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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

'Apparition Hill' DVD: Fascinating Documentary on Ordinary Americans

Stella Mar Films goes beyond making an thought-provoking documentary available; it illustrates the unrealized potential for reality television regarding the July 2, 2017 DVD release of the 2016 movie "Apparition Hill." The concept of this festivals-winning film is that Stella Mar solicits video entries for a contest for a trip to the village of Medjugore in Bosnia-Herzegovina that is famous for the reported miracle of sightings of the Virgin Mary.

This is another case of the press materials for a film doing as well (or better) as your not-so-humble reviewer at describing the movie. Stella Mar shares that the winners of the aforementioned contest include "Alex, a college student and aspiring musician; Christopher, battling drug addiction; Ellie, brimming with faith; Robert, a Ugandan seminarian studying Rome." The proverbial "and the rest" come along.

The clips of the aforementioned entries evoke thoughts of the submissions for "American Idol" with the exception that these have genuine substance for a substantial purpose. Ones that stand out are the widower raising several kids by himself, the cop whose job prompts introspection, and the aforementioned drug user.

A very brief recap  history of the Medjugorje sightings begins with local children reporting seeing the Virgin Mary and having her speak to them in 1981. Since then, thousands of people report the same phenomenon, making the site a popular destination for people of faith, skeptics, and folks in between. The group in "Apparition" represent all factions of that population.

Much of the film focuses on the "boys," who hang out and joke together. They discuss their faith (or lack thereof) in an awesomely low-key manner of the non-zealot. A variation of a weeping statue particularly fascinates them.

Producer/director Sean Bloomfield and his crew do a good job conveying the beauty of the site, the faith of the pilgrims, and the bliss on the faces of those who obtain the vision that prompts their trip. The clips of poorly produced bible films add unintentional humor.

Aside from a "cast" of ordinary people who do not not force their views on others and who are receptive to opposing positions, the best thing about "Appparition" is that it gets viewers (such as your-not-so-humble agnostic reviewer) thinking about their own faith.

The exceptional special features begins with a disc full of bonus videos, "where are they now" features on the cast and crew, and a "behind-the-scenes" features.  The true star of the special features is a booklet that discusses the history of the site, behind-the-scenes tales of the "Apparition" group, and personal stories of the crew.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Apparition" is encouraged to email me; you also are welcome to connect on Twitter via@tvdvdguy.