Mel Gibson Aiming to Finish "The Passion" by New Year

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 2, 2003 ( The cardinals, bishops and theologians who had hoped to see Mel Gibson’s film on Jesus’ last hours on earth will still have to wait.

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Participants in the 7th Congress on the Church and the Cinema, organized by the pontifical councils for culture and for social communications, had hoped to see a closed-door projection of the film today.

However, in a message signed by Nick Hill of Icon Entertainment, the production company, announced that the picture could not be shown as «the film is not yet finished.»

«Mel Gibson is working to complete the film to be ready for screening in the New Year,» Hill said. «At this time, we would prefer to wait and screen a completed film being as it is only weeks away from being finished.»

The news was announced by Entertainment Entity, a publicly funded Italian institution that organized the «Tertio Millennio» Festival.

Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said that he had not taken part in the talks on the preparation of the screening, which were held with the film’s distributor in Italy, according to Entertainment Entity.

«The Passion of the Christ,» which will make its premiere on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, was recorded in Matera, Italy, and in the studios of Cinecittà in Rome. See

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