NEW ORLEANS -- It was a premiere for one man and his family when California filmmaker Cynthia Capen came to town this weekend to show Father Tony Ricard the just-finished documentary that is titled simply 'Father Tony.'
'There are a lot of films out there where Catholic priests, their images are a bit blurred, or there are scandals,' said Capen, the 'Father Tony' executive producer, writer and director. 'It's just time to have a movie, or a documentary, or something out there in the media about a really good priest who does really good things.'
Capen shot 250 hours of film over six years, distilling it into a one-hour look at the man who is the priest and what guides Father Tony, from the months after Katrina, to being the New Orleans Saints Catholic Chaplain, to speaking across the United States and Canada 15-times a year to crowds of up to 25,000 people.
'He ignites your faith, he keeps it alive, he keeps you believing,' said Capen.
'My mom and dad are just blown away over the fact that someone had enough time to capture so much about my life, and to capture the essence of who I am and what I'm about,' said Father Tony.
The pastor of Our Lady Star Of The Sea Church was overwhelmed by the documentary, becoming uncharacteristically shy, which he hid with humor.
'The documentary to me is one of the most humbling, yet ego building moments, because all truth be told, I couldn't figure out why anyone would want a documentary about me. But since I think every home should have an Eight By Ten of me, it all works together here somehow,' said Father Tony, laughing.
'It shows the vocation of, you know, somebody that gets up every day, and truly enjoys what he does,' added Capen.
'I think the greatest message that could come out of the documentary is first, just how much fun it is to be a servant of God, and to be a Roman Catholic. I love being a part of this church,' said Father Tony.
Right now Cindy Capen is putting together plans for a premiere in New Orleans. But her goal is to have the documentary shown across America and Canada, in major part because she wants everyone to get to know Father Tony.
'The fact that I might be able to save one young person, and to help them realize just how precious they are in the eyes of God,' Father Tony said.
'I think we could all use faith and hope, and I think those should be his middle names, you know, Faith and Hope,' Capen said.