2018 has been a big year for faith-based films, and one that’s coming to South African screens just in time for Christmas is ‘The Healer’. Screenwriter, director and producer of ‘The Healer’, Paco Arango, is donating all of the film’s revenue to help children with cancer all over the world.
In South Africa, the proceeds will be donated to the Childhood Cancer Foundation (CHOC), the only organisation in the country that provides comprehensive nationwide support for children with cancer, and their families.
Less explicitly Christian and more spiritual, ‘The Healer’ is a drama-comedy film in which a troubled young man discovers that he has a mysterious and unwanted ability to heal people. He meets a teenage girl with cancer who convinces him to embrace his gift.
Th film has already been a major hit in Spain, Mexico, Central America, and Colombia, and it won the 2018 José María Forqué Award for Values and Education (Educación en Valores) in film.
“The film has a mix of everything and embraces positive messages and traditional values,” says Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “It captures hearts and looks at how moments of doubt can be turned into a testimony of faith. And the film achieves this with a cheerful, light-hearted and charming touch. That’s what makes ‘The Healer’ entertaining and enlightening for all viewers.”
‘The Healer’ tells the story of a gambling, womanising, bankrupt electrical repairman named Alex Bailey (Oliver Jackson Cohen) who is traumatized by the death of his twin brother. His distant uncle Raymond Heacock (Jonathan Pryce) offers to absolve his debts under the condition that he agrees to live with him in Halifax, Nova Scotia. With no alternatives, Alec accepts and embarks on a life-changing journey as his uncle reveals that he comes from a long-time family of healers with the gift of being able to heal all those who are diseased. Trying to understand this gift and the new reality that it offers Alec meets Cecilia (Camilla Luddington), a beauty and local veterinarian, and a teenage girl Abigail (Kaitlyn Bernard) with terminal cancer who unexpectedly show him the way.
‘The Healer’ is the first film to donate proceeds to children with serious illnesses. According to Mayenzeke Baza, head of sales at film sales company AAA Entertainment, the film tells a wholesome story in the tradition of Christian dramas like ‘God’s Not Dead’ and ‘Facing the Giants’, both of which were hits at the box office.
“Audiences are demanding interesting and well-made depictions of real-life stories and struggles. ‘The Healer’ reinforces the message that no matter how dark the circumstances, values like love, kindness and goodness can get people through even the worst of times,” Baza adds.
“It’s a heart-warming film for the whole family with a positive and hopeful message,” says Kuun. “The story is authentic, thought-provoking and inspiring. It strikes just the right note during the season of giving.”
The film is dedicated to Paul Newman, the legendary actor and philanthropist, who three decades ago started a free camp for kids with cancer.
Today, there are 30 ‘Serious Fun’ camps and programmes serving the needs of children and families around the world. Arango has been a member of Serious Fun’s board for more than nine years and, with this movie, aims to raise funds and awareness for children with cancer all over the world.
‘The Healer’ opens nationwide on Friday, 7 December.
Indigenous Film Distribution: www.indigenousfilm.co.za