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Award Winning Movie Trumps Romance With True Love
By Huda Metti :: Monday, October 29, 2007 :: 82449 Views :: Article Rating :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment, Opinion and Editorials

Chaldeans say they can relate to the movie Bella (www.bellathemovie.com) that opened this week. 

The weekend box office smash sends another cold chill down the spine of Hollywood who snubbed the film for its contrary and heart wrenching message that love comes from sacrifice and not romance. 

The movie critics say Bella has what America’s been asking for but what Hollywood refuses to give.

Having won the People’s Choice Award at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, you’d think major Hollywood distribution companies would be crawling over one another for a crack at the film. But such is not the case. Bella’s central theme puts a premium on the value of human life — including life in the womb — and that is a value Hollywood just won’t tolerate.

For Arvin Ashaki and his
fiancé Amber Kannani the movie rated tops.

“Soccer, hard-work, family, and having to make hard decisions – come-on that is a Chaldean’s life.  I loved this film and would tell everyone to go see it.  If you are married or plan to get married one day you got to see this movie,” says Arvin Ashaki. “Me and my girl needed a break from all the worry over the fires and stuff so we went to see a movie.  It is sad that Hollywood won’t show it in more theaters; we had to drive about an hour to a place we never went to before.  It was a very nice theatre and we enjoyed the car drive and dinner afterwards.  Hollywood is just shooting themselves in the foot teaching people that Movie theaters no longer matter.” 

Ashaki’s fiancé, Amber Kannani, a business graduate of San Diego State says, “Don’t believe Hollywood when they say their decisions are based on business.  It is not.  They tried to ignore The Passion of the Christ and are now ignoring Bella. They don’t like the movie’s message that simple.  I wish everyone calls their local theaters and demands the movie be showed.”

"Bella" was a surprise winner of the People's Choice Award, voted on by audiences at the Toronto film festival.  The independent film staring Mexican superstar Eduardo Verástegui, is scheduled for limited release in theatres this week. The movie, an inspirational drama set in modern-day New York. 



But the folks at Roadside Attractions, a division of Lionsgate Entertainment, knew a good thing when they saw it and scooped up this moral masterpiece. Bella’s creators are hoping to reach as many people as possible with the film’s principal message: “True love goes beyond romance.”

In Bella, Eduardo Verástegui stars as José, a once-famous professional soccer player who finds himself working as a cook in his brother’s New York City restaurant following a tragic, career-ending accident that leaves him broke, haunted and utterly discontent.

But José soon learns that God can turn all things for good. Nina, a single waitress played by Tammy Blanchard is also down on her luck. She confides in José that she’s discovered she’s pregnant. As she is confronted with the choice between life and death for her little one, José is able to tap his own turbulent life experiences to offer Nina the wise counsel she so desperately needs.

Concerned Women for America (CWA) President Wendy Wright attended an advanced screening of the film. “Most movies follow a predictable story line,” said Wright. “Bella, like real life, surprises you with a subtle yet profound story of exceptional grace.”

And exceptional grace has also been one of the film’s many positive byproducts. Co-writer and co-producer Leo Severino shared with CWA that he’s aware of at least two instances where babies are alive today because of Bella’s message of truth and love. In fact, by God’s grace, the world has now been blessed with a real life Bella — a little girl named for the film — whose life was spared only hours before she was scheduled to die at the hands of an abortionist.

Yes, it’s no wonder the Hollywood left wouldn’t give Bell a the time of day. The movie’s timeless message is one they urgently wish to chill. It’s a message not altogether unlike The Passion of the Christ, a message which reminds us all that the selfless sacrifice of one can mean the precious gift of life for another.

Bella'' was conceived by three young conservative Catholic Mexican men -- producer, director and lead actor -- who want to make movies removed from Hollywood's culture of sex and violence. Bankrolled by a Catholic Philadelphia family, they shot the film in 24 days in New York City.

The star is Eduardo Verastegui, a Mexican heartthrob as a performer in TV soap operas who now lives in Los Angeles. A devout Catholic, was tired of movies showing Latinos as disreputable and immoral so he decided to make a difference and take action. He has learned to speak English in three years well enough to play the lead role mostly in English (with subtitles over the Spanish).




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St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  


Rev. Frank Kalabat
 

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.

 

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
 
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.