SUBSCRIBER EXCLUSIVE: Catholic lives dream of making movies, pleased Christian films part of it

July 29, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.
SUBSCRIBER EXCLUSIVE: Catholic lives dream of making movies, pleased Christian films part of it
SUBSCRIBER EXCLUSIVE: Catholic lives dream of making movies, pleased Christian films part of it


By Laura Ieraci | Catholic News Service

HOMER GLEN, Ill. -- When Katie Reidy decided it was time to follow her childhood dream and pursue a career in film, she never had Christian filmmaking in mind.

But somehow, said Reidy, no matter where she has sent her resume these past seven years, "I still end up at a Catholic film company, which is a great thing!"

Reidy was working at a crisis pregnancy center and attending Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Parish in Homer Glen, when she decided to pull up stakes in 2011, move to Los Angeles, and try her hand in the film industry.

Her desire to pursue film was "so strong" the she reached out to a long-lost friend working in Los Angeles.

"He gave me a couple of recommendations for film workshops. I applied to one," she said. "I thought to myself, 'If I am meant to work in film, then a job will pop up and I will know it's what I'm supposed to do.'"

Before completing her program, she was on a film shoot in Mexico for her first feature film, called "Little Boy" (2015), by Metanoia Films, the Catholic film company that produced "Bella" (2006).

After this project, she continued to receive steady work as a freelancer, but admitted she turned down several projects that would have landed her with "very reputable companies or filmmakers."

"The story or parts of the script were completely out of line with my values and everything I have stood for in life that I had to say no," she told Horizons, newspaper of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, Ohio. The eparchy covers almost a dozen states, including Illinois.

"The value of working on Catholic or Christian-themed films is that you know the intentions of the filmmakers will be morally sound, you won't harm your audience in any way, and you can tell incredible stories that need to be told, that secular filmmakers wouldn't touch," she said.

Soon after moving back to the Chicago area in 2017, Reidy found work as the director of operations for ODB films, founded by Eric Groth, a Catholic, who is a producer on "Paul, Apostle of Christ," released in theaters March 23.

"Working on 'Paul, Apostle of Christ' has truly been a gift," she said.

Reidy was the U.S. production coordinator on the project, since its inception last spring.

"The film set (in Malta) was energetic," said Reidy. "Morale was high, people were in good spirits and extremely hard-working.

"I had cast and crew coming up to me and saying that they never been on a set like this, where it seemed like there was no hierarchy, no favoritism, and they were being greeted by the producers and executives. Actors expressed that they felt free to act, they didn't feel like they were going to be micro-managed. There was a freedom and respect that they had never experienced before," she said.

The film also impacted Reidy's faith life, opening her up more to the Bible.

"I can't believe how little I knew about Paul," she said. "I listen to his readings in church all the time, of course, but I'm not sure I really understood who he was or why he wrote the letters. My interest in him has grown exponentially, which in turn, is helping me to understand the Early Church and my faith on a deeper level," she said.

"Paul, Apostle of Christ" is the biggest film Reidy has worked on to date, but what makes her proudest is that it tells the story of "one of the most influential people in the church in a beautiful and respectful way that I think would make St. Paul proud ... that I believe can reach people who don't know Paul, who don't have faith, or who don't know Christ yet," she said.

"If we can awaken someone's faith or move someone to know Christ through this film, then there is no greater gift we could ask for," she said.

While Reidy noted the "power of film" at a pre-release screening she organized for the Byzantine Catholic church at Annunciation Parish, she also noted the challenges of making Christian films, which can sometimes seem preachy or moralistic.

"The challenge is making sure you create a good story first and let the message come through that good story, not wrap the story around a message you want to 'push' onto the audience," she said.

"I know God is guiding all of this," she said reflecting on her seven-year trajectory.

"He puts me with the right people all the time, so I know I'll end up on something good, and I couldn't be happier working on the projects I have worked on," she said.

