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‘Ignacio,’ 1st PH film to win at Vatican film festival

‘Ignacio,’ 1st PH film to win at Vatican film festival

Ignacio Mirabile with producers Liana Marabini and Fr. Chris JESCOM

MANILA – “Ignacio de Loyola”, the Filipino-produced film about the life of the founder of the Society of Jesus, has been awarded Best Film at the recently concluded Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival in Vatican City, making it the first Filipino film to win the prestigious award.

“The most important thing to say about Ignacio de Loyola is that…it is the first time in the history of the Festival that this happened. There were no discussions about it. The members of the jury appreciated the script, the actors, the decorations, the costumes, the music of the film: in one word, everything,” said festival founder and organizer Liana Marabini, describing the jury’s unanimous decision.

Held at the Palazzo Cardinal Cesi, the film festival handed out four major awards for Best Short Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, and Best Film. “Ignacio de Loyola” directed by Paolo Dy bested “Saint Bridget of Sweden” by Fabio Carini (USA) and “Fatima the Ultimate Mystery” by Andres Garrigo (SPAIN).

Producers Pauline Mangilog-Saltarin and Ernestine Tamana were in Rome to accept the Silver Fish trophy.

“It was truly a humbling experience to be called on stage to receive the award. Ignacio de Loyola was made with blood, sweat, and tears, literally!” said Saltarin. “We share this important recognition with our director and screenwriter Paolo Dy and the whole cast, crew and production staff who made this film with so much passion and grace and turned it into a genuine labor of love.”

“Ignacio de Loyola” first made history in 2016 when it became the first Filipino film to premiere at the Vatican. Produced by Jesuit Communications Foundation Philippines and top-billed by Spanish actor Andreas Muñoz, it enjoyed a successful theatrical run in the Philippines last year and has been shown around the world, particularly in the United States, Spain, and in Mexico where it won the Audience Choice Award at the 12th Cine Con Valores Film Festival.

“Ignacio de Loyola” executive Producer Fr. Emmanuel Alfonso, SJ further added: “We are greatly honored by this award. It comes as a real surprise because the film was our first attempt at filmmaking. We therefore share this with all those who struggled with us to be able to produce this film. We hope that more people will be inspired by the example of St. Ignatius!”

Considered to be the “Oscars” of Catholic films, the Mirabile Dictu receives more than a thousand film entries each year from all over the world. The festival aimed to encourage producers and filmmakers to create documentaries, docu-fiction, TV series, short films, and programs that promote universal moral values and positive models.

Now on its 8th edition, it was conceived and created in 2010 under the High Patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture (Pontificium Consilium de Cultura) during Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the council, was present during the awarding ceremonies and gave a message about the power of film to transform lives.

The prize of the Festival, “Il Pesce d’Argento” (The Silver Fish, in Italian), is inspired by one of the first Christian symbols.

Parties interested to screen Ignacio de Loyola in their country may send an e-mail to Jesuit Communications Foundation at, send a private message to the official Ignacio de Loyola Facebook page or call +632-4265971-72. CBCPNews