Two faith-themed films with Oklahoma ties will be featured at the deadCenter Film Festival in Oklahoma City.
“Sewing Hope,” which tells the true story of Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, of Uganda, will be shown at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. “Light From the Darkroom,” a fictional story written by Kathleen Rooney, of Tulsa, will be shown at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
‘Light From the Darkroom’
The film written by Rooney is directed by Lance McDaniel, executive director of the deadCenter Film Festival.
McDaniel said Rooney contacted him through deadCenter’s board Chairman Xavier Neira because she wanted to make the movie in Oklahoma so she could support the growing film industry in the state.
“We worked hard to hire an almost exclusively Oklahoma crew to bring her wonderful story to life,” he said. “‘Light From the Darkroom’ was one of the most rewarding projects I have been a part of because we were all working together to create something uplifting and spiritual.”
In an interview from Washington, D.C., Rooney said she is thrilled to know that Oklahomans will get to see her film.
She said the film recently was shown at the John Paul II International Film Festival in Miami, Fla., but “this (deadCenter) is really the big one because it was made in Oklahoma and so much of the supporting cast is from Oklahoma.”
Rooney, who is Roman Catholic, said the idea for the film’s premise came to her when she was in Rome with her husband, Francis, when he served as ambassador to the Holy See from 2005 to 2008.
She said it centers on the threat to religious liberty, a big topic of conversation among people she and her husband visited with during his tenure as ambassador. The film examines the role of faith beliefs held by different characters and is set in Panama and China. As part of the story, evidence captured on a roll of film creates conflict between the movie’s characters, she said.
“It’s not only about a roll of film and what is on it but the light of faith and the light of truth which can not be hidden in the life of the characters,” Rooney said.
Oklahoma City attorney Reggie Whitten said he is excited to share “Sewing Hope” with Oklahomans because it chronicles the life and ministry of Nyirumbe, whom he considers a close friend. Whitten co-wrote the book “Sewing Hope” and produced the documentary of the same name, collaborating with the film’s director Derek Watson, an Oklahoma native. The documentary is narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker.
Nyirumbe, a Catholic nun, is the director of St. Monica’s Girls’ Tailoring Center in Gulu and Atiak, Uganda, and Torit, South Sudan. The school is a refuge for women, many of whom were kidnapped and used as sex slaves by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
Nyirumbe works closely with Whitten’s Oklahoma City-based nonprofit Pros for Africa and its Sisters United, which was started by Whitten’s wife, Rachelle.
“Our movie, ‘Sewing Hope,’ and the book of the same name, has been a true labor of love for several years now,” Reggie Whitten said. “We have been honored to show it in some great film festivals around the country and the world, but we are most happy about showing it in our favorite venue, our home state and the deadCenter Film Festival.”
He said telling Nyirumbe’s “amazing true life story” has been “our honor.” Nyirumbe was named a CNN Hero in 2007 and recently was included in Time Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People” in the world.
AT A GLANCE