Trinity at the Boston Underground Film Festival!

TRINITY, will screen next at noon on next Sunday, the 26th, at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts as part of the Boston Underground Film Festival.

As they describe it in the BUFF program:

In his first feature, Massachusetts’ own Skip Shea plumbs the depths of loss, trauma, and guilt through the story of Michael, a stoic artist (Sean Carmichael) who stops for coffee only to encounter the priest (David Graziano) who once sexually abused him. What would you do if you came face-to-face with the man who ruined your life?

Trinity explores that moment as a dreamlike journey through time past, a route that carries the troubled Michael in and out of churches, a dimly lit bathroom stall, and the tables of tarot card readers. We meet Father Tom’s other victims, most memorably the haunting Angel (Aurora Grabill), and a cadre of Michael’s chatty adulthood friends who seem to discuss the tenets of Catholicism as others casually discuss their theories about Westworld. Their removed, academic dissections rarely consider that the scars of abuse do not always fade with time. The experiences continue to strangle and suffocate the victims long after they’ve left the physical proximity of their tormentors.

An outspoken survivor of clergy abuse, Shea understands real terror is not necessarily found in cannibalistic reveries, but in the unexpected and most-unwelcome greeting from one’s tormenter in a benignly cozy coffee shop. These are the film’s most profoundly squeamish moments and they will stay with you long after you leave the theater. Filmed mostly in Western Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the non-linear narrative borrows from Mulholland Drive and the works of Alain Resnais, but this searingly painful story is all Shea. The journey is at times arduous and altogether frustrating, but you will never lose sight of the hope cautiously peering out from the rabbit hole. – Melinda Green

It’s a treat to be able to screen at this festival and bring the movie closer to home. It’s had a good amount of success outside of the USA, taking part in over twenty festivals and winning these seven awards.

Best Feature and Screenplay at the Lake View International Film Festival (India)
Best Horror Night Film a the Med Fest (Italy)
Best Director at the Amazon Underground Film Festival (Brazil)
Best Actress to Lynn Lowry at the HorrorHound Film Festival (USA)
Best Special Effects to Phil “Skippy” Adams at the International Filmmaker Film Festival (Italy)
Best Editor at the Arte Non Stop Festival (Argentina)

Tickets are available here. I hope to see you there. Thanks for your support.

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Giving Tuesday & the Shawna E Shea Foundation Inc

Dear friends,

Today is #GivingTuesday and we at the Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation, Inc. first want to thank all our many supporters who have sustained us for the past 16 years. Because of you, we have grown and expanded this year. We’re especially proud and excited that the Foundation is now an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, which means that all donations are tax deductible.


As many of you know, we are dedicated to continuing Shawna’s memory and legacy of helping marginalized young women and men realize their hopes and dreams. We do this in several ways:


The Shawna E. Shea Memorial Scholarship honors Shawna’s memory in both very tangible and symbolic ways. She was 16 when she tragically lost her life in an automobile accident in 1999. And because of her amazing network of friends and the Uxbridge community, a town-wide walk raised more than $10,000 and the Shawna E. Shea Memorial Scholarship was established. It is awarded annually to a female Uxbridge High School graduate who exhibits Shawna’s character and personality—qualities that made her unique and left a lasting impact on everyone she touched in her short life here on Earth.

Those qualities are best described in a poem written by her father Skip Shea entitled, “She Rode Her Own Wave.” It begins with these words:

She Rode Her Own Wave
inviting any and all on,
but never drifting off on others.
It was a large wave
with a direct route to the shore
passing us as the undertow
pulls us further out.

We believe that she would always want to help her friends and anyone who lives on the margins of life, who rides their own wave and yet deserves everything beautiful that life can give.

The Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation Inc. also awards an annual scholarship to a graduating male Uxbridge High School student in the name of Michael Liberty, Shawna’s cousin who also passed from this life at a young age.

Shawna Shea Film Festival

The Shawna Shea Film Festival (SSFF) is designed to honor truly independent films. It was established in 2012 at the Elm Cinema in Millbury, MA, with one block of independent films. Today, SSFF has its home at the Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA and has grown into a three-day festival screening dozens of feature-length films and shorts from around the world.

The SSFF is a much anticipated festival among filmmakers everywhere and it is our unique way to support the Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation, Inc. as well as honor Shawna’s irresistible independent spirit by highlighting films that share the same quality.


This year, our Foundation established a new fellowship for first-time women filmmakers, which was awarded to professional studio photographer Erica Chick of Uxbridge during the 4th Annual Shawna Shea Film Festival (SSFF) at the Somerville Theatre on Nov. 20 this year.

The Women in Film Fellowship comes with a $500 stipend along with a mentorship from a variety of professionals in the filmmaking and arts community, including Shawna’s father Skip Shea, a local award-winning writer and director. Erica’s project involves writing and directing a documentary about the Empty Spaces Project in Putnam, CT, an innovative art gallery initiative that revitalizes empty downtown storefronts with cutting-edge arts programming and community education.

