Don Bosco International Film Festival

DB Film 2k4

KOLKATA (C.M. Paul) – Multicity project in preparation for DB bicentenary 2012-2015.


At the start of the triduum prep for Don Bosco’s birth bi-centenary it is my humble suggestion to reach the masses with the message of Don Bosco.

The idea is to organize a “Don Bosco International Film Festival” in  Rome and then to have it travel to every city of the world where the Salesians work.

DB film 1936 (Italy)


As far as I know no saint in the Catholic church has had an international film festival dedicated to his or her name, other than Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Made in 1988

MTIFF 2003 (Mother Teresa International Film Festival) was an idea I had mooted for her beatification in Calcutta as a massive effort to spread MT’s message to the masses…

It was held in two of the biggest cinema halls of Calcutta for four days with 10 films on Mother Teresa…. absolutely FREE.

In 2007 (marking 10th year of MT’s death) we had the second MTIFF with more films.

In 2010 (marking MT’s birth centenary) we had third MTIFF sponsored by the West Bengal State Film Centre in Calcutta- for four days in all their four theatre halls.  The Marxist govt sponsored the festival…. absolutely FREE…

Johnny 1992 (India)

We had 19 films on MT. Incidentally, I was director of first two MTIFFs and was closely associated with the third MTIFF, particularly in procuring the films from nine countries.

MTIFF 2010 went to 19 countries in Asia and some 50 cities in India, under the aegis of SIGNIS-Bengal.

DBIFF Proposal

I propose to have Don Bosco International Film Festival (DBIFF) to launch the bi-centenary prep in August 2012 in Rome or elsewhere… and then have it travel all over the world… giving opportunity to SDBs to promote DB’s ideals to the masses…

We can call for feature and documentary films on Don Bosco of international quality…

BOSCO 1996 (India)

Starting with rare films from the Vatican CTV film archives on DB’s canonization we could easily put together at least one historical documentary and FIVE feature films on DB… (1936 film – Italy, 1988 film – Italy, 1992 film Johnny – India, 1996 film Bosco – India, 2004 film – Italy).  There may be more DB films from other countries too…

I am sure SDB Social Communications, Youth Ministry and Mission Department could make it as a major venture with better ideas… with support also from respective national offices.



Filed under Don Bosco, Film Festival

13 responses to “Don Bosco International Film Festival

  1. Nice reading your idea of Don Bosco International Film Festival
    Mind you the name is already registered LOL
    (We are having a film fest under the same name for two years now. with the logo of the current year………..(just a mention, not an obstacle to your venture)

    My best wishes and support

    Film Festivals are not that simple, from my limited experience it is hard organizing one. Even the much talked about Goa Film Festival had no takers (audience). Theatres were empty most of the time

    If you had the theatres in Calcutta packed
    Hats off to you

    Jiji Kalavanal sdb

    • Your festival logo is “DON BOSCO FILM FESTIVAL”.
      What I am proposing is “Don Bosco INTERNATIONAL Film Festival”
      Hence, DBIFF name and logo should have no problem.
      If there is still any problem, we can have it sorted out.
      As for getting crowds —- MTIFF 2010 which extended for one year and travelled to 19 Asian countries and some 50 cities in India had an overwhelming participation by enthusiastic fans EVERYWHERE. I am sure we can replicate the same for DB…

      • It is Don Bosco International Film Festival. Just a clarification. All the best for the Film Fest….awaiting more comments from other readers and the progress it make in the coming days……..

  2. Fr Pat Egan

    Good idea, Paul. We are only starting to get our ideas together here in the Province, but I can put the idea to Michael Casey our Provincial, as he intends calling a team together this month as we are also due to have the urn come to Ireland in 2013 as part of its worldwide pilgrimage. Keep me informed of any developments. Pat.

  3. I think you could pull off what you suggest. Several of the Salesian media centers around the world have film education components and should be able to make original contributions, to go along with the films that you’re already aware of.
    In case you never saw my review of SJB: MIssion to Love, I’m attaching that. Note that we’re no longer carrying it in our inventory; it’s still readily available from Ignatius.
    Also note that we’re not carrying the Castellani film in DVD any longer, either, our rights having expired and the province not wishing to renew them. We still have quite a few VHS copies in inventory.
    We continue to sell Alessandrini’s film in DVD.
    Good luck!
    Yours in DB,
    Mike Mendl (SUE)

  4. M.A. Kannan

    Happy New Year!
    I got your idea of DBIFF. It is a good idea.
    The only doubt crossing my mind is – after the major show of the Relic Visit, should one of another grand scale follow immediately.
    What will be the assessment of others about us?
    And, of course, expenses! We may get some things free, or sponsored. But expenses we will have!
    But that is not for me to worry…
    Let us see what reaction it evokes.
    Thanks again for the brain wave.

