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.

Test 222American Made (2003) Narrative Short

“When a Sikh American family’s SUV breaks down on a remote desert highway during their all-American road trip to the Grand Canyon, they are confronted by more than the threat of an unfriendly terrain. Anant, an Indian-born Sikh who wears a traditional turban, sees this as just another challenge—an opportunity to save his family and tell great stories about their escape from danger.”

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.”

A still from a scene in DastaarDastaar (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.”

A still of a scene from Dastaar: Defending Sikh IdentityDastaar: 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? Were these prisoners, many of them survivors of personal trauma, even capable of withstanding the emotionally and physically demanding experience of a Vipassana program requiring over 100 hours of silent meditation? The Dhamma Brothers tells a dramatic story of human potential and transformation as it closely follows and documents the stories of a group of prisoners as they enter into this arduous program.”

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.”

A still from a scene in 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

“…God in America explores the tumultuous 400-year history of the intersection of religion and public life in America, from the first European settlements to the 2008 presidential election. 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. Raising his two kids as a single dad and longing for companionship, Hamza finds love on a Muslim networking website and seizes the chance for happiness in a second marriage. 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."

Cover of On RetreatOn Retreat (2019) Documentary Short

“Judith Skinner has spent 23+ years on a Buddhist retreat in her San Francisco studio apartment. The city has changed dramatically over the past two decades, but Judith's routine and rotating roster of feline companions have not.”

Prison Blues (2015) Documentary Short

“A Ta’leef Collective documentary film, directed and produced by Mustafa Davis, is a documentary that gives the story of two men, Rafi Peterson and Amir Tate. It explores the harsh realities of the prison industrial complex in the United States through the lens of a Muslim spiritual narrative, beginning with their troubled childhoods in the Southside of Chicago. These men were put into prison as young men for crimes committed early in their lives, and ended up serving enough time to become men in the federal penitentiary system. Both Rafi and Amir “found faith” in Islam while in prison. It is actually estimated that 80% of inmates who similarly find faith convert to Islam. This documentary explores the reality of incarceration, showing us these men not as common criminals, but as human beings with real life stories.”

Red, 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 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.”

Same 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? Same God directed by Wheaton alumna Linda Midgett, follows the journey of Dr. Hawkins while exploring the polarization taking place within the evangelical community over issues of race, Islam, religious freedom…and Donald Trump.”

Sit (2016) Documentary Short

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

A 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/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 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.’”

UnMosqued (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 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.”

Welcome 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.”

What Do You Believe? (2003) Documentary

“In this award-winning documentary featured on PBS, a religiously diverse group of teens reveal their inner struggles and personal beliefs about faith, morality, suffering, death, prayer, the purpose of life and the divine. Without a hint of dogma they candidly discuss everything from hormones to heaven, deflating misperceptions and stereotypes and making a strong case for a more tolerant America. What Do You Believe? features Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim, Native American, Jewish, Pagan as well as Christian teens. Accompanied by an in-depth 28-page activities guide, What Do You Believe? is an excellent resource for comparative religion courses and exploring and promoting diversity in high schools and youth programs.”

What Do You Believe Now? (2019) Documentary

What happens to your spiritual and religious beliefs over time? 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. Designed to be a stand-alone film, What Do You Believe Now? is an invaluable addition to any discussion on religious diversity and millennial spirituality in America.