Ends Midnight TONIGHT!!! Win an iPhone 4S!

CONTEST

“40” is a Lenten allegory about seven strangers who appear to be the only survivors of a  calamitous event in Los Angeles. Each of the 14 webisodes that will air throughout Lent is told from the perspective of seven characters using their iPhones to videotape themselves. To mark the series premiere, Loyola Productions, the Midwest Jesuits and Loyola Press are giving away an iPhone 4S like the one used by characters in “40.” (Check out the trailer for 40 and our Q&A with the series creator Michael Breault SJ, below.)

HOW TO ENTER and WIN…

In order to win the iPhone 4S (or one of our runner-up prizes) simply send us an email with the names and email addresses of any friends you’d like to introduce to the series 40 (make sure you put the word “40 CONTEST” in the subject line). For every legitimate email address we receive you will get one entry into our random drawing. There’s no limit to the number of entries you can make, as long as each friend you suggest is new and hasn’t been submitted to us in previous contests. (We will use the address for the purpose of inviting your friend to check out 40 online. It will not be shared with any third parties. Our 2 runners up will receive either a set of DVDs of recent programs from Loyola Productions or a set of books from Loyola Press.)

Send us the names and addresses of friends you’d like to invite via email at contest@40theseries.com. Contest runs for twenty three (23) days from 12:01am (est) on Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2012 to 12:01am (est) on Friday March 16, 2012, so make sure you enter today!

See full contest rules here.

40 the official trailer…

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Q & A with 40’s creator Michael Breault, SJ

The award-winning Michael Breault, SJ directing on the set of 40

Q: The 40 series is a very different take on an ancient Lenten tradition. When did the idea come about?

MB: The idea came about initially because I was asked by Loyola Productions to write an episodic, narrative story for Lent and the web. 40 was chosen because the number is enigmatic and occurs over and over throughout scripture with different meanings associated with it, but it’s still enigmatic enough that it resonates with people. Especially when you put 40 next to Lent. In the Spring of 2011 I started writing 40 and by the summer I was working on the schematic. I started writing the episodes in September of 2011. Through an ongoing discussion with Executive Producer Eddie Siebert we decided upon exactly how much material would be filmed, how much would be shown and how frequently there would be an episode. We decided on two episodes a week, for the seven weeks in Lent. Seven characters were chosen because there are seven weeks and the characters were deliberately chosen to be a good representation of typical Los Angelenos. The fact that Owen is an artist was an inspiration, as we knew we wanted to incorporate traditional animation into 40 but were in need of a logical way to integrate the animation. It then made perfect sense to have Owen serve as an artist who generates the animations sequences – and to then ultimately become a prophet for the story. When I built the schematic for 40 we also decided that each episode would reflect the church’s Liturgical readings for that week of Lent in some way.

Q: Does 40 mark some sort of change in your own thinking about the Lenten season?

MB: 40 doesn’t mark a change in my Lenten journey over the years, rather it has been crafted as something that aims to further enrich one’s Lenten journey. In many ways 40 is an expression of my Lenten journey. It is also my hope that 40 will enrich the journey and experience for other people.

Q: What’s your sense of how most people approach Lent? How can 40 help those people?

MB: Most adult Catholics that I know take Lent seriously. They understand the basics and they understand that it’s more than giving something up. Their experience usually comes from attending the liturgy and hearing the readings and homilies based on those scriptures. It usually also consists of the other traditional things that people do for Lent such as the stations of the cross, rosary, etc. All of those things are enriching and thus my sense is that the average Catholic Joe gets a good bit of Lent. They don’t need to be told what Lent is. The purpose of 40 is not to tell anyone what Lent is, rather it’s to engage people in these seven fictional characters and their very fictional world. By engaging with the characters of 40, one becomes engaged and touches upon the themes from that week’s liturgical readings. These themes include the journey, the outcast, longing for new life, penance, sacrifice and mercy which are all present in the very deliberate choices that the church has made with the selected readings. If you enjoy this narrative and allow yourself to be affected by the story then you will become immersed within these themes. It should then help to enrich one’s liturgical and Lenten experience and 40 accomplishes this not just through the story but also via the Reflections. The reflections offer different perspectives or ways of looking at those particular themes because the more ways you have to reflect upon these themes the more you are likely to enter into them. The Reflections for 40 have all been carefully selected and are designed to present a wealth of prose, poetry, statistics, quotes, scriptures, videos and music to help one fully encounter the Lenten theme of the week.

Q: What’s been the most challenging aspect of making 40 into a reality?

MB: Money has been the most challenging aspect of making 40 a reality. By making what is essentially a feature-length film for half the budget spent on a 30 second commercial with professional actors, technicians and crews is very challenging. Money doesn’t buy good art, but what money can buy you is quality of actors and crew. It also buys you time – time spent shooting, rehearsing and time in post-production. Not having much money or time has definitely imposed a crunch but it’s a challenge that was well-met.

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Don’t forget…in order to win the iPhone 4S  just send us an email to contest@40theseries.com with the names and email addresses of any friends you’d like to introduce to “40” (make sure you put the words “40 CONTEST” in the subject line). Contest runs for twenty three (23) days from 12:01am (est) on Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2012 to 12:01am (est) on Friday March 16, 2012. Good Luck!