Documentary Film Events
The following events have been sponsored by the Pluralism Project to showcase documentary films dealing with issues of religious pluralism. To view all of our events, click here. You can also view events by type: affiliate, case study, civic, documentary films, interfaculty, interfaith, international, student conferences, and women’s networks.
Pluralism Project and Center for the Study of World Religions Co-Host Film Night on Sikhism
On April 9th, the Pluralism Project and the Center for the Study of World Religions host a screening of Tragedy in Oak Creek and Dastaar: Defending the Sikh Identity. In Tragedy in Oak Creek filmmaker Valarie Kaur visits the Sikh community of Oak Creek, Wisconsin in the days after the tragic shooting in August 2012 that left six worshippers murdered and the gunman dead. Dastaar: Defending the Sikh Identity is a brief documentary explores the ways in which the Sikh community have responded to discrimination they have faced as a visible minority in American society, especially post-9/11.
The Center for the Study of World Religions and the Pluralism Project Co-Host Film Night
The Center for the Study of World Religions and the Pluralism Project partnered to screen the films “La Trappe” and “In Ordinary Life” on Tuesday, March 12th. A question and answer session with the films’ director, Canadian filmmaker and Harvard PhD student Lina Verchery, followed. Despite inclement weather, the evening drew over thirty people.
“La Trappe” explores the delicate connections that exist between Buddhist monastics and lobster fisherman who, despite difference of language, culture,and religion, share a belief in life as a cycle. “In Ordinary Life” highlights everyday experiences of life and death through the eyes of the Buddhist monastics at the Avatamsaka Sagely Monastery in Calgary, Alberta. To view “La Trappe” on the National Film Board of Canada’s website, please visit http://www.nfb.ca/film/trap.
On April 12th, The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University, the Harvard Foundation, and the Pluralism Project hosted a screening of the film "Fordson: Faith, Fasting, and Football." The film follows a predominately Arab-American high school football team from a working-class Detroit suburb as they practice for their big cross-town rivalry game during the last ten days of Ramadan, revealing a community holding onto its Islamic faith while they struggle for acceptance in post 9/11 America.
The screening was followed by a discussion with the film’s director and executive producer, Rashid Ghazi. Click here to view the trailer.
On October 25, 2011, as part of its fall programming for its 2011-2012 International Series on world religions and interfaith dialogue, the Mississippi University for Women will screen our documentary film, Fremont, USA. For more information about this and other events in the series, click here. The series is made possible through financial assistance from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council.
"Fremont, USA" Screening and Panel Hosted by Tri-City Interfaith Council
On June 16, 2011 the Tri-City Interfaith Council of Fremont, Newark, and Union City California sponsored a screening of our documentary, Fremont, USA. The film explores how the city of Fremont, California – the most religiously diverse city of its size in the US – responded in an extraordinary way to the tragic murder of Alia Ansari, a Muslim woman, in 2006. The screening and interfaith panel discussion was hosted at Centerville Presbyterian Church at 360 Central Avenue in Fremont, California – the same church that hosted a citywide interfaith memorial service after Ansari’s death almost five years ago.
Pluralism Project Screens Fremont, USA at Lasell College
On February 15, Pluralism Project Research Director Elinor Pierce led a screening of the film Fremont, USA: A City’s Encounter with Religious Diversity. The screening was organized for Dr. Dana Janbek’s “Intercultural Communication” courses at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts, and was open to the entire college. Following the screening, Ellie led a Q&A session with audience members, responding to questions at the intersection of religion and communication, and relating the film’s core issues to the context of Greater Boston.
Pluralism Project Co-Sponsors Harvard Interfaith Awareness Week
The Pluralism Project was one of several co-sponsors of Harvard Interfaith Awareness Week, February 7-11, coinciding with the first-ever annual UN World Interfaith Harmony Week. As one of the week’s events, on February 9, the Pluralism Project sponsored a screening of Fremont, USA: A City’s Encounter with Religious Diversity. Dr. Diana Eck offered introductory remarks, and Pluralism Project Research Director Elinor Pierce – who co-directed and co-produced the film with longtime affiliate Rachel Antell – responded to audience questions about the filmmaking process, and provided updates on how interfaith activity and civic engagement in Fremont, California have continued to evolve. Dr. Diana Eck and Assistant Director Kathryn Lohre were featured in an Odyssey Networks video series on UN World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Fremont, USA screened in Barnstable, Massachusetts and Kansas City, Missouri
On October 20, our documentary film Fremont, USA was featured as part of the Town of Barnstable's Peace Week in a screening at the Cape Cod Community College. Then on November 11, it was screened at the Plaza Library in Kansas City, Missouri. The event, part of the Cultural Conversations series, included a discussion relating the film to religious diversity in Kansas City.