Reidy also worked on the documentary "The Dating Project," released in theaters nationwide for one night only April 17.

Ieraci is editor of Horizons, newspaper of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, Ohio.

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By Laura Ieraci | Catholic News Service

HOMER GLEN, Ill. -- When Katie Reidy decided it was time to follow her childhood dream and pursue a career in film, she never had Christian filmmaking in mind.

But somehow, said Reidy, no matter where she has sent her resume these past seven years, "I still end up at a Catholic film company, which is a great thing!"

Reidy was working at a crisis pregnancy center and attending Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Parish in Homer Glen, when she decided to pull up stakes in 2011, move to Los Angeles, and try her hand in the film industry.

Her desire to pursue film was "so strong" the she reached out to a long-lost friend working in Los Angeles.

"He gave me a couple of recommendations for film workshops. I applied to one," she said. "I thought to myself, 'If I am meant to work in film, then a job will pop up and I will know it's what I'm supposed to do.'"

Before completing her program, she was on a film shoot in Mexico for her first feature film, called "Little Boy" (2015), by Metanoia Films, the Catholic film company that produced "Bella" (2006).

After this project, she continued to receive steady work as a freelancer, but admitted she turned down several projects that would have landed her with "very reputable companies or filmmakers."

"The story or parts of the script were completely out of line with my values and everything I have stood for in life that I had to say no," she told Horizons, newspaper of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, Ohio. The eparchy covers almost a dozen states, including Illinois.

"The value of working on Catholic or Christian-themed films is that you know the intentions of the filmmakers will be morally sound, you won't harm your audience in any way, and you can tell incredible stories that need to be told, that secular filmmakers wouldn't touch," she said.

Soon after moving back to the Chicago area in 2017, Reidy found work as the director of operations for ODB films, founded by Eric Groth, a Catholic, who is a producer on "Paul, Apostle of Christ," released in theaters March 23.

"Working on 'Paul, Apostle of Christ' has truly been a gift," she said.

Reidy was the U.S. production coordinator on the project, since its inception last spring.

"The film set (in Malta) was energetic," said Reidy. "Morale was high, people were in good spirits and extremely hard-working.

"I had cast and crew coming up to me and saying that they never been on a set like this, where it seemed like there was no hierarchy, no favoritism, and they were being greeted by the producers and executives. Actors expressed that they felt free to act, they didn't feel like they were going to be micro-managed. There was a freedom and respect that they had never experienced before," she said.

The film also impacted Reidy's faith life, opening her up more to the Bible.

"I can't believe how little I knew about Paul," she said. "I listen to his readings in church all the time, of course, but I'm not sure I really understood who he was or why he wrote the letters. My interest in him has grown exponentially, which in turn, is helping me to understand the Early Church and my faith on a deeper level," she said.

"Paul, Apostle of Christ" is the biggest film Reidy has worked on to date, but what makes her proudest is that it tells the story of "one of the most influential people in the church in a beautiful and respectful way that I think would make St. Paul proud ... that I believe can reach people who don't know Paul, who don't have faith, or who don't know Christ yet," she said.

"If we can awaken someone's faith or move someone to know Christ through this film, then there is no greater gift we could ask for," she said.

While Reidy noted the "power of film" at a pre-release screening she organized for the Byzantine Catholic church at Annunciation Parish, she also noted the challenges of making Christian films, which can sometimes seem preachy or moralistic.

"The challenge is making sure you create a good story first and let the message come through that good story, not wrap the story around a message you want to 'push' onto the audience," she said.

"I know God is guiding all of this," she said reflecting on her seven-year trajectory.

"He puts me with the right people all the time, so I know I'll end up on something good, and I couldn't be happier working on the projects I have worked on," she said.

Reidy also worked on the documentary "The Dating Project," released in theaters nationwide for one night only April 17.

Ieraci is editor of Horizons, newspaper of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, Ohio.

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