FILM LIBRARY: RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY

Homegoings
by Christine Turner

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Through the eyes of funeral director Isaiah Owens, the beauty and grace of African-American funerals are brought to life. Filmed at Owens Funeral Home in New York City's historic Harlem neighborhood, Homegoings takes an up-close look at the rarely seen world of undertaking in the black community, where funeral rites draw on a rich palette of tradition, history and celebration. Combining cinéma vérité with intimate interviews and archival photographs, the film paints a portrait of the dearly departed, their grieving families and a man who sends loved ones "home." A co-production of ITVS and POV's Diverse Voices Project, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). A co-presentation with the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC). Produced in association with American Documentary | POV.

 

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I'm Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful
by Jonathan Demme

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In 2005, Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme set out to document the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina and the rebuilding of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. When he met Carolyn Parker, what began as a historical documentary morphed into a vibrant character study of the courage and resiliency of this fearless matriarch and civil rights activist. I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful is Demme’s intimate account of Parker’s five-year crusade to rebuild her beloved neon-green house, her church, her community—and her life. An Official Selection of the 2011 IDFA. (90 minutes)

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Inheritance
by James Moll

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Imagine watching Schindler's List and knowing the sadistic Nazi camp commandant played by Ralph Fiennes was your father. "Inheritance" is the story of Monika Hertwig, the daughter of mass murderer Amon Goeth. Hertwig has spent her life in the shadow of her father's sins, trying to come to terms with her "inheritance." She seeks out Helen Jonas, who was enslaved by Goeth and who is one of the few living eyewitnesses to his unspeakable brutality. The women's raw, emotional meeting unearths terrible truths and lingering questions about how the actions of our parents can continue to ripple through generations.

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In the Light of Reverence
by Christopher McLeod

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Devils Tower. The Four Corners. Mount Shasta. All places of extraordinary beauty — and impassioned controversy — as Indians and non-Indians struggle to co-exist with very different ideas about how the land should be used. For Native Americans, the land is sacred and akin to the world's greatest cathedrals. For others, the land should be used for industry and recreation.

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The Light in Her Eyes
by Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix

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Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher, founded a Qur’an school for girls in Damascus, Syria, 30 years ago. Every summer, her female students immerse themselves in a rigorous study of Islam. A surprising cultural shift is underway — women are claiming space within the mosque. Shot right before the uprising in Syria erupted, The Light in Her Eyes offers an extraordinary portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their dreams. An Official Selection of the 2011 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. (90 minutes)

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My Reincarnation
by Jennifer Fox

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Filmed over 20 years by acclaimed documentarian Jennifer Fox, My Reincarnation chronicles the epic story of exiled Tibetan Buddhist master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and his Western-born son, Yeshi. As Namkai Norbu rises as a teacher in the West, Yeshi, recognized from birth as the reincarnation of a famed Buddhist master, breaks away to embrace the modern world. Can the father convince his son to keep the family’s spiritual legacy alive? With intimate access to both the family and H.H. The Dalai Lama, Fox distills a decades-long drama into a universal story about love, transformation and destiny. Produced in association with American Documentary | POV. (90 minutes)

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New Muslim Cool
by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor

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Puerto Rican-American rapper Hamza Pérez pulled himself out of drug dealing and street life 12 years ago and became a Muslim. Now he's moved to Pittsburgh's tough North Side to start a new religious community, rebuild his shattered family and take his message of faith to other young people through hard-hitting hip-hop music. But when the FBI raids his mosque, Hamza must confront the realities of the post-9/11 world, and himself. New Muslim Cool takes viewers on Hamza's ride through streets, slums and jail cells — following his spiritual journey to some surprising places in an America that never stops changing. Produced in association with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).

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Only the Young
by Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims

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Only the Young follows three unconventional Christian teenagers coming of age in a small Southern California town. Skateboarders Garrison and Kevin, and Garrison's on-and-off girlfriend, Skye, wrestle with the eternal questions of youth: friendship, true love and the promise of the future. Yet their lives are also touched by the distress signals of contemporary America—foreclosed homes, abandoned businesses and adults in financial trouble. As graduation approaches, these issues become shocking realities. With sun-drenched visuals, lyrical storytelling and a soul-music soundtrack, Only the Young embodies the innocence and candor of its youthful subjects—and of adolescence itself.