Erica’s finished documentary will have its premiere screening at the 2016 Shawna Shea Film Festival at the Somerville Theatre. SSFF brings together independent filmmakers locally and from around the world.

Please consider supporting our mission with your contribution by clicking on the Donate link here:

Thank you for your donation.

If you prefer, you may make your donation by check, payable to:

The Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation, Inc.
Savers Bank
6 North Main Street
Uxbridge, MA 01569

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, your donation is tax deductible and will support our mission to help young people with scholarships, fellowships and educational opportunities.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Anna Chinappi
President, Shawna E. Shea Memorial Foundation, Inc.


Skip Shea

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I was privileged to have seen a sneak peek at Thomas McCarthy’s movie “Spotlight” which chronicles the Boston Globe Spotlight team uncovering the massive cover up of the sexual abuse crisis within the Boston archdiocese. One of the perks for being in the club.
It was a tough and surreal watch for me. Because I knew some of the people up on the screen. Not like Mark Ruffalo, although I was in Shutter Island. Not exactly with him. Or anyone else for that matter. But I was in it.
Because typecasting works. Thank you Worcester Diocese for helping me do a convincing crazy.
But I digress..
I know Phil Saviano whose character is in the movie. I know Mitchell Garabedian. I’ve communicated with some of the reporters. So it was strange to see.
What struck me the most was this moment in the film.

Mike Rezendes outburst and frustration happened because he felt something needed to be done. Immediately.
And some things were done. Cardinal Law resigned and went home to Rome. The Globe won a Pulitzer and other countries starting looking into the crisis within their borders.
The governments of the countries of Ireland and Australia took a huge and firm stance agains the church. Two UN panels on torture held the church responsible for these crimes against humanity.
But by that point there was a new Pope. A more groovy Pope. And people were less inclined to listen.
To the point where the Pope spoke at a joint session of Congress in the United States this year.
pope congress
Because this is just a sad piece of history in the Catholic Church according to Cardinal O’Malley. It’s also criminal, but that’s beside the point. And never discussed in polite company.
But for a moment the spotlight was shining on these crimes. and maybe because of the movie the light shine on it again. If only for another moment. See the movie and remember.
Before it becomes business as usual again.

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Guess Who’s Coming to Congress

Thursday September 24th, Pope Francis will address a joint session of Congress. And politicians just couldn’t be happier. Well some of them anyway. The Right used to love the Popes with their somewhat social conservative ways. But now the Left is embracing the Pope as he seemingly makes left leaning statements.

Like in his now famous address in Bolivia when her decried unfettered capitalism. People like presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders fell all over themselves pointing to his quotes like:
“Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. Let us say no to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes.”

Its odd how at the same time back in Bernie’s home state of New York there is a vast amount of church closings which includes the likes of Sacred Heart Church in Mount Vernon. According to the New York Times:
“Sacred Heart Church in Mount Vernon is another parish on the list of those to be closed. Its soup kitchen serves 72,000 meals a year, parishioners said, and its pantry supplies food to more than 700 households each month.
Mount Vernon, just north of the Bronx, is one of the poorest areas in Westchester County, with a large population of older people. It is losing three parishes. Mayor Ernest D. Davis said that the city relied on Sacred Heart, and that no other organization in the city served the neediest as extensively.”

Most of the closings and merging of parishes include at least one church that is running in the red, merging with one that runs in the black. So they can then turn a profit. I mean maintain themselves. Sorry about my confusion there. When it’s done in the business world it’s about profits. The church certainly isn’t in this for profits, they have a moral charge to save souls or something like that. Except for their bank which they own that gets part of it’s funds in the trickle up theory of economy, as a portion of every dollar dropped in the basket ends up in Rome. But that’s all about maintaining and yes perhaps even growing its billions of dollars of wealth. Somehow that helps save souls.

Not quite the socialist Bernie had in mind. But Francis talks a good game.

Otherwise would this trip even be happening. Especially with the scathing report from not one, but two UN investigations into the global epidemic of childhood sexual abuse. That should bring pause to inviting the Pope to speak before a joint session of Congress. You would think.

If we look at it through another lens, the Pope is the leader of a very small country that borders Rome, Italy. The Holy See is its own nation. He was elected for life, so by definition he is now a dictator of a theocracy. In his country women have very little rights. They certainly can’t vote nor do they have any equal opportunities for social or political advancement. Like an economy that excludes. And, as the UN has pointed out, they allowed and covered up for the sexual abuse of children throughout the globe. If the Holy See were any other nation or any other religion we would not be extending invitations to its leader to speak at congress, we would be discussing sanctions and possibly military action against this country. Instead our government embraces it.

The governments in Australia and Ireland recognized these crimes against humanity and held hearings to get to the bottom of it, changed laws and stripped the church of its power.
You know, to protect their kids and all that.

Because the abuse is still happening. It’s in the papers everyday. It’s not hard to find. Just follow the Abuse Tracker on the Bishop’s Accountability web site.

