By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published June 12, 2014
ATLANTA—Former EWTN producer Daniel Rabourdin is hoping to have screenings of his latest project, “The Hidden Rebellion,” in Atlanta this fall.
Currently wrapping up editing of the docudrama in Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala., Rabourdin will also produce a shorter version to distribute as a history program for television channels.
The work, with the French title “La Rébellion Cachée,” offers an untold story during the French Revolution of Catholic resistance in Vendée between 1793 and 1796.
A peaceful people, the residents of the Vendée region of France attempted to defend the clergy, to resist higher taxes and refused to wage war. At first victorious, the Vendeans were later defeated, and 150,000 people were exterminated, including slayings of women and children. Priests and nuns were among the victims and thrown to angry mobs.
Rabourdin, who was born and educated in France, said only one in 10 French citizens even knows of the story.
“It’s been pushed under the rug by the educational system,” said Rabourdin.
Raised in a Catholic family, he discovered books about the rebellion as a youngster. He became more aware of the revolt from his father.
“I had a questioning state of mind,” he said.
Educated in public schools, Rabourdin began to stand up more for his Catholic faith around the age of 14. “It was not comfortable for my peers,” he said.
After moving to America, he noticed more freedom of expression.
“I saw here it is a lot more easy to profess your faith,” said Rabourdin.
It will be offered in English first. Rabourdin’s thought was that if America watches it, then the world will, too.
According to Rabourdin, the Vendeans themselves are becoming more organized about preserving history and calling attention to what happened in that part of France beginning in 1789.
Civilian letters and those written by government leaders during the rebellion are being preserved, and mass graves have been unearthed.
Bishop Dominque Rey of Fréjus-Toulon, France, has encouraged Rabourdin’s project, and in a letter offered prayers that men and women of good will would support the initiative.
“We think that a courageous media production must be made for the English-speaking world about this page in history,” wrote Bishop Rey.
The French bishop added that like Joan of Arc, one’s first intention should be to serve the Lord and reach heaven.
“In this spirit, we see the production of this docudrama, ‘The Hidden Rebellion, the Untold Story Behind the French Revolution’ as an opportunity to rediscover the courage of martyrs and the errors of the past,” said Bishop Rey.
Rabourdin has presented programs about this aspect of French history at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta and also at St. Joseph School in Athens.
Larry Schauer, a parishioner of Christ the King, is an associate producer of the docudrama. Although he studied military history in college, he never learned about this chapter until meeting Rabourdin.
Schauer has viewed the trailer and said the production focuses on the importance of protecting religious liberties against political tyranny.
“Hopefully, it will be a good reminder,” he said.
Rabourdin was an EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) producer for 16 years. His previous work includes “Saint Joan of Arc: Maid For God.”
While he has undertaken most of the costs of this production, along with associate producers, patrons may support the final stages of the production including editing.
Joining Rabourdin in making this documentary are filmmaker Jim Morlino and actress Clementine Stapanoff, whose ancestor fought on the side of Vendeans.
Morlino wrote and directed “The War of the Vendée,” an independent feature film that won awards at the Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival and the John Paul II International Film Festival.
Rabourdin selected Atlanta for screenings as the local Catholic community has been very interested in and supportive of the production.
“I need the Church behind me,” said Rabourdin.
For more information on the film, visit www.hiddenrebellion.com or The Hidden Rebellion: The Untold Story of the French Revolution on Facebook.