Janson Media today announced the broadcast premiere of the new one-hour documentary film, Xavier: Missionary & Saint, on PBS stations nationwide. Narrated by Academy Award-winner Liam Neeson and filmed on location in the footsteps of the Jesuit missionary, Xavier features stunning scenery from Rome, Spain, Paris, India, China, and Japan as well as interviews with world-renowned historians and theologians. The film commemorates the 500th anniversary of the birth of the most successful missionary since St. Paul.
Xavier was produced by Jeremy Zipple and Jeff Johnson for Fourth Week Films and the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus. The film was written by Johnson, directed by Zipple, and edited by Justin Ulbrich. The music was composed by Anthony Francis Rosado, and the role of Francis Xavier is played by Ron Garcia. “While there is some good historical scholarship on Xavier, there are not a lot of background stories,” said Johnson. “We’re trying to tell them.” The experience of making the film and of hearing stories of Xavier from Jesuits around the world “was a grace-filled part of the experience,” said Zipple. “I really felt his presence in a profound way.”
“This is the story of a missionary who died alone on a desolate island within sight of the land of his life’s dream,” says Liam Neeson in the film’s introduction. “He was unaware that he had forever changed the face and the race of Christianity.”
The production of Xavier was financed by the New York, Chicago, Maryland, and California Provinces of the Society of Jesus, as well as the Jesuit Conference and private donors. More information is available at the film’s official website. The documentary is distributed exclusively by New Jersey-based Janson Media for all media worldwide. The Xavier: Missionary & Saint DVD, released by Janson Media in December 2006, includes such special features as an interview with Avery Cardinal Dulles S.J., the film’s original trailer, a Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery, and The Making of… Xavier featurette. The documentary itself was filmed in widescreen, 16:9 format.