Former nun turned Hollywood screenwriter to discuss faith in entertainment business

November 8, 2013

Barbara Nicolosi Photo

Lisle, Illinois ~ Barbara Nicolosi, a former Catholic nun turned Hollywood screenwriter, will lecture at Benedictine University on Wednesday and Thursday, November 20-21, as part of Benedictine University’s “Visiting Scholar in Catholic Thought” lecture series.

Nicolosi is the founder and chair emeritus of Act One Inc., a nonprofit program which trains Christians for careers as Hollywood writers and executives. She is also executive director of the Galileo Film Studio at Azusa Pacific University, and an adjunct professor of cinema at Pepperdine University.

Her first lecture, “Why Do Pagans Make the Best Christian Films?” will be held at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 20 at the St. Benedict Chapel, located on the fourth floor of Kindlon Hall. She will discuss “Art, Story and Entertainment: Why Hollywood Matters,” at 12:20 p.m. Thursday, November 21 in the Tellabs Lecture Hall, located in Room 112 of Birck Hall.

Nicolosi left the convent to pursue film studies at Northwestern University because she felt she could more aggressively evangelize and better represent the Church in the arts.

Today, she is a Writers Guild of America, West member and has written screenplays for several Hollywood productions including the upcoming 2014 film, “Mary, Mother of Christ” starring Ben Kingsley, Odeya Rush and Peter O’Toole.

She has worked in various roles on scores of other entertainment projects including “The Passion of the Christ,” “That Evening Sun,” and numerous TV shows.

After reading hundreds of “horrible” movie scripts at a Catholic movie production company, Nicolosi told the Houston Chronicle she started Act One Inc., to train talented Christian writers how to write better scripts.

Since co-founding Act One Inc., Nicolosi has trained hundreds of writers who have found jobs on shows like “The West Wing” and “Dr. Phil,” according to Newsweek.

A highly experienced public speaker on art, culture, media and spirituality, Nicolosi has delivered hundreds of addresses at universities, conferences and assemblies all over the world.

Most notably, she was a featured speaker at a Vatican conference on media in 2001 and gave the keynote address at the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars National Conference in 2002.  

She is the co-editor of “Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith, Film and Culture,” and a contributor to several other books including “Style, Sex and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things That Really Matter” and “Back to the Drawing Board: The Future of the Pro-Life Movement.”

Nicolosi also serves as a consultant to the board of directors of the Magis Institute, a nonprofit organization promoting authentic Catholic culture and spirituality. She is also an advisory board member of New Ethos, an organization that works to foster dialogue and cooperation between the Christian community and Hollywood.

The Visiting Scholar in Catholic Thought series heightens awareness and appreciation of the distinctive contributions the Catholic intellectual tradition has made and continues to make to all branches of knowledge and creativity. The lectures, which are free and open to the public, are sponsored by the Center for Mission and Identity, the arm of the University responsible for reinforcing the Catholic intellectual tradition on campus.

For more information about this event, contact Vince Gaddis, Ph.D., at (630) 829-6262


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 17 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2000-2010 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit research institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the third consecutive year in 2013. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2013.

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