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Looking For God In Boca Raton

There is nothing in producer/director Emmanuel Itier's resume that would make you suspect that he is currently on his own spiritual quest. Emmanuel is a French-born, Hollywood-based producer whose oeuvre has been in the genre field of crime thrillers, soft-core erotica and horror films.

But he is indeed on a quest to find God, or at least define Him/Her/It with his latest project, THE INVOCATION. Itier screened a seven-minute trailer of the film, which includes contributions from interviews with religious leaders and international celebrities (among them Deepak Chopra, Jim Carrey and others) at a special screening held today at the Advent Lutheran Church in Boca Raton as part of the Palm Beach International Film Festival.

Using a church as the venue for a presentation of the trailer and subsequent discussion among a panel of local religious leaders (and one declared atheist) was controversial in and of itself. The discussion was indeed lively, as a rabbi, a Lutheran minister, a Greek Orthodox priest joined with writer/producer Veronica de Laurentiis (yes, of that de Laurentiis clan) to discuss how the idea of God fits into our current worldview.

Itier's quest is not to support or deny God's existence or to rally around any one religious viewpoint, but rather to look at how the question of religion and spirituality informs our history, politics, philosophy, entertainment and view of life on the planet. Interestingly enough, all the panelists (as well as eloquent members of the audience) seemed to point to one thing.....that a more tolerant worldview and the application of godly principles into daily life can only be helpful to the world as we undergo vast changes in technology and information sharing.

"When I look at all the problems in the world, it makes me wonder where God is and whether religious feeling can unite instead of divide", Itier said. "I feel that this film can open up a dialogue among diverse peoples and religions that is necessary to bring world peace and racial tolerance to our troubled planet."

Itier, who has already traveled extensively across the United States and Europe, will be travelling to Asia to continue lensing the documentary film, with hopes of finishing it by the end of the summer. THE INVOCATION is indeed a passion project for Itier and the positive and thought-provoking messages that it will certainly engender can only help us grapple with the "big picture": who are we? why are we here? and how can we be the best we can be in this lifetime? Sober questions and important ideas indeed.

For more information on the film, log on to the film's official website: www.theinvocation.com

Sandy Mandelberger, Palm Beach FF Dailies Editor

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