On Thursday, October 21, 2010, the Pluralism Project screened the documentary film “Welcome to Shelbyville” for a diverse audience of Harvard students, staff, and faculty, local civic and religious leaders, representatives from immigrant advocacy groups, and members of the Greater Boston community. Directed and produced by Kim Snyder and executive produced by BeCause Foundation in association with Active Voice, "Welcome to Shelbyville takes an intimate look at a southern town as its residents – whites and African Americans, Latinos and Somalis – grapple with their beliefs, their histories and their evolving ways of life." The film was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Pluralism Project Director Diana Eck on issues of immigration and religious pluralism, and how the lessons of Shelbyville can be applied to our own context in Greater Boston. Panelists included Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries Executive Director Alexander Levering Kern, Agencia ALPHA Director of Programs Damaris López, and Nancy Khalil, a doctoral student in Social Anthropology at Harvard University, and a member of the Muslim American Society Boston and the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center Board of Directors. Event co-sponsors included the Center for the Study of World Religions, the Outreach Center at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Harvard Organization for Latin America (HOLA), United World College, the Harvard Islamic Society, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries (CMM), Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), Agencia ALPHA, Active Voice, and the BeCause Foundation.
Michigan Community Scholars Program
On Thursday and Friday, November 19 and 20, 2009, Research Director Ellie Pierce was invited to Ann Arbor by the Michigan Community Scholars Program (MCSP) for screenings of Fremont, USA and a series of conversations about interfaith relations at the University and in the community. On November 19, Ellie joined students in Prof. Jim Crowfoot’s class on “Environment, Religions, Spirituality, and Sustainability” for a case discussion; this was followed by a Campus-Wide Discussion of Interfaith Relations, which included clips from Fremont, USA, student presentations, and small group discussions. That evening, the Ann Arbor District Library hosted a screening of Fremont, USA and a panel discussion of members of various local religious and interfaith organizations. Each participant related the film to their own vision for improving interfaith relations in Ann Arbor. On November 20, the Ann Arbor District Library hosted a second screening of Fremont, USA for a group of faith leaders in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti; this screening was followed by a discussion of the current challenges to interfaith relations, and how to establish better networks of communication and response. Finally, the Michigan Community Scholars Program hosted a small group discussion, facilitated by MCSP student Abby White, about forming a new student committee on interfaith relations.
On October 10, 2009, the Pluralism Project co-sponsored a screening of New Muslim Cool at the Sackler Museum at Harvard University. Directed by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, this film tells the true life story of Hamza Pérez, a Puerto Rican American hip hop artist who converted to Islam at age 21. Before the screening, the Sackler Museum offered extended hours for the special exhibit, Sacred Spaces: The World of Dervishes, Fakirs and Sufis. After the film, Hamza Pérez answered questions from the nearly 300 students, faculty, staff, religious leaders, and community members in attendance. Dr. Diana L. Eck, director of the Pluralism Project; Ray Williams, director of Education, Harvard Art Museums and Pluralism Project Affiliate; and Dr. Ali Asani, associate director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program also offered their reflections on the film.
On June 13, 2009, the Pluralism Project co-sponsored a screening and discussion of The Mosque in Morgantown at Harvard University. Directed by Boston-based filmmaker Brittany Huckabee, this documentary explores journalist Asra Nomani’s controversial campaign against what she believes are warning signs of Islamic extremism in her local mosque in Morgantown, West Virginia: the exclusion of women, an intolerance towards non-believers, and a growing suspicion of the West. After the screening, Dr. Diana L. Eck moderated a discussion on the film with Brittany Huckabee; Dr. Jocelyne Cesari, director of the Islam in the West Program; and Dr. Leila Ahmed, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. The Mosque in Morgantown premiered nationwide on PBS on June 15, 2009. The event was co-sponsored by the Pluralism Project, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, and the Islam in the West Program at Harvard University.
On May 15, 2009, the Pluralism Project sponsored the U.S. premiere of the short documentary film, La Trappe. Directed by Harvard Divinity School student Lina Verchery (MDiv ’10), this film explores the surprising connection between the French-speaking Acadian lobster fishermen of Chéticamp and their neighbors: the Buddhist monks and nuns of Gampo Abbey, Shambhala's monastic headquarters. Although seemingly divided by language, culture and religion, these two communities nevertheless share more than meets the eye. The film was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Diana L. Eck. Panelists included Dr. Christopher Queen, lecturer on the Study of Religion at Harvard University; Frank Reynolds, former resident of Gampo Abbey; and Lina Verchery, director of La Trappe. This event was sponsored by the Pluralism Project in partnership with Alliance Française, Boston Shambhala Center, Consulate General of Boston, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, and French Consulate of Boston.
