‘You Oughta Be In Pictures'
Are you in New Orleans, Lafayette, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Phoenix or San Bernardino? You may be in luck!
Next month, Catholic film-maker Daniel Rabourdin will embark on his road tour of the American Southwest. This veteran EWTN producer will be speaking to parishes and groups about his almost-complete docudrama plus his exciting new film project — for which he's searching for real Catholics to film!
REGINA Magazine caught up with Daniel recently to get the latest on his epic work, ‘Hidden Rebellion' and his plans for a brand new ‘reality' TV show, possibly starring YOU!
REGINA: Daniel, what about your background in France prepared you for your American TV and film career of the last 20 years?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: I think my training in France in Thomistic philosophy is pertinent. After all, script schools in Los Angeles teach the rules of drama according to Aristoteles. And St. Thomas Aquinas was the master teacher of Aristotelism in Christianity.
REGINA: Okay, what does philosophy have to do with film-making?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: The truth about the way the best stories are told had not changed. The human soul and its emotion have not changed. The vices and virtues have not changed. The hopes and disappointments have not either. What have changed are the environments, technologies, countries.
REGINA: So, you are interested in film-making as story-telling?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: After my education at the Sorbonne, I started my direct schooling in audio visual with two years studies in Television in Louisiana and San Francisco. After that, I produced for two years business videos in Belgium. Then, I worked 18 years at EWTN. My most advanced productions there were three series of reality TV and a docudrama on St Joan of Arc, Maid for God.
“I liked making reality TV. Reality is rich. You can dig out of it virtues. Many dig out vices, and that is their problem.”
REGINA: What did you learn from making reality TV?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: I think I liked making reality TV. Reality is rich. You can dig out of it virtues. Many dig out vices, and that is their problem.
I learned in the field about how to be observant about how others read reality, react to reality. And then you built upon that. Good story-telling relies on the wisdom about how people react to how something is shown to them. How do we ‘read the world’ beyond the words that are just the façade?
REGINA: Can you give us an example?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: Yes. How do people put their feet on the ground when they talk to you? Are the feet together at the toes are at the heels? At the toes can speak of some kind of shyness; at the heels can show some type of obedience. We process body language unconsciously most of the time. But if we are conscious of this body language and have it replicated in stories, then we hold a fragment of the art of movie-making.
REGINA: Tell us about ‘Hidden Rebellion' — what is this docudrama about?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: Overall, it is about the first organized physical opposition of Catholics (the farmers in the Vendee region, south of Normandy) against a criminal atheistic ideology (the French Revolution). And clearly, it did not go very well for the Vendéeans.
“A period worth hundreds of horror movies if you ask me –130 000 Vendéeans disappeared — 80% of them women, children and old people. There were terrible massive crimes that I can barely mention in your pages.”
REGINA: This was what all historians today recognize as the Reign Of Terror, correct?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: A period worth hundreds of horror movies if you ask me –130 000 Vendéeans disappeared — 80% of them women, children and old people. There were terrible massive crimes that I can barely mention in your pages — mutilation of women by the hundreds in hospitals, fabrication of human grease to heal wounds, industrial-scale drowning, concentration camps etc.
REGINA: Horrible – sounds like a precursor to the 20th century Nazi and Stalinist killing machines.
DANIEL RABOURDIN: I know, it is gross. But each time I read about them, I also remember the beauty of those Vendéeans who walked to the guillotine rejoicing that this same night they would meet their “Bon Dieu”.
REGINA: These people were killed for their faith?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: Yes. So our message is that a genocide happened at the hand of a militant agnostic-atheistic ideology in 1794. It is ‘hidden’ because most historians who are friends of that ideology won’t reveal that part of their ideological ancestors.
“My goal is to see today’s super-liberal ideologies having attached to their ankle, so to speak, the weight of the chain of the genocide of the Vendee.”
REGINA: Do you have a goal for ‘Hidden Rebellion’?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: My goal is to see today’s super-liberal ideologies having attached to their ankle, so to speak, the weight of the chain of the genocide of the Vendee. The same way Auschwitz weighs on the ankles of any modern adherent to National Socialism (Nazism) or the gulags weigh on today’s Communists.
REGINA: What do we know about how the genocide in the Vendee began?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: It started with the Vendee farmers seeing their priests have to swear allegiance to the State. When the priests refused, they were detained, they were replaced by State employees, then mostly drowned in the rivers.
REGINA: What happened next?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: Then the Vendéeans like all other French people had to use code words in order to not be incriminated by the State. At that time you had better call anybody “citizen” instead of sir or brother. It was what we call ‘Political Correctness’ or policing of thoughts already… that is how it started.
REGINA: And then?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: When the Reign of Terror, a nightmarish policy of the French Revolution started, the Vendéeans farmers rebelled. They had been quite prosperous fellows in a basically Christian society. They did not see why their faith had to be regimented by the state, their priests pursued, their sons sent to ideological wars against Europe and their taxes raised to pay for all of that. Yes, they were willing to have reforms to improve their society. But not a revolution to destroy civilization.
