Jakarta (AsiaNews) - His entire life was "a big mess", from the time his father died when he was still a boy to his mother's illness. Forced to drop out of high school, he saw the course of his existence "change radically" when he met a priest. From humble beginnings as a handyman and a gardener, he eventually became an award-winning videographer.
This is the story of Francis Borgia Edgar, a 23-year-old Catholic from Yogyakarta, Central Java Province, who won a prize for his short video My Fast at the 2014 edition of the Signis World Congress held in late February in Rome
The decisive factor in the young man's life was his encounter and friendship with Fr Noegroho Agoeng, head of the Commission for Social Communications (Komsos KAS) of Archdiocese of Semarang.
The two first met at the Domus Pacis in Pringwulung, Yogyakarta, home, among other things, to a home for the elderly and seat of the Commission for Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Semarang.
After spending time at the compound performing daily chores and nurturing a few dreams, Fr Agoeng asked him to work with him on a video.
As time went by, what appeared to be a break in his daily routine became an extracurricular activity that took more and more of his time. Ultimately, it led him to produce his own videos under the priest's supervision.
Last February, Francis Borgia Edgar saw his efforts crowned at the Signis World Congress 2014, in Rome, as the first prize recipient in the short video contest.
Entitled My Fast, the video relates the story of a teenage girl from a good family who, in response to an appeal by Pope Francis she saw on a Vatican website, prefers to devote her shopping money to the people of war-torn Syria.
"I never thought one day I would go abroad and win a prestigious international award," the young man said; a feat that that had him beat at least a hundred contestants from over the world. Besides, as "God never sleeps!" he also got "to meet and shake hands with the Pope".
His mentor, Fr Agoeng, is excited about it. At present, he is already working with his young protégé on new videos and documentaries, including, one on the concept of fasting and asceticism among young people, others about the Eucharist, the sign of the Cross and Baby Jesus, as well as a feature film on the life of Mgr Justinus Darmojuwono, Indonesia's first cardinal.
The Signis World Congress brought to the Italian capital more than 300 Catholic communicators from more than 100 countries in the world. This year's edition centred on Media for a Culture of Peace: Creating Images with the New Generation for the purpose of giving young people a forum to express their hopes for a global culture of peace.
Signis (officially, the World Catholic Association for Communication) was founded in 2001 by the merger of the International Catholic Organisation for Cinema and Audio-visual (OCIC) and the International Catholic Association for Radio and Television (UNDA), both originally established in 1928.
For decades, the two Catholic bodies were critical points of reference in the areas of cinema, radio and television.