Anti-slavery film likely to shown here

Published Challenge Weekly, 2007. The pending release of a movie garnering Christian support in Australia is gathering interest in New Zealand.

Rialto Distributors have confirmed that they will be distributing Amazing Grace (2006) in New Zealand. General Manager Mike Vile says they have a tentative release date at the end of July, but that is subject to change.

“We are a long way off determining screens yet but be assured that it will be played nationally,” Mr Vile said.

Amazing Grace is about how slavery was abolished 200 years ago featuring anti-slavery campaigners William Wilberforce. An act of parliament in all British colonies was passed which outlawed the practice.

Pastor Peter Rhame, of the Inner West Baptist Church at Homebush in Sydney, says in an email that Amazing Grace is a timely evangelistic tool because of the song’s lyrics and the strong link the writer, a former slave trader, had with the anti-slavery movement.

“John Newton’s controversial book, Thoughts on the African Slave Trade, helped to equip and highly empowered his newfound disciple, William Wilberforce,” Mr Rhame said.

Max Palmer, of Life Resources, says he would certainly promote cinema bookings in New Zealand. The group had done this with a movie about Mother Teresa.

Life Resources and Condios, who worked together releasing Christian films, would be looking to manage and promote cinema bookings in association with churches across the nation.

Mr Palmer said he will ask Mr Rahme for use of his Amazing Grace literature and evangelistic materials.  Mr. Rahme offers include a gospel tract The Man and the Story Behind Amazing Grace and an 80-page book.

William Wilberforce is played by Welsh-actor Ioan Gruffudd (King Arthur, Fantastic Four), John Newton by Albert Finney, Lord Charles Fox by Michael Gambon, and Thomas Clarkson by Rufus Sewell (The Legend of Zorro, Tristan + Isolde).

The director, Michael Apted, is a veteran of television and film.

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