Other Film & Video

Below you'll find a selection of films related to religious diversity and interfaith relations in America. Movies on the American Muslim and American Sikh experience are of special interest. Contact staff@pluralism.org with suggestions for additions to this growing list.

Hamtramck, USAFeatured: Hamtramck, USA (2020) Documentary

Hamtramck, Michigan is a city built by immigrants. The city thrived thanks to Polish Catholic immigrants drawn to the industrial boom of America. In the late 1990's, Bangladeshi and Yemeni Muslim immigrants revitalized this post-industrial city. This multi-ethnic city prides itself on its mantra 'The World in 2 Square Miles,' boasts about the over 30 languages spoken in the schools and the diversity that comes with it. However, when it comes to the city's politics, the city quickly splits into factions, pitting communities against each other. From these tensions, candidates emerge, hoping to be the voice for their community in City Hall."

Sacred MinnesotaFeatured: Sacred Minnesota (2020) Documentary Series

”People from all walks of life find and create sacred places in Minnesota. A sacred landscape called Bdote connects contemporary Dakota people. Fleeing genocide, Cambodians build America’s largest Buddhist temple to find healing. Immigrants from Mexico find safety and identity through home altars. A Hindu temple in an old church is a place of welcome for all. Produced with Carleton College.”

Cover art for An American MosqueAn American Mosque  (2012) Documentary Short

“An American Mosque is a timely documentary about religious freedom and the struggle against intolerance set in a rural California town. Sparked by the destruction of a mosque, we witness how a farming community responds to hate through painful but ultimately positive discussions about the perception of Islam in America and our responsibility to defend everyone’s constitutional right to worship.”

The cover of ArrangedArranged (2007) Narrative

“Arranged centers on the friendship between an Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim woman who meet as first-year teachers at a public school in Brooklyn. Over the course of the year, they learn they share much in common – not least of which is that they are both going through the process of arranged marriages."

Cover of Brooklyn, InshallahBrooklyn, Inshallah (2018) Documentary

“Father Khader El-Yateem, an Arab American Pastor from Palestine, and Linda Sarsour, organizer of the Women’s March on Washington, come together in the wake of President Trump’s anti-Muslim policies. With Sarsour’s support, El-Yateem runs for New York City council. Will he be the first Arab American to ever win a seat in the race? The documentary follows the drama of his candidacy.”

Dastaar (narrative)Dastaar (2016) Narrative Short

Dastaar follows a young interracial couple as they navigate social tensions in the days following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, forced to navigate a sudden climate of fear and dangerous assumptions.”

 

daystarDastaar: Defending Sikh Identity (2004) Documentary Short

“[Dastaar] presents the struggle of the Sikh American community against discrimination and violence caused by ignorance of an essential symbol of the Sikh faith -- the dastaar, or turban. … The film explores how images in the media fuel the association of the turban with terrorism, leading to the widespread discrimination against Sikhs. The film also shows the efforts made by the Sikh community to counter this discrimination through a combination of community activism, legal action, legislation and education.”

The cover of The Dhamma BrothersThe Dhamma Brothers (2008) Documentary

“Donaldson Correctional Facility is situated in the Alabama countryside southwest of Birmingham. 1,500 men, considered the state's most dangerous prisoners, live behind high security towers and a double row of barbed and electrical wire fences. Within this dark environment, a spark was ignited. A growing network of men had been gathering to meditate on a regular basis. … But were these ancient ideas, as described in the teachings of the Buddha 2600 years ago, now relevant? Could the framework of this approach to suffering be translated into some basic principles of treatment that would be applicable to 21st century North American prisoners?”

Cover of Divided We FallDivided We Fall (2006) Documentary

“A college student sets out across America in the aftermath of 9/11, camera in hand, to document hate violence against Sikh and Muslim American communities. From the still-shocked streets of Ground Zero to the desert towns of the American west, her journey confronts the forces unleashed in a time of national crisis–racism and religion, fear and forgiveness–until she finds the heart of America: halfway around the world.”

The Feeling of Being WatchedThe Feeling of Being Watched (2018) Documentary

“When journalist Assia Boundaoui investigates rumors of surveillance in her Arab-American neighborhood in Chicago, she uncovers one of the largest FBI terrorism probes conducted before 9/11 and reveals its enduring impact on the community.”

 

Cover of Fordson: Faith, Fasting, FootballFordson: Faith, Fasting, Football (2011) Documentary

Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football 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.”

Cover of God in AmericaGod in America (2010) Documentary Series

A co-production of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE, this six-hour series examines how religious dissidents helped shape the American concept of religious liberty and the controversial evolution of that ideal in the nation's courts and political arena; how religious freedom and waves of new immigrants and religious revivals fueled competition in the religious marketplace; how movements for social reform -- from abolition to civil rights -- galvanized men and women to put their faith into political action; and how religious faith influenced conflicts from the American Revolution to the Cold War.”

Cover of The Mosque in MorgantownThe Mosque in Morgantown (2009) Documentary

“One woman's campaign against extremism in her West Virginia mosque throws the community into turmoil, raising questions that cut to the heart of American Islam.”

 

Cover of New Muslim CoolNew Muslim Cool (2009) Documentary

“Puerto Rican American rapper Hamza Pérez ended his life as a drug dealer 12 years ago, and started down a new path as a young 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 his uncompromising music as part of the hip-hop duo M-Team. ... But when the FBI raids his mosque, Hamza must confront the realities of the post-9/11 world, and challenge himself. He starts reaching for a deeper understanding of his faith, discovering new connections with people from Christian and Jewish communities.”

