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Detroit (ChurchMilitant.com) - A new live-action feature film about the Holy Eucharist is in the works.
The film, titled The New Manna, is being directed by Angelo Libutti. It aims to explore the enigma of the Holy Eucharist and showcase various Eucharistic miracles that have occurred over time.
Libutti has reported that the film is 90% complete, and he is aiming for a release to coincide with the National Eucharistic Congress scheduled in Indianapolis in July 2024.
Libutti has stated that the film's primary goal is to foster belief in the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
In a recent interview, Libutti mentioned his commitment to fully investing in this project and his intention to elucidate the mystery, drawing on resources like the Bible and the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas in a manner that could potentially influence even those without prior belief.
He said he experienced problems in the Hollywood film industry with this type of script as well as attacks when he started to proclaim his faith. These experiences reinforced his determination to produce a Hollywood-quality film about the Holy Eucharist.
He said he anticipated such difficulties in bringing the Eucharist and its message to the big screen because he knew "the guy downstairs wouldn't like it," as he pointed towards the ground.
In addition to live-action dramatizations and 3D animation of Old and New Testament events related to the Eucharist, the movie will include interviews with theologian and Catholic apologist Dr. Scott Hahn, Cdl. Francis Arinze, popular author and speaker Fr. Donald Calloway, theologian and exorcist Fr. Chad Ripperger and pro-life activist Lila Rose. It will also include interviews with scientists who will explain how Communion bread has been transformed into human flesh and blood.
Along with a team of Hollywood artists working on the movie, the mother of Bl. Carlo Acutis, Antonia Acutis, is helping to produce and promote the project. She sees Libutti's project as a continuation of the online exhibition of Eucharistic miracles created by her son (1991–2006) during his brief life.
In a joint interview with Libutti, Antonia Acutis spoke about her son's belief in the significance of Eucharistic miracles, which have been officially recognized by the Church. She mentioned that these miracles are seen as a testament to the real presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament and that they serve to strengthen the often fragile faith of believers.
She said that Libutti's "powerful" film can help so many people "to understand the real presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament."
"That is the most important thing, because only Jesus can transfigure and heal our soul and really help us in our path to sainthood — to our motherland, which is Heaven," she continued.
"The Eucharist is the real highway to Heaven," she added, quoting her son.
The Italian-born Libutti has maintained that his love and passion for the Eucharist and his persistence in making this film can be traced to his godfather, who was Padre Pio's personal assistant for 25 years.
The director said, "I grew up listening to [my godfather] tell stories about Padre Pio and his love for the Eucharist."
Libutti's godfather told him of the total silence Padre Pio demanded during Communion.
"He often spent more than 40 minutes just holding the Holy Eucharist, sometimes with blood dripping from his forehead as if the crown of thorns was afflicting him," Libutti was told.
Libutti's film rises above the rest, many say. He points out that The New Manna depicts every Bible passage that has to do with the Eucharist. It will be the first movie in history to show the Gospel of John, chapter 6, "in live action and in an authentic Catholic manner."
In St. John's Gospel, Jesus addressed the crowds at Capernaum, teaching:
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate [manna] and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.
More information about Libutti's upcoming film, The New Manna, can be found here.