An interview with JEAN-MARIE BENJAMIN, director of “We will rise at dawn”

An interview with JEAN-MARIE BENJAMIN, director of “We will rise at dawn”

Jean-Marie Benjamin

Jean-Marie Benjamin of French nationality has live in Italy since 1974.
Composer, writer, filmmaker. producer.

“Padre Pio: The Night of the Prophet” (“La notte del profeta”), Feature film
“La Genesi del Tempo”, a long documentary film. (RAI UNO)
“Tareq-Aziz-The Other Truth”. (Dicumentary) Special Prize of the Jury at the

Silent River Film Festival in Irvine-Los Angeles (2011)
“Ci alzeremo all’alba” (We’ll rise at dawn) Feature film.

He is a composer and conductor, and plays the guitar, piano and electronic
keyboard. He has composed numerous works of classical and popular music.
From 1966 until today, he has recorded 28 albums (works of classical music, film

soundtracks and popular music). He is the author of the Official Anthem of
UNICEF (Ode to the Child), created in Rome in April 1984 (Choir and Orchestra
of RAI, Rome, transmitted in Eurovision).
Paul McCartney has recorded the Benjamin’s Ode to the Child. He has
recorded music scores and songs for singers in France, Italy, Holland,
Germany and disco music in London (1973-1978). He’s the author of
various film soundtracks “The Bible” by Marcel Carné, “Servant et Maîtresse”
by Gantillon and various documentary films). Composer of the music scores for
the film “MOTHERS” produced by Condor Pictures in London, directed by
Liana Marabini, released in Italy on 13 April 2017.
Some of his classical compositions are: Oratorio “The Creation of the Angels”
for soloists, mixed and male choir and orchestra, Madrid Opera (1975) and
Rome RAIUNO (1984); Jerusalem Symphony, Paris, Salle Pleyel Symphony
Orchestra (1972); Concerto for cello and orchestra (Geneva); “Salve Regina”
for mixed choir and strings, Rome (1994) and many more.
He is the author of a play about Saint Francis, which had the world premiere at
the Kremlin Theatre in Moscow (1992) and was broadcast on Russian
He has published ten books in Italy, France, Switzerland and Ireland.
He is a member of the “Société des Gens de Lettres de France” and of the Union
of Italian Artists.
Special Events Officer at the UN for UNICEF (1983-1988)
Montyon Prize of the Académie Française for his book “Jean-Paul II: L’Octobr

– Your film has a strong personality, which immediately sets it apart on the film scene. With sensitivity and courage he tells a wonderful story of discovery, friendship and faith. Nowadays, in this profound moment of cinematographic revolution, religion must find new spaces to communicate with art. Is there still a deep and contemporary link between art and religion, in your opinion?

  • Europe has over 2000 years built up on the values ​​of Christianity through art. Countless works of art, painting (Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael and many others),  architecture (cathedral, basilicas, churches), literature and music with music in general but, of course, music of sacred and symphonic sacred character.The works inspired by Christianity form 90% of the European cultural heritage.
  • International cinema has also produced huge quantities of films with of religious character and with content, especially Christian (from Ben Hur up to this day over 5,000 films have been made with history related to Christianity), even of Jewish and Muslim religious content, but in smaller quantities. 
  • Online movie streaming platforms have neglected a market and audience of 1 billion 500 million Christians by not offering films with religious content. This year 2020, various new streaming platforms will be operational offering films with cultural, art and religious content (VATIVISION, GOYA, the EWTN VOD … etc.).


 Behind the exciting adventure of the two young protagonists, “We’ll rise at dawn” hides a deep and complete historical and geographical research. How important was the documentation work in the writing and directing phase?

  • When I was young I lived in Paris. I read a book on the life of Padre Pio, the Capuchin friar who carried the stigmata of Jesus Christ and I decided to visit him in his southern Italian city, San Giovanni Rotondo. He was 83 years old. and had extraordinary powers and charisms. This meeting was striking for me.
  • During my career as a composer I published several works dedicated to Padre Pio, as an author I wrote and published a book and as a director I made two feature films, the first in 1996 “Padre Pio – The Night of the Prophet ” and now (2019-2020)” We’ll Rise at Dawn “.
  • This latest film of mine is a different approach to the work of Padre Pio because it is also the story of a friendship. The value of friendship is a very important topic, especially for young people, because with a friend you can have confidences, help each other, share the joys but also the problems of life
    It is not enough to have virtual friends on Facebook, it is important to have true and sincere friends in everyday life.
– You are a writer, a composer, a director and a Catholic priest. Your talent and faith expand in all directions, reaching different artistic fields. I suppose your artistic inspiration is deeply connected to religious faith … How does your creative process work?
  • This is a question that requires a longer study.
    Each artist has a way, a different method of creativity. I think the creation of a work of art comes first from an inspiration from the heart, then the spirit elaborates, and finally the technique and talent materialize the project..
  • Ideologies are systems of thoughts elaborated by man (and they are imperfect because man is not perfect). Instead, faith is a reason of being of Man because it gives life an infinite dimension, a perspective of eternity. For this reason, faith leads to an infinite and transcendental inspiration that can be transmitted through Art.


– Italy is a wonderful country, full of history and wonderful places, breathtaking architecture and a deep bond with Christianity. What prompted you to tell the story of Padre Pio and that of Luca and Sebastiano?

  • Padre Pio was not only a Saint, with the donations he received from all over the world he built one of the largest hospitals in Europe and my film is centered around Padre Pio’s hospital, to make known not only his spiritual work but also his human and social works, all his humanity and everything he has dedicated to others.