These stories aren’t on the front pages. The front page has stories about Francis seeming to be accepting of the gay community. Which he isn’t. No policies have changed and the Catholic Church and its money remains one of the biggest opponents to gay marriage.  Or stories about how kind he is and will now forgive women who have abortions. I wondered forgiven for what? I understand when they routinely forgive pedophiles because they actually did something really really bad. To an actual child. Or stories about how he embraces the poor, as he closes their churches. Or stories about how we need green energy, which we do, and its now a moral decision to do so. Meaning it is more important to save the earth than to simply focus on this as an economic issue. Yet for the bank within the country of this church it is an economic issue as they have invested heavily in solar and wind energies that they are already selling back to the electric companies in Italy. When they can turn a profit it becomes a moral imperative.

Which is probably why Francis is so popular with our politicians. He is clearly a master at the game. And the direction this country is going, he seems to be the perfect role model for them.

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Can You Define Unbridled?

Scrolling through my various social media sites I see all sorts of positive posts from my lefty friends praising Pope Francis for his harsh words against capitalism. In an article by by Philip Pullella and Daniela Desantis written on July 11th they said Francis called on world leaders  “to shun policies that “sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit.”

He left out the part about making profits the Vatican way. In a report on the Holy Fiscal Year of 2014 the profits of the Vatican soared to 76 million dollars. More than twenty times to the previous year.

A New York Times article written by Gaia Pianigiani on May 25th states, “Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, the bank’s president, said that its long-term strategic plan prioritized the interests of more than 15,000 clients while trying to provide adequate return during a period of ultralow interest rates in Europe.

“The main focus is on fundamentally improving our overall client service standards and further professionalizing our asset management services,” Mr. de Franssu said in a statement.”

So I guess this isn’t the type of unbridled capitalism Pope Francis is complaining about. That’s a different kind.

Francis said in Bolivia, “Putting bread on the table, putting a roof over the heads of one’s children, giving them health and an education, these are essential for human dignity.”

Speaking of children, Cardinal Pell, the Vatican Financial Chief appointed by Francis is being called back to his home in Australia to testify in the case of pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, who has abused at least 50 boys. One being his own nephew, whom Pell bribed to keep quiet about the abuse. 

Much like Cardinal Dolan in New York, who as a Bishop in Milwaukee, hid assets and filed for bankruptcy to keep them from being used in a civil suit against them by sexual abuse survivors. Which failed and now the Archdiocese is challenging trying to bring the case to the Supreme Court. 

Meanwhile back in Bolivia Francis said, “Corruption is the plague, it’s the gangrene of society.”

He should know. He doesn’t have to look far to find it.

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The Vatican’s Moral Crisis Profits or Why We Support Climate Change

Today the New York Times published an article titled Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change by Jim Yardley and Laurie Goldstein which outlines a “radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles to confront environmental degradation and climate change” by Pope Francis in the latest papal encyclical (an official teaching document for members of the Catholic Church)

The article states:
Francis has made clear that he hopes the encyclical will influence energy and economic policy and stir a global movement. He calls on ordinary people to pressure politicians for change. Bishops and priests around the world are expected to lead discussions on the encyclical in services on Sunday. But Francis is also reaching for a wider audience when in the first pages of the document he asks “to address every person living on this planet.”

Even before the release, Francis’ unflinching stance against environmental destruction, and his demand for global action, had already thrilled many scientists. In recent weeks, advocates of policies to combat climate change have expressed hope that Francis could lend a “moral dimension” to the debate, because winning scientific arguments was different from moving people to action.

Francis believes, being the Pope and all, will add a moral dimension to help stir a global movement. There seems to be a real sense of urgency here.

Which is one of the best closing techniques of any good salesperson. For instance if you don’t buy the house now that other couple is about to put in an offer, if you don’t put on sunscreen you will die of skin cancer or if you don’t come to our church and worship our God you will spend eternity in Hell. Things like that.

And there is a bit of salesmanship in the Pope’s plea. Because according to the Wealth Collection, a magazine dedicated to “exploring the best the world has to offer and advises on the most luxurious ways to enjoying your wealth”the Vatican plans to build Europe’s biggest solar power plant and the world’s largest offshore wind farm is slated for London’s Thames Estuary.

Yes, the Vatican is looking to invest in green energy. And by making it a global moral crisis it is looking for new places to help that investment grow.

Look, I am all for green energy and investing in it. Climate change is real and needs to be addressed and it is a good thing the Catholic Church, as large as it is, is leading the charge. It can only help the planet.

But be honest about it. In order to trust what they say there needs to be full disclosure. They are already selling surplus energy from the solar energy back to the Italian National Grid. Because that’s what all non-profits do. They are into green energy for the color of money just as much as they are to save the planet. By making environmentalism an official  part of the Church’s teachings also helps expand their financial portfolio.

Which is the larger problem I find with Pope Francis. There is never full transparency. Why would I trust their tribunal that will hold Bishop’s who cover up the crimes of sexual abuse of children, when there is always an ulterior motive. Always.

Come clean with your energy policy.  And come clean with the cover up of clergy sexual abuse. Full disclosure. Open the files. All of them.

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