“The Letter” is a new documentary by filmmaker Nicolas Brown, about Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’. It was produced by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Laudato Si’ Movement, together with other institutions.
At the documentary film premiere at the Vatican on Tuesday, 4 October, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin spoke of the “need to promote and encourage international cooperation now more than ever, particularly at a time when multilateralism is in jeopardy and issues like climate change and the promotion of integral ecology risk being overshadowed by our inability to seek authentic dialogue and consensus”.
The Cardinal described “this thought-provoking documentary” as “yet another important fruit arising from Laudato Si’, which was published on 24 May, 2015, and which has inspired many initiatives, “proposals and programs, full of courage and hope, that now seek that change so strongly desired” to counteract the “dark, foreboding shadows that surround us”. The Cardinal affirmed that it’s projects like these “that help us make this demanding but also stimulating culture of care for our common home, into a concrete reality”.
Earlier, at a press conference held at the Vatican to present the film, Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, explained that “the great treasure of Laudato Si’s wisdom needs to become far more deeply known and effectively put into practice”. That’s why, he explained “the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development gladly agreed to collaborate with filmmaker Nicolas Brown and his team at Off The Fence Productions” to produce this documentary on the encyclical’s messages.
The Cardinal explained the importance of the documentary’s title: The Letter. First, he explained, Laudato Si’ is an encyclical letter, that is, “a letter of a Pope that circulates amongst the people, traditionally passed from church to church”. Second, the title “highlights the key concept of dialogue”, he explained. “Dialogue is central to the Holy Father’s vision for humanity’s peace with the Creator, with all creation, and among us humans. For this dialogue to be authentic, all voices should be heard. But voices from the peripheries are usually ignored in global summits and environmental decision-making, typically dominated by powerful corporate interests. In the peripheries, the voices of youth, the poor, Indigenous peoples, and even wildlife usually languish out of sight and unheard”. This is why “remarkable leaders who can speak for these neglected voices were invited, first in conversation with Pope Francis in Rome, and then sharing their stories via this film”.
The documentary reminds viewers that “we need a conversation that includes all stakeholders”, because “the world needs inclusive encounters between people from different ‘rooms’ of our common home, to learn from each other and develop real solutions to the pressing challenges”.
“The Letter”, concluded the Cardinal, is “a heartbreaking yet hopeful story”, and “a clarion cry to people everywhere: Wake up! Get serious! Meet! Act together! Act now!”. The documentary film can be streamed for free on the YouTube Originals Channel.