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Silverdocs Documentary FF

Online Dailies Coverage of SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival taking place June 21-27, 2010 at the AFI Silver Theater


Religion, Politics And Film: An Explosive Combination

 Buddha's Lost ChildrenBuddha's Lost Children

Saturday, June 16----------With religion and core beliefs the source of both comfort and conflict in the modern world, SILVERDOCS wisely decided to dedicate a special section of the Festival to an exploration of the unique role of religion in social and political discourse. Dubbed BEYOND BELIEF: RELIGION, POLITICS AND FILM, the program has presented a provocative series of films and panel discussions. “The documentary form, which takes personal stories and launches them into the public arena, is the perfect medium in which to explore how deeply personal issues of faith are informing our public discourse" Festival Director Patricia Finneran commented. "This side-bar, drawing filmmakers from around the globe and leveraging the rich resources of the Washington, DC area significantly extends that commitment.” 

As a kick-off to thie program, SILVERDOCS partnered with the “Stranger than Fiction” Documentary film series at New York City’s IFC Film Center to present Bill Jersey’s rarely-screened Academy-Award nominated 1967 documentary A TIME FOR  BURNING this past November. The film follows an idealist Lutheran pastor in Omaha, Nebraska who asks his all-white congregation to reach out to black Lutherans, sending shock waves through the church. The film was originally rejected by major networks for being too controversial, while today it is as relevant as ever. For the Festival itself, the program strand is presenting 7 features and 6 short films, which, for the first time, will be up for a special Beyond Belief Award, that will be announced at the Sterling Awards Ceremony later today. 

Audience Of OneAudience Of OneBEYOND BELIEF FEATURES

AUDIENCE OF ONE / USA (Director: Michael Jacobs)—San Francisco Pentecostal minister Richard Gazowsky saw his first movie at the age of 40. A year later, God instructed him to write and direct an epic Biblical sci-fi movie. But when the film crew goes on location in Italy, even a divine mission doesn't spare them from Murphy's Law-or the ravings of an egomaniacal director. Washington, DC Premiere.

BRIDGE OVER THE WADI / ISRAEL (Directors: Barak and Tomer Heymann)—The Bridge over the Wadi school is an experiment-what happens when Arab and Israeli children attend school together, learning each other's language, culture, and religious traditions? The open acceptance of the children throws the complexity of adult religious and political conflicts into stark relief. US Premiere.

Hard As NailsHard As NailsBUDDHA'S LOST CHILDREN / Netherlands (Director: Mark Verkerk)—A former boxing champion turned monk takes in orphaned children in a poor remote region of Thailand near the Burmese border and transforms their lives. Washington, DC Premiere.

HARD AS NAILS / USA (Director: David Holbrooke)—An un-ordained evangelical Catholic youth minister travels around the Northeast winning converts and arousing controversy because of the extreme physicality and provocative nature of his preaching style. Washington, DC Premiere.

LIVING GODDESS / United Kingdom (Director: Ishbel Whitaker)—A lush tale of a girl-child, considered to be the incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kumari. She lives a peaceful and sheltered life, worshipped even by her parents, while outside her palace, the people are fighting for democracy against a despotic king, the fruition of an ancient prophecy. World Premiere.

Living GoddessLiving GoddessORTHODOX STANCE / USA (Director: Jason Hutt)—An exhilarating study in contrasts. A young Ukrainian Jewish immigrant rises to prominence in New York City's urban boxing gyms, but his fervent commitment to Hasidic beliefs complicates his boxing ambitions. World Premiere.

THE MONASTERY / Denmark (Director: Pernille Rose Grønkjaer)—Mr. Vig donates his Danish castle to an orthodox Russian community led by Sister Amvrosija, who has different ideas about how a monastery should be run. Washington, D.C. Premiere.

Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Online Dailies Editor


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About Silverdocs Documentary FF

Sandy Mandelberger
(International Media Resources)

Online Dailies Coverage of SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival, taking place at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, Maryland from June 21 to 27, 2010.

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