REGINA: And until now, few people outside France know this story. Where was “Hidden Rebellion’ filmed?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: In the exact region where the events took place: in Vendee France, south of Normandy. It was even filmed with some descendants of the Vendéeans of the time of the French Revolution. At night they would tell me the story of their great-great-great-great grandmother having survived as a little girl just a mile away from where we had filmed.
“It was even filmed with descendants of the Vendéeans of the time of the French Revolution. At night they would tell me the story of their great-great-great-great grandmother having survived as a little girl just a mile away from where we had filmed.”
REGINA: Why did you choose the docudrama format?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: Because it is more fun to watch than a documentary. And because it is cheaper than a movie. Instead of costing the present $130K for this docudrama, it would have cost around three million. So a docudrama is a great way to progress.
REGINA: What percentage of the film is finished?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: About 80%. We have most of the footage in place and edited. If the film were a statue of an athlete, a spear thrower, we need now to add the details of his hair, eyes, maybe add a metallic spear head and polish the whole marble. This polishing work is very time-consuming.
REGINA: A good picture, but what does this mean in terms of film?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: It means replacing our temporary sketchy voices with professional voices, securing the expensive rights of famous paintings, rewriting the translations in English because it is too short compared to the French, tweaking the narrative so that it makes for a homogenous story. And of course, continuing the fund raising to pay all those great Catholic creative people that I employ. 20% of the show still to do means around $40 000 still to find.
“We must foster our communities, our spirit, our arts too. If not, we will end up like the Vendéeans in their darkest moments. The Christians in France lost the battle of their culture 300 years before they lost the field in reality. But I need the help of my community to tell their story.”
REGINA: You have had people from both France and the US contribute in ways large and small to ‘Hidden Rebellion,’ right?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: Yes, wonderful people in this international Catholic community, including REGINA Magazine. We are a community. We need to remember that. We must cease to go to Mass alone always, pray alone always, leave church alone always. I think that we must obey the second commandment too. So we must foster our communities, our spirit, our arts too. If not, we will end up like the Vendéeans in their darkest moments. The Christians in France lost the battle of their culture 300 years before they lost the field in reality. But I need the help of my community to tell their story.
REGINA: So you are going out on the road to speak at Catholic parishes, soon?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: Yes, it is important to first tell the stories of the Vendéeans. It is good for the soul to learn about their courage and their sense of duty to their God, their wives, and their country. Their letters to each others are beautiful. It is also a necessity to know our history. Should the Vendéeans have rebelled? Weren’t they sure to fail? Or did their stubborn resistance for around 17 years force Napoleon at last to sign a contract with the Church making all French people free to practice their faith? And don’t the philosophers of the French Revolution theories resemble the “teaching” of some academics in America today?
“I have been thinking about an on-the-road show throughout America in search of the lost family meal. We would discover where some families are still having a grand culture of the family meal.”
REGINA: Is it true you are also developing an exciting new project, as well?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: Ah yes… At EWTN I had a show called Theology of the Table. Now that I am an independent, I have been thinking about an on-the-road show throughout America in search of the lost family meal. We would discover where some families are still having a grand culture of the family meal.
REGINA: So, you’re looking for people to film?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: Yes, I am working with different partners on the lookout for families, or communities, who cook very well, cook healthy food, have good homes, children who know how to sit around a table etc. Nothing snobbish or particularly wealthy but the domestic churches that are the families. And if those families grow some of their food, know how to bake true bread, make their cheese, their preserves, it is a plus. Won’t it be a positive TV series? From talking about the attack on civilization to exalting the beauty of civilization: the quest for the Lost Family Meal! And little enterprises who make healthy and beautiful products to serve the family meals may be able to advertise so that we can pay for this substantial project.
REGINA: Sounds like great fun!
DANIEL RABOURDIN: Oh yes, and the more kids around the table, the merrier. A mix of generations would be great too. And I will share my own recipes with them. In each city, we could film three families. Homeschoolers are particularly apt to do that. We will do that along the Southwest road but I’m not against extending it to other great cities.
“In each city, we could film three families. Homeschoolers are particularly apt to do that. We will do that along the Southwest road but I’m not against extending it to other great cities.”
REGINA: What cities will you be in? When?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: In mid-May, I must return to Los Angeles from Birmingham and bring my car there. Right now, I am hopping from a friend’s house to another friend’s house to save, I drive my car instead of flying. So we thought I could use that trip to stop along the way and spread the message. I will pass by Mobile (May 13th Wednesday), New Orleans May 14th 15th Thursday Friday), Lafayette (May 16th Saturday), Houston (May 17th 18th 19th Sunday), San Antonio (May 20th Wednesday), El Paso (May 21th 22nd Thursday), Phoenix (May 23th Saturday 24th ) and San Bernardino (May 25th , 26th Monday).
REGINA: Are you looking for help? What should someone do who wants to get involved?
DANIEL RABOURDIN: Yes! We’d like very much to have some interest from parishes and to talk with families about the family dinner series. They can contact us at ‘Hidden Rebellion' on FACEBOOK or email me, send some pictures of their recipes, their family around the table and their peas in the garden. Together, we will light candles in the night!
“They can contact us at ‘Hidden Rebellion' on FACEBOOK or send some pictures of their recipes, their family around the table and their peas in the garden. Together, we will light candles in the night!”