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Home : News : Nation and World
'42,' 'Gimme Shelter,' tales of martyred priests win Christopher Awards
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK — The feature films "42" and "Gimme Shelter" were two of the top winners of this year's Christopher Awards, as were one television documentary and one book about martyred priests from the United States and Poland.

The winners were announced April 2 in New York. A ceremony to honor the winners is scheduled for May 15, also in New York.

"42," which told of Jackie Robinson's breaking of baseball's racial barriers, was one of four movies honored in the category of feature films. Another winner based on true-life events, "Gimme Shelter," told the story of a woman's effort to help a pregnant teen bring her baby to term and to shun abortion.

The third feature film winner was the box-office blockbuster "Gravity," the fictional tale of a space-station disaster and an astronaut's own emotional and spiritual journey as efforts to rescue her are being made. The fourth winner was the animated family favorite, "Frozen," loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale "The Snow Queen."

Five winners were chosen for the TV & Cable category. One of those winners was "Jerzy Popieluszko: Messenger of the Truth," a production of PBS station WTTW in Chicago, which documents the Polish priest's efforts to bring about the downfall of the communist government nonviolently in the 1980s, only to be slain.

A Christopher-winning PBS national documentary, "Brooklyn Castle," showed how the chess team at a junior high school in Brooklyn, N.Y., where many families live below the poverty line have won 30 national chess titles.

A segment of ABC's "20/20" series, "Unbreakable," profiled Pakistani teen girl Malala Yousafzai and how her drive to see that girls get an education has not stopped even after an assassination attempt on her life.

On cable TV, winners included HBO's "Life According to Sam," which looks at a teen boy born with a disease that ages his body unnaturally rapidly and how he deals with life, and the debut installment of UP TV's "Bulloch Family Ranch," in which a couple invited troubled teens and young adults into their homes to give them a better chance at life.

"The Miracle of Father Kapaun," written by Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying, was one of five winners in the Books for Adults category. It told the story of the Father Emil Kapaun, a Korean War chaplain taken prisoner, whose ministry to soldiers earned him a posthumous Medal of Honor.

Other winners in the category were "American Story," by Bob Dotson, "Love & Salt," by Amy Andres and Jessica Mesman Griffith; "On These Courts" by Wayne B. Drash; and "Walk in Their Shoes," by Jim Ziolkowski with James S. Hirsch.

Another five titles were chosen as Christopher winners in the Books for Young People category, one in each age group: "Maya Was Grumpy," by Courtney Pippin-Mathur, preschool and up; "Year of the Jungle," by Suzanne Collins, kindergarten and up; "The Matchbox Diary," by author Paul Fleishman and illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline, ages 6 and up; "Flora & Ulysses," by Kate DiCamillo, ages 8 and up; and "The Boy on the Wooden box," by Leon Leyson, with Marilyn J. Harran and Elisabeth B. Leyson, ages 10 and up.

The Christopher Awards, begun in 1949, are chosen by the Christophers, which is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition of service to God and humanity. The Christophers' motto is, "It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."

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