Country: United States
Director: Amy Berg
Topic: An expose on the systemic problems that protected former priest Oliver O’Grady, who has been called the most notorious pedophile in the modern Catholic Church.
Financing: Berg did the key interview, with O’Grady, on her own, using that “get” to interest six investors in backing the rest of the movie.
Budget: Less than $500,000
Shooting format: Mini-HD
Why it stands out: The O’Grady interview makes the movie. Delivered almost like a confession, O’Grady goes on the record about his indiscretions, which date back to 1973. Berg backs it up with the testimony of those he abused and depositions by Cardinal Roger Mahoney, who relocated the known sex offender to other parishes.
Memorable scene: Victim family members Bob and Maria Jyono describe how O’Grady would sometimes sleep over at their house. Their interview turns wrenching as Bob, who blames himself for his daughter’s longtime secrecy, explains how the experience destroyed his faith entirely.
Distribution status: Lionsgate acquired the film at the Los Angeles Film Festival, where it won the Target Documentary Award. It toured Toronto and other fests before opening theatrically Oct. 15. It’s made about $200,000 so far in limited release.
On the making of the film: “I was working as a journalist at CBS News and CNN. In all the stories I produced on this issue, I always tried to get one of the priests to talk to me,” says Berg, who courted O’Grady for five months by phone. “He agreed to go on camera with me the day he found out Mahoney had protested Cardinal (Bernard) Law (implicated in similar Boston-area cover-ups) presiding over Pope John Paul II’s funeral. He’s in hiding, these guys are climbing, and they were all in it together.”