The internationally acclaimed film, Nothing to Lose, based on the life of the founder and spiritual leader of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), premiered in Johannesburg on 25 and 26 August at the Ticketpro Dome. The weekend events were attended by almost 50 000 people.
A gala event was held at Montecasino Cinevation for more than 600 VIPs including prominent media and local government officials on 30 August. During September and October, the film will be shown in Universal Churches throughout the country.
The film, produced by Paris Entertainment, has broken box office records in every country where it has been screened, and is set to do the same in South Africa, with an estimated audience of 700 000 people expected to see it.
Nothing to Lose: The Movie is based on the trilogy Nothing to Lose which documents the life of Bishop Macedo, detailing his trials, tribulations and triumphs and recording the Church’s journey from a band stand in a park in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, to one of the fastest growing Pentecostal Churches internationally.
The overriding message of the movie is his unwavering belief that God is with him and his wife Ester Bezerra in all situations, that God will never forsake them and that He will provide for His people. His humility is contrasted with the arrogance and self-importance of other religious leaders of the time, demonstrating repeatedly his determination to follow the calling on his life and to do God’s work.
The story tells of his childhood suffering as a result of a deformity of his hands which resulted in teasing and ridiculing by others who rejected him and refused to let him play soccer. In an attempt to be accepted, he was challenged to climb a tree, something he was unable to complete because of his deformed hands. He questioned God, asking why He had not created him to be perfect and why He had not heard his cry for help. In comforting him, his mother said: “Edir you were not meant to climb the tree. You will climb mountains.”
Nothing to Lose documents his young life in the secular world and his experience of prejudices and the exclusive attitude of church leadership towards those rejected by society. It showcases his mother’s belief in his abilities and her support throughout the challenges he experienced.
When he found God, he changed his life, broke up with his girlfriend who did not share his values, and made sacrifices to be right with God. Edir Macedo persevered in following his calling despite repeated rejection and disappointment.
A pivotal moment in the story captures the anguish when his second daughter was born with a severe congenital physical defect: a cleft palate. Through this first-hand experience of suffering, he understood the pain of others and committed himself to saving every last soul, dedicating himself one hundred percent to serving God, saying: “If no church will accept me, I will go alone.”
He resigned from his job and devoted himself to serving those in need saying: “I want to offer real faith to change lives.” He began preaching to passersby in a park in Rio de Janerio and soon rented the disused chapel of a funeral home where the first Universal Church of the Kingdom of God opened in 1977.
The rapid growth of the Universal Church and the purchase of a radio and television station angered the authorities who orchestrated a media campaign to get rid of him, labelling the church a cult and creating absurd allegations which resulted in his arrest on trumped up charges of charletism and fake healing. Bishop Edir Macedo spent eleven days in prison. In response to the unfounded accusations that he was profiting from the vulnerability of others and exploiting and deluding the poor he said: “At the Universal Church, we teach what the Bible says. We open our doors to people looking for answers. We have nothing to hide.”
Nothing to Lose ends on a cliff hanger introducing another attack on the church with people being assaulted in the streets of New York. The story will be continued in Nothing to Lose 2.
The film is followed by a message from Bishop Edir Macedo, recorded in the gardens of the Temple of Solomon in Sao Paulo, Brazil, praying for people and distributing handkerchiefs as the apostle Paul did in Acts 19:11-12.
Directed by Alexandre Avancini, Nothing to Lose, is distributed by Downtown Films. Petronio Gontijo plays the part of the adult Edir Macedo. Alexandre Avancini says: “It’s a great story of a man who pursues his convictions. Not one of his achievements was easy. Whoever doesn’t know about the life of Edir Macedo will be fascinated and able to identify with the characters throughout the film. I’m sure the viewers will be inspired by his story.”
Marcio Fraccaroli, President of the Paris Films Group, said: “Paris Films chose this story because this sociological phenomenon has to be told. The film will captivate the minds of anyone, regardless of belief or religion.”
Nothing to Lose was filmed in more than 100 locations over nine weeks in the countryside of the State of Sao Paulo, in the city of Sao Paulo, and in Rio de Janerio. It stars a cast of 100 actors and 6 000 extras.
For further information, please contact the church’s public relations department on 011 224 3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org