Papal Biography Being Made Into a TV Film

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 5, 2001 ( The papal biography «Witness to Hope» is headed to the TV screen.

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Catherine Wyler, the daughter of William Wyler, director of the epic film «Ben Hur,» is planning to make a two-hour TV film about the life of John Paul II based on George Weigel´s biography.

Judy Hallet, a director of documentaries, is working with Catherine Wyler to complete the project. Hallet said an hour-long documentary was initially planned, «but the material is too rich and we have decided it should last almost two hours.»

Hallet hopes the film will be finished this month. Her team did not have direct contact with the Pontiff, but they conducted about 20 hours of interviews with Weigel.

«Like Weigel´s book, the documentary is a profound exploration of the Pope´s Polish roots, especially what it means to be Polish and, in how being Polish enabled Wojtyla to be a different Pope from the others,» Hallet said.

The documentary portrays the life of Karol Wojtyla, from the time of the resistance against the Nazis, through the cultural resistance against Communism in the 1950s, and to the pontificate. «An analysis that goes from the interior to the exterior of the person, not the reverse,» Hallet emphasized.

The documentary «Witness to Hope» is a co-production between Italian and Polish public television, and produced in three languages: Italian, Polish and English. A broadcast date has not been announced.

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