The John Paul II International Film Festival Announces the Winners of Its 2011 Edition, "The Mystery of Love"

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Director Chad Ahrendt’s drama, "Reconciliation", takes home the festival’s most prestigious honor, The People’s Festival Award

Reconciliation, a story of an estranged son reconciling with his gay father, won the 2011 John Paul II International Film Festival’s People’s Festival Award, considered the Festival’s most significant recognition since the audience votes and decides on the winner.

The film, written, produced and directed by Chad Ahrendt was nominated alongside the following films: "Out of the Darkness", "Nine Days that Changed the World", "The Power of Friendship", "Lourdes", "The Last Summit", "Oscar’s Cuba", "St. Bernadette of Lourdes", "Little Town of Bethlehem", "Life Happens", "Mississippi Queen", and "The Calling".

The next set of honors, The Reel Rose Awards in the categories of Short Film, Documentary, and Feature-Length, were presented to the films which “exceptionally provided provocative story-telling, high artistic technique, and truthful filmmaking,” said co-director and Film coordinator Frank Brennan. The winners are as follows:

Reel Rose Award for Best Feature-Length Film: "Lourdes", a French film by director Jessica Hausner, which tells the story of the pilgrimage to Lourdes. Among the pilgrims are sufferers of various illnesses as well as others in good health. They undertake the journey hoping to find spiritual comfort or bodily cure.

Reel Rose Award for Best Documentary Film: "Little Town of Bethlehem", The inspiring story of three men: a Palestinian Christian, a Palestinian Muslim, and an Israeli Jew, who grew up in the Holy Land amidst perpetual war and constant conflict. Expected to be enemies, they instead find the commonality that binds everyone together, regardless of beliefs, in a quest for peace. Directed by Jim Hannon

Reel Rose Award for Best Short-Length Film: The winner of the Best Short Film category was a surprising tie between new-comer Christina Santa Cruz’s poignant film "March 31st" and the shocking yet mesmerizing documentary "The Labyrinth", the haunting story of Marian KoBodziej’s experience in Auschwitz as told through his paintings.

“The Mystery of Love” Award, which is presented to the film that best personified the festival’s 2011 theme, was awarded to Sean Finnegan’s documentary, "Out of the Darkness", which tells the story of Shelly Lubben, a woman who left the Adult Film Industry upon finding her human worth and the redemptive power of love through the Christian faith.

In attendance of the 2011 JP2IFF Closing Night Ceremony were the following filmmakers: Juan Manuel Cotelo, Director of The Last Summit; Chad Ahrendt, Director of Reconciliation; Jim Morlino, Director of St. Bernadette of Lourdes; Bill Oechsler, President of Ethnographic Media; Pablo Arriola, Director of the short film Sharing; Vince Haley, Field Producer of Nine Days That Changed the World; Jordan Allot, Director of Oscar’s Cuba; and Polish filmmaker Wanda Rozycka-Zborowska, Director of The Power of Friendship and 2009 winner of the festival’s Reel Rose Award for Best Documentary.

The Festival is organized annually by 7eventhDay Media, Inc, a tax exempt, non-for profit organization based in Miami, Florida, with the mission of nurturing faith-inspired filmmakers to create high quality productions that serve as witness to their faith.

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