 

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Soldiers of Conscience
by Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg

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When is it right to kill? In the midst of war, is it right to refuse? Eight U.S. soldiers today, some who killed and some who said no, reveal their inner moral dilemmas in Soldiers of Conscience. Made with official permission of the U.S. Army, the film transcends politics to explore the tension between spiritual values and military orders. Soldiers follows the stories of both conscientious objectors and those who criticize them. Through this clash of views, the film discovers a surprising common ground: all soldiers are "soldiers of conscience," torn between the demands of duty and the call of conscience.

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FILMS FROM THE ARCHIVE

Films that are currently unavailable in our free lending library but that we recommend for group and classroom screenings.

Edge of Dreaming
by Amy Hardie

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Scottish filmmaker Amy Hardie has built a career making science documentaries that reflect her rational temperament. When she dreamed one night that her horse was dying, only to wake the next morning and find the horse dead, she dismissed the incident as a coincidence. Then she dreamed she would die at age 48 — only one year away. When Hardie does get ill, just as the dream predicted, she visits neuroscience experts and eventually a shaman. The Edge of Dreaming is an evocative, intimate chronicle of that year and a fascinating investigation into the human subconscious.

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The Camden 28
by Anthony Giacchino

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How far would you go to stop a war? "The Camden 28" recalls a 1971 raid on a Camden, New Jersey draft board office by "Catholic Left" activists protesting the Vietnam War and its effects on urban America. Arrested on site in a clearly planned sting, the protesters included four Catholic priests, a Lutheran minister and 23 others. "The Camden 28" reveals the story behind the arrests — a provocative tale of government intrigue and personal betrayal — and the ensuing legal battle, which Supreme Court Justice William Brennan called "one of the great trials of the 20th century." Thirty-five years later, the participants take stock of their motives, fears and the costs of their activism — and its relevance to America today.

This film is not currently available in our free lending library.

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Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust
by Oren Rudavsky and Menachem Daum

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Is it possible to heal wounds and bitterness passed down through generations? An Orthodox Jewish father tries to alert his adult sons to the dangers of creating impenetrable barriers between themselves and those outside their faith. He takes them on an emotional journey to Poland to track down the family who risked their lives to hide their grandfather for more than two years during World War II. Like many children of survivors, the sons feel that Poland is a country that is incurably anti-Semitic, but it is precisely here that they meet people who personify the highest levels of compassion. "Hiding and Seeking" explores the Holocaust's effect on faith in God as well as faith in our fellow human beings. A co-presentation with the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

This film is not currently available in our free lending library.

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The Tailenders
by Adele Horne

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Global Recordings Network, founded in Los Angeles in 1939, has produced audio versions of Bible stories in over 5,500 languages, and aims to record in every language on earth. They distribute the recordings, along with ultra-low-tech hand-wind players, in isolated regions and among displaced migrant workers. GRN calls their target audience "the tailenders" because they are the last to be reached by worldwide evangelism. Filmed in the Solomon Islands, Mexico, India and the United States, "The Tailenders" is an unusual filmic essay that examines the missionaries' strategic use of media and the intersection of missionary activity and global capitalism.

This film is not currently available in our free lending library.

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This Way Up
by Georgi Lazarevski

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This is a story about a wall — the separations it's meant to enforce, and the unintended ones it gives birth to. The security wall being constructed by Israel on the West Bank has divided Palestinian families and communities. It has also isolated the Catholic-run Our Lady of Sorrows nursing home outside of Jerusalem, leaving its feisty residents to face old age in the throes of one of the world's most bitter conflicts. With beautiful imagery, moments of laughter and use of a quietly eccentric older guide, This Way Up examines the social, economic and religious barriers that arise from physical ones.

This film is not currently available in our free lending library.

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Buy the Educational DVD | Visit POV Film Website

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Left: WHO KILLED VINCENT CHIN? by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima (POV 1989)