New pro-life movie revolutionizes faith-based film industry

RACHEL MILLER AND MAGGIE PAWSEY
STAFF WRITER

“If you love someone and think they might go to hell, would you let them die?” Students flocked to the Gentile Gallery on Saturday night to experience the answer to this dire question voiced in the thought-provoking film, “The Extrovert.”

Director James Pinedo was inspired by the book, “The Lazarus Effect,” which told stories of people who came back to life with impossible knowledge about events happening around them while they were unconscious.

James Pinedo brought the idea to his brother Peter Pinedo, Franciscan sophomore, who had the opportunity to work as associate producer for the film. James wanted to address “questions that we have about faith, about life, and why it sometimes does not make sense at all, and what is this thing, death, and why is it so murky and clouded?”

“The idea of it is to present a Catholic message, but in a non-threatening, more entertaining way,” said Peter Pinedo, “something that a non-Catholic could watch and enjoy but still get a positive message from it.”

“The Extrovert” centers around the converging storylines of three characters, struggling to figure out life, death and faith in the face of tragedy – and what it takes to save an immortal soul. It addresses the decision of taking a person off life support, and the effects of prayer on souls.

James Pinedo, who was present at the screening, told the audience before the film began, “I want you guys to be asking questions.” The plot’s progression mystified the viewers as much as the characters, using a nonlinear storyline full of symbolism, with poignant color schemes and lighting techniques.

According to James Pinedo, this film is unlike most Christian films because “Catholics like to work in very subtle ways.” He explained that in typical faith-based films, the “…characters are always going to be saved any point they say this line: ‘I believe,’” which allows no recipe for conflict. In contrast, “if Catholics need symbols, and sacramentals, and signs, then we’ll put that into our art because we’re used to that; that’s where we come from,” said James Pinedo.

“There’s voices that are missing in this modern-day storytelling,” said James Pinedo. “The Extrovert” won a special jury mention at the I Will Tell International Film Festival, an event which emphasized “telling stories about those that traditionally don’t have voices.”

“I just think that ‘The Extrovert’ is something that’s important to our society right now… It’s not something that’s done regularly,” said Peter Pinedo. “I think it’s something that’s pioneering a new kind of faith-based film.”

Sophomore Sanziana Tamiian said after the screening, “When we think of pro-life, we think of saving innocent babies and that’s definitely a huge, major goal. We also need to realize that as pro-lifers we should be loving life in every single stage, especially even when we’re adults.”

“Assisted suicide is an issue that has reached Congress,” said freshman Students for Life member Kyle Taggart. “I’m glad that this was characterized as a pro-life movie event because it is one of the prime pro-life issues that our country is facing.” Taggart wanted to make it clear that the decision in the film to take someone off life support is a separate issue from assisted suicide, but it is still “a very important and overlooked pro-life issue.”

“The Extrovert” team showed the film at Franciscan because it is a central gathering place for Catholics. “We’re hoping that through this screening, we’ll be able to reach those Catholics from all different parts of the country, and get people excited about it so they can… spread the word about this new evangelization that we’re doing,” said Peter Pinedo.

“I thought it was a fascinating movie,” Taggart added, “and pretty emotional… I was just fascinated to hear of a pro-life Catholic filmmaker in Hollywood… I enjoyed it.”

“The Extrovert” will be released on iTunes and Amazon in January 2018 and on Netflix soon after, and it will potentially work its way to theatres. For updates on “The Extrovert,” visit the.extrovert.film or jp2.anew on Instagram, and to learn about this and other Pinedo projects, visit www.poetandlunatic.com.

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