Chicago filmmaker Lucia Mauro’s documentary, "I have a name", takes top honors at the International Vatican Film Festival in Rome ahead of December 9 online screening

Dec 01, 2020 1218

Chicago writer-director Lucia Mauro’s new documentary, I Have a Name – that puts a respectful face on homelessness through the programs of  The Chicago HELP Initiative – won Best Documentary at the 2020 Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival at the Vatican in Rome.

The prestigious film festival, under the High Patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture, centers on compassionate humanitarian films. The jury selected I Have a Name from close to 3,000 entries worldwide. This marks Mauro’s second Mirabile Dictu prize: She won Best Short Film in 2015. Trailer: 

The announcement comes ahead of a special online showing of I Have a Name on Wednesday, December 9 at 7 p.m. (CST), hosted by In My Brother’s Shoes, Inc. The one-hour documentary is co-produced by Jacqueline C. Hayes – founder & president emerita of The Chicago HELP Initiative (CHI) – and In My Brother’s Shoes, Inc., the non-profit film organization founded by Mauro and producer Joe Orlandino. The film gives voice to individuals experiencing homelessness and presents CHI’s all-encompassing programs that nourish the whole person.

Event includes opening remarks by Mauro, Hayes, members of the creative team and individuals featured in the documentary; film screening; post-show Q&A. Tickets are $25, with a portion of proceeds supporting CHI’s meal programs. Reserve tickets here: 

I Have a Name puts a face on homelessness through the sensitive work of CHI and its partners, who empower those in need through access to meals, health services, shelter, adult education, job training and the arts. Those who have experienced job loss, homelessness and other challenges tell their compelling stories. The documentary also takes a wider look at the many factors contributing to homelessness for individuals from all walks of life. And it addresses how CHI is adapting to a world changed by Covid-19.

In Spring 2019 during a screening of Mauro’s documentary, Frances Xavier Cabrini: The People’s Saint, she met Jacqueline C. Hayes who proposed they collaborate on a documentary. By Fall 2019, I Have a Name was in production in Chicago, with an Epilogue on Covid-19 shot in June 2020.

“I witnessed first hand how CHI and its partners assist those experiencing homelessness with extensive initiatives,” says Mauro. “But I was most struck by the dynamic communal environment of their meal program and how each guest is treated with dignity and humanity.”

This film puts the CHI guests front and center and thoughtfully presents their personal journeys, together with how they, the volunteers, CHI partnering organizations and other groups – Chicago Street Medicine; Harmony, Hope & Healing – lift each other up. I Have a Name is a testament to how compassion and commitment can lead to unity, acceptance and self-empowerment.

In addition to the film festival circuit, the producers plan to present I Have a Name to law schools, police departments and at housing conferences. During Covid-19, they will focus on virtual showings. CHI and In My Brother’s Shoes collaborated with Flightless Bird Creative and Heather Eidson Photography & Media LLC. Original instrumental music is composed by Enzo De Rosa, with live vocal music performed by Harmony, Hope & Healing – a CHI non-profit partner that assists those in need through the restorative power of music.

I Have a Name follows on the heels of Mauro’s 2020 short film, Voci del diario (Entries), which explores the life cycle through one man and his journal entries (shot in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains; in Italian with English subtitles). Her 2017 documentary, Frances Xavier Cabrini: The People’s Saint, honors the great Italy-born humanitarian and patroness of immigrants who established schools, hospitals and orphanages around the world. The film was an Official Selection of the 2018 Catholic Film Festival in Seoul, South Korea. Mauro’s feature, One Year Later, about a cancer survivor who takes a life-affirming trip to the Italian Alps one year after completing cancer treatment, screened at Montreal’s 2016 Views of the World Film & Music Festival, where it was nominated for Best Original Score. It is shown for cancer support groups and the medical community. Her short film, In My Brother’s Shoes, starring Danny McCarthy (Elvis & Nixon, Boardwalk Empire) as the brother of a fallen U.S. Marine who embarks on a healing pilgrimage to Rome in his sibling’s combat boots, won Best Short Film at the 2015 Mirabile Dictu Catholic Film Festival at the Vatican & was featured in the 2015 Cannes International Film Festival’s Short Film Corner.

These films – which center on healing, resilience and human connection – are produced by In My Brother’s Shoes, Inc., an Illinois not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation founded by Lucia Mauro and her husband, producer Joe Orlandino, that shares its original work with a wide range of communities and raises funds for veterans, cancer research and humanitarian efforts. 

Founded by Jacqueline C. Hayes in 2000, The Chicago HELP Initiative (CHI) is an Illinois 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and consortium of business, residential, religious, social service, institutional and volunteer leaders striving to promote an atmosphere of dignity and compassion toward homeless, disadvantaged and out-of-work individuals by providing access to food, health services, shelters, education, employment and the arts. 


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