By Zygmunt Gutowski
NIEPOKALANOW, Warsaw, Poland – An Indian priest was given the “Multimedia in the Service of the Gospel Award 2010” at the solemn Eucharistic celebration inaugurating the silver jubilee of the longest running International Catholic Film Festival at Niepokalanow, 27 May.
The first president of the festival Mr. Zygmunt Gutowski and the current president Ms Danuta Stachyra presented St Maxmillain Kolbe statuette with the inscription “Fr C.M. Paul, Multimedia in the Service of the Gospel” honorary prize of Julian Kluenty, Catholic Film association (CFA), Poland 2010.”
Calcutta province Salesian Fr. C. M. Paul is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Social Communications at the Salesian University, Rome.
Two prizes are offered in this category “for outstanding achievements both in Poland and abroad in the area of evangelization through multimedia.”
This is the seventh year of the award dedicated to Polish film director, cameraman, author of over 100 films, as well as president for the Warsaw Branch of Polish Association of Scientific Film, Julian Kulenty (1922 – 2000).
The first year overseas award went to film director Mel Gibson of the Passion of Christ fame. The second year award went to Mother Angelica of the EWTN, the third to Sr Angela Ann Zukowski president of Unda-World and founder director of the Centre for Religious Telecommunications, university of Dayton, Ohio.
“I am totally floored with this award,” says 56 year old Fr Paul in his brief presentation on receiving the award.
Besides being the last president of Unda/OCIC India, Fr Paul was also the first president of Signis-India and first priest to serve on Government of India’s Central Board of Film Certification.
The Niepokalanow festival is holding its 25th uninterrupted screening, May 27 to 30, some 45 km west of Warsaw, capital of Poland.
Last June, Fr Paul won Fr Horace Rosario SJ Journalism Award, Calcutta and in 2008 Fr John Barrett SJ Award for best SAR News reporter given by Indian Catholic Press Association, Bangalore.
The Niepokalanow (City of the Immaculate) film festival had its genesis in the heydays of “Solidarnosc” (Solidarity) the national resistance movement against the Polish Communist Regime, in 1985. A group of activists formed the Catholic Film Association of Poland as a cultural forum.
The festival started in the Franciscan (OFM Conv.) monastery at Niepokalanow, the national shrine of Mary Immaculate and the headquarters of the “Militia Immaculate” (Army of the Immaculate). Fr. Maxmilliam Kolbe founded the Franciscan monastery at Niepokalanow in 1927. After the fall of Communism, Poland had its first democratically elected government in 1989. The president of Poland, who recently died in airplane crash was patron of the festival along with the polish primate cardinal Josef Glemp.
Award ceremony video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZGBu7CZbBw