but we forget that whatever we are doing - we are going to be affecting somebody out there.
Knowing all these things, the purpose of the company is to make films. We want to be able to make a difference in society - 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, lets create the right art so that whatever they are imitating is going to be the right thing, you know.