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RISEN executive producer: We took nothing but the cross we wore on our necks

2016-05-28


The executive producer for the movie RISEN, fled Iraq as a refugee with nothing but his faith. His experience and the coaxing from his parents led him to create this movie, RISEN, as an expression of his religious freedom and a tribute of respect to his parents. 

PETE SHILAIMON
Executive Producer, RISEN
"We let go of everything we had, whether it was a little money or our house. We took nothing but the cross that we wore on our necks. That was it. Prayer, that's what got us through.” 

Pete Shilaimon immigrated to the United States in the 70s, following the same route that so many refugees are currently taking; but he admits that his plight was not nearly as bad as other have it now.

Prayer was the only strength he had, but despite difficulties and death, he started to question the Chaldean Catholic faith his parents fought so hard to keep. RISEN, through the main character Clavius, addresses these questions and resognates with the doubting Thomas' throughout the world, including Pete himself.

PETE SHILAIMON
Executive Producer, RISEN
"I feel like I've been Clavius on that rock, having those one-on-ones with Christ and asking those questions, you know? I had a sister that died, my father passed away and there were so many "come to Jesus” moments where you just look up and ask those questions.” 

He says the making of this movie has brought him closer to his faith. He was able to meet Pope Francis in Rome with the film crew and now, he claims, he doesn't struggle with as much doubt.

Pete recognizes the message of hope the movie has imparted, not only on him, but on all those who have seen it. Through received Facebook messages and calls to his office, he says the impact has been one of hope, finding oneself, solidifying beliefs and the freedom to live again.

PETE SHILAIMON
Executive Producer, RISEN
"I knew that it would speak to people. I knew that the people that were maybe questioning their faith would get revitalized again. And I think people that maybe were kind of on the fence might, you know, take another look and see if they could find it again; see if they could find their faith again; see if they could see the light.”

This light was definitely present, not only to the audience viewers around the world, but even to this executive producer who had both his heart and faith affected by his own film. 


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