Cover of Of ManyOf Many (2013) Documentary Short

“Set against the dramatic backdrop of 9/11, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the tension between Jewish and Muslim students on college campuses, Of Many focuses on the surprising and transformative relationship between an orthodox rabbi and imam, who serve as university chaplains in New York City. Through a series of voyages to communities struck by catastrophe, we witness young religious Jews and Muslims working together and overcoming long-standing divides. Timely and funny, this short documentary offers an inspiring and hopeful narrative of friendship and cooperation between faiths."

The cover of Red, White, and BeardRed, White, and Beard (2014) Narrative Short

“Red, White, and Beard is a quirky, lighthearted glance into Sikh Captain America and the man behind this growing phenomenon. As he brings the character to the American public, he hopes they recognize their prejudices towards Sikhs and other religious, ethnic, and cultural groups.”

 

Redneck MuslimRedneck Muslim (2017) Documentary Short

Redneck Muslim explores the intersection of American Muslim and Southern ‘redneck’ cultures, opening an urgently needed cross-cultural inquiry about racial justice at a time of deep polarization and increasingly strident white nationalism.”

Poster for Same GodSame God (2018) Documentary

“In December 2015, the political rhetoric against Muslims was escalating. Dr. Larycia Hawkins, an African-American political science professor at Wheaton College—a prestigious evangelical school outside of Chicago—wanted to show support for Muslim women. She posted a photo of herself in a hijab on Facebook. ‘I love my Muslim neighbor,’ she wrote, ‘because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity…. we worship the Same God.’ Within days, Wheaton’s Provost suspended Dr. Hawkins, eventually moving to terminate her tenure. Were the school’s actions a move to protect its Christian theological purity, as it insisted? Or was it, as some suggested, the result of racism and Islamophobia?”

SitSit (2016) Documentary Short

“A film about purpose in life, seen through the eyes of a Buddhist monk and his son.”

 

 

a son's sacrificeA Son's Sacrifice (2007) Documentary Short

A Son’s Sacrifice traces Imran's journey to convince himself, his father and his Muslim brethren that he is a part of their community. Produced by a Muslim-Jewish filmmaking team, the Uddin family's intergenerational story speaks to the shared experience of the children of immigrants.”

Stranger SisterStranger/Sister (2020) Documentary Short

“The United States is experiencing a surge in hate crimes as a tide of white supremacy gathers momentum nationwide. Muslim and Jewish communities are particularly at risk. Stranger/Sister is the story of two ordinary women, one Muslim and one Jewish, who dare to believe they can join hands to stop the wave of hate. Overcoming a long history of distrust between their two religions, they build a movement that turns strangers into sisters, challenging our assumptions about how to fight hate in America.”

Tariq's CubeTariq’s Cube (2017) Documentary Short

“Follow Tariq Ali into the world of Rubik’s cube competitions. His progress as a speed-cuber mirrors his journey growing up from a boy into a young man. Tariq's path is full of ups and downs, as he comes to terms with a family tragedy and his complex multiracial identity as a Muslim American in a country where hate crimes are on the rise. In the midst of it all Tariq says, ‘I just love cubing so much…I come to the competitions and I feel like I leave a better person.’”

Two GodsTwo Gods (2020) Documentary 

An intimate documentary about faith, renewal, and healing, Two Gods follows a Muslim casket maker and ritual body washer in New Jersey. ... Shot in a striking black-and-white, Two Gods explores the juxtaposition of grief and the rituals of death with the vibrancy and potential of adolescence. The documentary turns an empathetic lens on Muslim American stories, ultimately crafting a moving portrait of both the intimate moments and the complexities of the everyday Muslim American experience.’”

Poster for UnMosquedUnMosqued (2013) Documentary

UnMosqued is a documentary film which aims to highlight the growing need for reform in many of the mosques found in America. The purpose of the documentary is to engage a group of people who have been disconnected from their local mosque and explore the various reasons that have led to this sentiment. It is clear that many youth who are likely to be second or even third generation Americans have felt judged or unwelcome at a mosque. It may be the degree of friendliness or a lack of ownership that breeds this feeling. Masajid may not be doing enough to attract and retain the youth, which further alienates the future members of the community from using the mosque space for their spiritual growth.”

waking in oak creekWaking in Oak Creek (2014) Documentary Short

“As the Sikh community in Oak Creek, Wisconsin prepares for Sunday prayers, a deadly hate attack shatters their lives, but not their resilience. After six worshipers are killed by a white supremacist, the local community finds inspiration in the Sikh tradition of forgiveness and faith. Lieutenant Murphy, shot 15 times in the attack, joins the mayor and police chief as they forge new bonds with the Sikh community. Young temple members, still grieving, emerge as leaders in the quest to end the violence. In the year following the tragedy, thousands gather for vigils and community events to honor the victims and seek connection. Together, a community rocked by hate is awakened and transformed by the Sikh spirit of relentless optimism.”

Shelbyville CoverWelcome to Shelbyville (2009) Documentary

“Change has come to rural Tennessee. Set against the backdrop of a shaky economy, 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.”

Logo for What Do You Believe Now?What Do You Believe Now? (2019) Documentary

"Seventeen years after the 2002 documentary What Do You Believe Now? in which six diverse American teenagers shared their spiritual struggles and aspirations, we revisit them to reveal how their beliefs have changed. In this new 'before and after' film What Do You Believe Now? a Catholic, Pagan, Jew, Muslim, Lakota, and Buddhist offer their deeply personal faith journeys, life challenges, and evolving ideas about higher powers, life purpose, the nature of suffering, religious intolerance and death. They do so against the backdrop of a society in flux and amidst growing religious polarization and disengagement."