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ROME — Murdoch-owned Sky paybox and the Vatican TV Centre unveiled “St Peter’s and the Papal Basilicas of Rome 3D” Tuesday evening at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, prior to the high-profile docu’s release in movie theatres worldwide and its subsequent airing on Sky in Italy, the UK and Germany.

Sky Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch made the trek for the screening of a 30-minute excerpt in the Sala Regia, preceded by cocktails and followed by a dinner in the palace, which is the Pope’s official residence. Also on hand were Vatican TV Center topper Dario Edoardo Viganò, Sky Italy’s chief executive Andrea Zappia, its head of content Andrea Scrosati, Vatican Museums director Antonio Paolucci, and Nicola Borrelli,  chief of the Italian culture ministry’s film department.

“Thanks to today’s advanced technologies we were able to get surprising images with exclusive and unprecedented vantage points,” enthused Viganò, introducing the potent 90-minute pic. These include Michelangelo’s Pietà statue filmed from beyond the shrine, and lots of helicopter shots, including the top of St. Peter’s Dome, also by Michelangelo, from close up.

Viganò, a big film buff, is also head of the Vatican Secretariat for Communications.

Zappia underlined how Sky’s collaboration with the Vatican “is allowing us to bring to TV and big screens around the world the beauty, the holiness, and the marvel that our country can express.” He also boasted that their previous collaboration on docu “Vatican Museums 3D” “is today the most seen art movie in theatres around the world.”

The innovative business model behind these event docus will see the “St Peter’s” doc – just like Sky’s “Vatican Museums 3D” and “Uffizi 3D” before it – beamed digitally by Italy’s Nexo Digital into 250 Italian movie theatres April 11-13, prior to a “world tour” in more that 50 countries around the globe starting in May. Territories include Mexico, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Central America, Canada, Australia, U.K. and Ireland, the U.S., Scandinavia, Spain, the Netherlands, Eastern Europe, Russia, and Hong Kong.

“St Peter’s and the Papal Basilicas of Rome 3D”  is the first Sky production to be considered a film of cultural interest by Italy’s Ministry of Culture, which makes it eligible for incentives.