Raising Money

clip_image001A reader writes:

You might want to pass along this link to your readers who are interested in supporting David Rolfe’s latest movie making venture. I thought Silent Witness was the most important documentary ever made about the Shroud. I’m sure this new mofie will equal that success.

The link is for an article, God & I: David Rolfe by by Mario Conte, OFM Conv. that appeared in the April 2009 issue of the Messenger of Saint Anthony. This caught me attention: 

Did you have a hard time raising the funds necessary to produce the documentary on the mysterious veil?

There were two main problems. First, the concept of an independent producer in those days was a very new one. All the TV channels were monopolistic, ether run by the State or licensed by the State, so independent films had very limited budgets.

The second reason was that no one was interested in the subject of Christian relics.
In the meantime I had put some research together. The paper that was sent to me originally was by a historian called Ian Wilson. He had studied at Oxford, and had been intrigued by the way that the Shroud image bore very specific details found in the emerging images of Christ from the 6th century. These observations led him to link the Shroud with a mysterious cloth known as the Mandylion (image made without hands) that had come to light in the city of Edessa (now Urfa) in Southern Turkey. This cloth had a tradition that took it right back to the time of Christ.

Having resolved to try and make this film on the Shroud I still had to earn a living in the meantime and feed my family. I was making a film for a corporate client in Saudi Arabia, and got stuck in an airport for 8 hours with some Americans. There were four of us, and in order to pass the time they wanted to play bridge. I never played bridge before so they gave me a crash course; we rolled away the time and I got to know one American, called Forrest, very well. He was based in Texas, and I told him I was working on the Shroud, and that it was linked to Anatolia. About 3 months later he sent me a clipping from theHuston Post, about the work of the Swiss criminologist Max Frei, who had taken some samples from the cloth, and concluded that some of the pollens in it came from southern Turkey. So here was a strong correlation between historical theory and forensic evidence.

So the first thing I did was to introduce Ian Wilson to Max Frei, and I accompanied them on a research trip to Urfa in Anatolia, but I still had no success in raising the money for the film.