On March 5, 2009, the Pluralism Project cosponsored the premiere of its new documentary film, Fremont, U.S.A.: A City’s Encounter with Religious Diversity at Harvard University. Produced and directed by Rachel Antell and Elinor Pierce, this film explores the complex and challenging issues of religious diversity in small California city transformed by new immigration. Using the themes explored in Fremont, U.S.A. as a starting point, Dr. Diana L. Eck, Pluralism Project director, moderated a lively panel discussion on civic engagement and interfaith action in Greater Boston. Special guest panelists included Rev. Cheng Imm Tan, director, Mayor's Office of New Bostonians; M. Bilal Kaleem, executive director, Muslim American Society - Boston Chapter; and Alexander Levering Kern, executive director, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries. The film, discussion, and reception were well attended by University students, faculty, Pluralism Project researchers, local religious and civic leaders, and members of the diverse faith communities of Greater Boston.
Crisis in Faith: Zoroastrians Today
On April 18, 2008, the Pluralism Project hosted a partial screening and panel discussion of Tenaz Dubash's documentary film, Crisis in Faith: Zoroastrians Today at Harvard Divinity School. Crisis in Faith is a personal journey about Tenaz's quest for the truth around the controversies facing followers of her faith today, focusing on the dwindling number of Zoroastrians worldwide and the treatment of Zoroastrians as a religious minority in Iran. The film was shot in Boston, Chicago, Iran, India, New York, and Vancouver. Tenaz was present for a panel discussion with scholars Dina McIntyre (retired lawyer and member of the Zoroastrian community), Dr. Oktor Skjaervo (Harvard University), Dr. Nasswan Dossabhoy (Harvard Zoroastrian Association & Endicott College) and Dr. Diana Eck (Harvard University & The Pluralism Project). The event was co-sponsored by the Pluralism Project, ZAGBA (Zoroastrian Association of the Greater Boston Area), and the Zoroastrian Associations of Harvard and MIT.
A Dream in Doubt
On March 19, 2008, the Pluralism Project co-sponsored a screening of the documentary, A Dream in Doubt, presented by the Harvard Graduate School of Education Diversity Innovation Fund and the Committee on the Study of Religion. The film’s producer, Preetmohan Singh, Deputy Director of Public Policy at the Interfaith Alliance in Washington, D.C. was present. This award-winning documentary explores the fate of the Sikh-American community in Phoenix, Arizona in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks. It features Rana Sodhi, an Indian immigrant whose turban and beard—articles of his Sikh faith—now symbolize America’s new enemy. More information about the film can be found at: www.adreamindoubt.org
Advanced Screening of Constantine's Sword
On March 5, 2008, the Pluralism Project was one of ten cosponsors of an advanced screening of James Carroll's Constantine's Sword, a documentary film directed by Oren Jacoby. According to the film's website,"Constantine's Sword is a compelling personal narrative - a kind of detective story - as one man uncovers the dark areas of his own past, searching for a better future." Author and Boston Globe columnist James Carroll, who co-produced the film, was present to answer questions following the screening, which took place at Boston University. Organized by Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, the screening was also co-sponsored by the American Jewish Committee Greater Boston Chapter, Boston Theological Institute, Brandeis University Interfaith Chaplaincy and BUILD Fellows Program, Hebrew College, Jewish Community Relations Committee, Marsh Chapel at Boston University, Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, the Massachusetts Council of Churches, the Paulist Center, and the RUAH Spirituality Institute.
The Mosque in Morgantown
On December 11, 2007, the Pluralism Project sponsored a rough cut screening of the film, The Mosque in Morgantown, for a select audience of students and scholars. This documentary chronicles the conflict that arises in small-town West Virginia when Asra Nomani, a Muslim feminist, challenges women’s roles at the local mosque. It captures the stories of Nomani and other mosque members as they struggle to shape the future of their community. The film is an entry for viewers into questions about Islam in America, women in Islam, and what it means to be a “moderate” Muslim in America. At the screening, discussion was moderated by Director/Producer Brittany Huckabee, principal of Version One Productions, Inc., and Associate Producer Ann Kim, graduate of Harvard College. The film is scheduled to premiere in fall 2008.
On May 6-7, 2006, the Pluralism Project hosted a preview and director's cut screening of Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath at the Harvard Film Archive. Writer/Producer Valarie Kaur, an affiliate of the Pluralism Project and a master's candidate at Harvard Divinity School, and Director/Producer Sharat Raju were on hand to answer audience questions. The auditorium of the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts was filled to capacity with artists, academics, activists, and citizens from around greater Boston. The film premiered on September 15, 2006 in Phoenix, Arizona.
On April 25, 2005, we premiered a documentary film produced and directed by one of our affiliates, Rachel Antell, and narrated by Dr. Diana L. Eck called Acting on Faith: Women’s New Religious Activism in America. The film was developed out of the conversations that have taken place in our women's networks over the years. It features Dr. Shamita Das Dasgupta, co-founder of Manavi, Inc.; Dr. Leila Al-Marayati, spokesperson for Muslim Women's League; and Mushim Ikeda-Nash, former chairperson of the San Francisco Zen Center Board Committee on Diversity and Multiculturalism and diversity facilitator.