    • The questions you raised are very valid.
      However, on all grounds, DBIFF will beat the DB relic tour flat
      for the following reasons:

      First of all, DBIFF is not at all promoting any
      “superstitious, pietistic or catholic activity” as the relic tour
      was accused of in many circles….

      Second, it is a cultural and popular event.

      Third, it will cost only a fraction of the expenses.
      (The selected films can be procured centrally
      and exhibition copies distributed to the provinces).
      In the MTIFF experience, we made monies even though
      all the shows were FREE….

      Fourth, an annual event to follow up the great relic trail is important.

      Fifth, it will encourage popular evangelization and catechesis,
      if done with certain amount of planning and preparation.

      Sixth, in places like India where we can’t preach Jesus Christ publically
      for fear of reaction from right wing fundamentalists…
      we can promote Don Bosco and Mother Teresa
      with great public collaboration and enthusiasm….

      Seventh, I can assure you, this DBFF idea will catch on like wild fire …

      Hope the above reasons will disarm the critics…
      and ignite the imagination of the lethargic and chicken hearted!

  5. Dear Paul,
    I was happy to get your mail.
    Oh, If only we could talk it over here at the UPS over coffee or a glug, glug…. 😉
    I like your idea – but would like to broaden it a bit.
    Perhaps we have focused on Don Bosco sufficiently with the visit of the urn, and another similar venture around the world may seem exatravagant, if not exaggerated.
    Taking a cue from your idea, why not plan a DB Film Fest on issues of ‘youth marginalisation’.or ‘education’?
    Dossiers that raise awareness and make audiences think can be prepared for the visiting public – with contact addresses of NGOs that provide solutions, or with cineforums for discussion.
    It could be organized at national level or even provincial level. Salesians in any country can put together a set of 25 films on any of the two themes most pertinent to their situation.
    In this way we’d be promoting what DB represents to the world rather than DB himself….and I’m sure he’d be happier.
    With your valuable experience, I guess, you’d know better if this would work or not.
    Still, thanks for inviting me to this forum.
    and a Happy New Year to you too!
    Peter G.

    • Great Idea. Totally agree with Fr PG. Was also thinking in the same way. This film festival will be very much loved by Don Bosco Himself. We could also do something similar to World In a Day. A collection of HD footage about youth (not necessarily based on any issue) my be 1-2 mts from all over the world, collected and edited into a single film…?

  6. Fr Pat Egan

    i like Peter Gonsalves’s idea to focus on the issues, and not just DB himself.

  7. Shyamal Baran Roy

    Fr Paul,

    I think, the proposal for holding a DBIFF and expamding the Alumni base is a good idea.

  8. Just last month we were thinking of a short film festival on DB! Seems to me that we are on the same wavelength! This is a good idea. I’ll sound this off to our confreres here in FIN.

    BTW, we have a number of alumni in the film industry… some are making names in the local and international scene. This reminds me of the director of Slumdog Millionaire. 🙂

    All the best! Happy Christmas!

  9. chris valentino

    Fr CMP… am happy to be invited to participate in this forum… Gr8 idea… made gr8ter with the discussions… Fr PGs idea very good… in complete agreement with him… but why 1 more when Fr JK is already doing marvellous work thru the DBIFF in Kochi… expand it a bit… involve the Indian / South Asian varied experiential productions… rope in Fr HP of DBICA… & other than the province level Film Fests (currently I guess only DBIFF & DBICA)… allow the DBIFF to become a National/Regional venture… & deliver “who we are” “what we do” “why we do what we do” “what those whom we influence(d) are doing” etc… The Kochi DBIFF (since it is already registered) can be an all-India/South Asia edition & jst as a Boscoree or other events… each province by rotation can host the different editions… so it doesn’t jst become a “Know Don Bosco – bcoz it’s his birth bicentenary” BUT a lived experience that translates annually or (if that’s too much to ask of ourselves) an event every 2 or 3 years… taking it further would be forums & occasions to involve students, the Salesian Family & of course network-partners… of course… LOCAL thinking… but it does have GLOBAL promise… & eventually as Fr CMP envisions… perhaps an event that may trigger a turn more than the ‘urn’ !!!

    PURE RAMBLINGS… from a mind that sways, blows… desiring to know & grow…

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