New Line Cinema's The Nativity Story will become the first feature film ever to premiere at the Vatican, it was jointly announced by New Line's President and COO of Worldwide Distribution and Marketing Rolf Mittweg, and Stefano Dammicco, CEO of Eagle Pictures, the film's Italian distributor. The Nativity Story is scheduled for a Dec. 1, 2006 release in the U.S., and will open in territories worldwide throughout the month of December.
The premiere, to be held at the Vatican's Aulo Paolo VI (Pope Paul VI Hall), will be attended by The Nativity Story's director Catherine Hardwicke, actors Shohreh Aghdashloo and Oscar Isaac, producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, screenwriter Mike Rich, and 7,000 invited guests of the Vatican. The event will serve as a benefit, with contributions going toward construction of a school in the village of Mughar, Israel which has a diverse population of Christians, Muslims, and Druze and is located approximately 40 kilometers from Nazareth.
We are very proud of The Nativity Story and extremely grateful that the Vatican has embraced the film in this way, says Mittweg. We believe it is the perfect venue to present the film's universal message of hope and faith, a message we are sure will resonate around the world.
The Nativity Story is an extraordinary event, and this premiere is a fitting way to reach out to our community and share the experience, says Dammicco. It is a privilege for Eagle Pictures to be New Line's Italian partner on the film.
The event has been made possible due to the collaboration of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, the Vatican Film Library, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum (for Human and Christian Development), the Vicariate of Vatican City State, and the Foundation for Sacred Art and Music.
The Nativity Story chronicles the arduous journey of two people, Mary and Joseph, a miraculous pregnancy, and the history-defining birth of Jesus. This dramatic and compelling story comes to life in a major motion picture starring Academy Award nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) as Mary, Oscar Isaac (upcoming Guerrilla) as Joseph, and Academy Award nominee Shoreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog) as Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. The Nativity Story is directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown) from a screenplay by Mike Rich (The Rookie, Finding Forrester).