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Festival Genius: MFF Premieres Alex Gibney’s New Film

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 by

The Milwaukee Film Festival, presented by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, announced the complete 2012 line-up, including Opening and Closing night films, Spotlight presentations, the Competition program, and the U.S. premiere of Alex Gibney’s new film, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.

Bookending the Film Festival this year are two acclaimed festival circuit favorites: Canadian director Ken Scott’s hilarious coming-of-age tale Starbuck (currently being remade as a Vince Vaughn vehicle by Dreamworks), and Ben Lewin’s Sundance Award-winning The Sessions,featuring memorable performances from Oscar-nominee John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone), Oscar-winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets) and the incomparable William H. Macy.

Highlighted in the festival Centerpiece slot is a special tribute to Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), which includes the U.S. premiere of Gibney’s latest film, the HBO Documentary, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, exposes the abuse of power in the Catholic Church and a cover-up that winds its way from our hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, through the bare, ruined choirs of Ireland’s churches, all the way to the highest offices of the Vatican. This vital documentary places a focal point on the secret crimes of a charismatic priest who abused over 200 deaf children at St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, WI, and all the protests and revelations that it inspired in the three decades since. Gibney’s film is based on information gathered from a number of sources, including retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland, The New York Times investigative journalist Laurie Goldstein, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel archives, and interviews with the actual victims from St. John’s.

“Many of the people in Milwaukee have been affected by the scandal at St. John’s School,” states director Alex Gibney. “It is an honor to be able to screen the film at the Milwaukee Film Festival and help give a voice to those who have been fighting for justice for years and are determined to continue the fight.”

“I believe Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God is going to be an important film to the Milwaukee community, not only because of the film’s local ties, but also because of the impact the film is going to have on a global level,” explains Jonathan Jackson, Artistic & Executive Director for Milwaukee Film. “This is an incredibly significant film, made by one of the most important documentary filmmakers (and a personal favorite) working today.”

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God will premiere on Friday, October 5 at 7:00 PM at the Oriental Theatre. Director Alex Gibney, along with several of the subjects of the film, is scheduled to attend the premiere and participate in a Q & A afterwards. The film will air on HBO in 2013.

In addition the Centerpiece screening, the Tribute: Alex Gibney program features a screening of his Oscar Winning 2007 documentary Taxi to the Dark Side and a screening of a film that inspired his style and career, Luis Bunuel’s Oscar winning 1972 satire The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. Gibney is scheduled to talk at both screenings.


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