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Pope Francis Praises Controversial Canaan Land Faith Film as Actresses Wrestle with Publicity Storm
Contact: Father Mario Marziale, 202-792-9397

ROME, Nov. 30, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ -- Pope Francis praised filmmaker Richard Rossi for taking a stand against fraudulent evangelists in his new film "Canaan Land" which is shooting in Hollywood and slated for a Christmas 2017 release.

"Richard Rossi is standing for good and against evil," Pope Francis said. "He is a voice for the poor who have been taken advantage of by those misrepresenting Christ in a culture of greed. He contrasts the love of God with those who teach blessings are bought with donations, which is idolatry."

Rossi's last film "Baseball's Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories" also got the pontiff's attention and catalyzed a campaign to canonize baseball icon and humanitarian Roberto Clemente as reported in the LA Times, Washington Post, and Huffington Post.

"Canaan Land" is the story of Brother Billy Gantry, a con man evangelist who teaches the flock they must give offerings to receive healings. He meets Sister Sara Sunday, a true believer who teaches him his con game isn't a game anymore," Rossi said.

Over 1,000 actresses auditioned for Sara, both big names and unknowns. News sources reported an actress who starred in the film "Back to the Future" was set to play Sara, however as controversy regarding the film grew, the actress "no longer wants her name associated with the controversy," Brad Shapiro, a casting associate said.

Sources say another popular actress told Rossi she wants to play the role, but Shapiro said it was a verbal but not yet written agreement so the name is not released.

When pressed for information on the new star interested in the Sara role, Rossi was tight-lipped but gave a few clues. "She welcomes the controversy and feels it is a sign the film is on the right track. She stands for Christ and is a favorite actress of one of the greatest directors out there. She starred in a cult classic TV show in the 1990's that is coming back in 2017," Rossi said. "She is an actress so beautiful she played the ultimate screen beauty Elizabeth Taylor in a biopic."

Rossi, a former healing evangelist, is appealing for funding on GoFundMe at www.gofundme.com/CanaanLand.

"Our film will show tricks some big televangelist names do. They fake miracles. It's a film about a consummate charismatic con man played by me, meeting Sister Sara, a true believer, and an agent of my character's redemption."

Official Facebook: www.facebook.com/CanaanLandMovie.