Friday, 29 August 2014

The Crusades

Three Templars - filmed at Kenilworth Castle, England
 The Crusades

New Documentary from EWTN to be shown in October

There has been so much discussion regarding the Crusades in recent years, much of it negative particularly on the main stream media, EWTN has decided to make its own documentary. The negativity towards the Crusades has come from many forms of the media, from lavish Hollywood films to documentaries made by major national broadcasters. That the majority of people now believe the crusades were a mistake at best or even the cause of the problems within Islam today – we believe these viewpoints are wrong.  We hope that we have made a documentary that may help people to understand them a little more and further the discussion. For example the word Crusade itself can have a morally possitive meaning, like a crusade of hospital lists or for safer roads etc.

The Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
the place of Jesus burial and resurrection
we had excellent access for filming
even being allowed inside the tomb itself.

            In the first episode we start by looking at the original call to take the cross which was give by Pope Urban II in 1095 at Clermont, France. We look into the reasons why that call was issued. One was that the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I had issued a plea to the Pope for help, as the Seljuk Turks had in the previous few years conquered his lands almost up to the walls of Constantinople. Another was that Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land were being attacked and robbed; some were even being killed. Also remember two thirds of the Christian world had been invaded: these were the Levant, North Africa, Asia Minor and even Iberia. So at some point Christendom had either to make a stand or be subsumed into Islam.

Filming in the Holy Land desert

            EWTN’s The Crusades was filmed in seven countries across Europe and the Holy Land. We managed to interview four leading Crusades historians who gave the historical background and we had a priest theologian who gave us the theological background. Together with filming at many crusading locations we filmed two different crusader re-enactment groups, one in England and the other in Slovakia. The documentary also includes at least eight dramatised sequences, from Pope Urban’s call to Crusade to St Francis meeting and trying to convert Sultan Al-Kamil. The series is in the final stages of post-production with the sound being mixed at this moment at Lux communication in Slovakia.

At Santiago de Compostela we met by chance a hermit friend of cameraman Michal Benko so we got him to play the Apostle St James. St James was a major influence on the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula

            Perhaps it will be surprising to many how many saints are mentioned in our documentary. I can think of at least 10, - or 810 if we count the martyrs of Otranto.

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