Film shows what it means to follow a ‘calling’

by Lucas Thayer

What would cause three people — three comfortable, content, sane people — to leave everything they know? To move from the safety of their homes and into poverty stricken squalor?

“The Calling” is a film that tells the story of three individuals of the Catholic Church who made a leap of faith, uprooting from their Tampa, Florida parish to start a mission on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Against the backdrop of poverty and suffering, the film captures their pilgrimage into a foreign landscape, and their personal journey to find meaning in God’s purpose.

David Ranghelli, the film’s director, worked in the film industry for many years, producing and filming projects for others. He said his fascination with the Catholic faith inspired him to producefa his own documentary.

Acting as camera-man, sound technician, and director, Ranghelli worked as a one-man film crew, following the mission from Florida to Peru. After facing countless rejection letters trying to get production for his film off the ground, Ranghelli’s resolve was often tested. His work on the film spanned seven years, traveling back and forth from Peru to America. When he couldn’t find the initial funding for the project, Ranghelli used his own savings to get the project going.

“Films about religion aren’t something that’s very high on the list of a lot of the mainline documentary producers or philanthropers,” Ranghelli said. “There were nights I would lay awake in my bed at 3 a.m., just wondering what I had gotten myself into.”

As Ranghelli said, film production is a competitive field with limited resources, and many different people fighting for the same grants. In the end, Ranghelli found a production studio to finance his work. While Ranghelli had faith in the success of his film, even he could not have fathomed how successful it would be.

Since its first screening in 2009, the film has been featured at 16 film festivals, earning four awards, and has been screened at 20 different academic institutions — Whitworth University as the latest addition to the list. While pleased with the film’s success, Ranghelli attributes his greatest success to the number of people the “The Calling” has touched.

“The truly rewarding thing for me has been that such a broad audience has come to this piece, and has found value in it on some level,” Ranghelli said.

Whitworth’s presentation of “The Calling” is part of the sixth annual Faith, Film and Philosophy series, a joint effort between the Weyerhauser Center for Faith and Learning, and the Gonzaga University Faith & Reason Institute. “The Tree of Life,” the first presentation of the four-part series, was shown last Wednesday at the Magic Lantern Theatre, and was followed by a brief discussion.

The two films will be the subject of two guest lectures to be held at Gonzaga University. Guest lecturers include Dr. Peter Candler, associate professor of theology at Baylor University, and Dr. John McAteer, assistant professor of philosophy at Houston Baptist University.

“The Calling” will be presented in the Robinson Theater of Weyerhauser Hall, at 8 p.m., and will be followed by a question and answer session with David Ranghelli.

Faith, Film and Philosophy Events:

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 8 p.m.
Film: The Calling
Weyerhaeuser Hall, Robinson Theater
Whitworth University

Thursday, Oct. 4, 7 p.m.
Lecture by Dr. Peter Candler
Title: “American Pastoral: Natural Grace in the World of Terrence Malick”
Wolff Auditorium, Room 114
Jepson School of Business, Gonzaga University

Friday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m.
Lecture by Dr. John McAteer
Title: “The Problem of the Father’s Love in The Tree of Life and the Book of Job”
Wolff Auditorium, Room 114
Jepson School of Business, Gonzaga University

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