Film to Premiere Featuring Visionary Catholic Artist
LOS ANGELES, CA. November 2, 2016 – The Boy Who Found Gold, a new feature-length documentary film by Christopher Summa about Roman Catholic priest and artist William Hart McNichols, will premiere at the inaugural Pembroke Taparelli Arts and Film Festival in Los Angeles on November 4, 2016. Heralded by Time Magazine as "among the most famous creators of Christian iconic images in the world,” Father McNichols’ message as a priest, artist and man speaks to the most powerful element of the human spirit: mercy.
Although produced independently, the film was made with the written permission of Archbishop Emeritus Michael Sheehan and Archbishop of Santa Fe John Wester. The film has been praised by best-selling author James Martin, SJ as "A heartfelt look at one of the great Christian artists of our age."
Filmmaker Christopher Summa has known Fr. McNichols since 1998. “I was first drawn to Father McNichols’ work because it's emotionally supercharged; icons are sacred images and I could see and feel the individuals and their stories,” says Summa. “I felt that this is what a true artist is supposed to do: allow people to bear witness. His subjects include individuals from all different faiths - Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, and Jewish – but the common thread is they all followed their truth no matter what the consequence."
Famed art historian Sister Wendy Beckett has commented ""Our Blessed Lord has given Father McNichols such a gift, in a way a very costly gift, but at the same time a sanctifying gift."
Fr. McNichols was born into the most powerful political family in the history of Colorado and yet, in his priesthood, he has led a life that has found him crossing paths with presidents and popes, peace activists and martyrs. As a young Catholic priest from 1983-1990, he was immersed in a life-altering journey working as a chaplain at St. Vincent's AIDS hospice in New York City. It was during this time that Fr. McNichols became an early pioneer for LGBT rights within the Catholic Church and he was featured on ABC World News asking for the church to have greater mercy and compassion for HIV/AIDS patients. His voice from thirty years ago echoes the modern day words of Pope Francis, who famously said: "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"
In 1990, Fr. McNichols was called into the desert of New Mexico where he began a six year apprenticeship to master the ancient art of painting icons. As an iconographer, McNichols uncovers unsung heroes of all faiths who fought for the rights of people and were killed for it. They span the centuries from the very first martyr St. Stephen, who was stoned to death, to the first casualty of the September 11 attacks, Father Mychal Judge, who died after being hit by a falling body. For the past 25 years, he has received non-stop commissions for his work, yet has never signed his name to a single icon. All of his works hang anonymously in churches and universities around the world, including the Vatican Museum.
Notably, the Pembroke Taparelli Festival was formed to celebrate art as activism and is named for Luigi Taparelli, an Italian-Jesuit who coined the phrase ‘social justice.’ Notes Summa, “Just like the Pembroke Taparelli Festival, The Boy Who Found Gold is infused with Jesuit spirituality. The wonderful thing about Father Bill's mission as a priest is his honesty. It comes through in his art, both the beauty and the truth. That kind of honesty is an act of social justice in itself.”
Premiere Information: The Pembroke Taparelli Arts and Film Festival November 4, 2016 8:00 p.m. at Raleigh Studios Chaplin Theater, 5300 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA., 91364
Tickets on sale at: http://www.ptaff.org/single-movie-tickets/the-boy-who-found-gold-film-ticket and http://theboywhofoundgold.com/