The Hartley Film Foundation's seed grants and fiscal sponsorship program support filmmakers in developing innovative documentaries about world religions and spirituality.
A film by Musa Syeed and Omar Mullick
30 Mosques/30 Days follows the quirky cross-country road trip of two Muslim-American twenty-somethings over the course of Ramadan 2011, as they visit a different mosque in a different state every night for 30 days. Bassam Tariq and Aman Ali seek the freedom of the open road, hoping to leave their insecurities at home in New York. But they journey into the most divided America they have ever known, and unwittingly become ambassadors for America’s most contested citizens. Part road trip movie and part new media experiment, 30 Mosques/30 Days challenges our young heroes and audiences with a journey along the boundaries of pluralism to the heart of America.
A film by Sandi DuBowski
The Amichai Film Project traces the dramatic life of Amichai Lau-Lavie, a 21st-century spiritual innovator. Amichai is a link in a 5,772 year-old spiritual chain. His uncle is the former Chief Rabbi of Israel and Amichai descends from 37 generations of rabbis back to King David. Director Sandi DuBowski followed Amichai with his camera over a number of years, during his days as a "Yeshiva boy gone bad," his time as a founder of Storahtelling, a Jewish ritual theater, his creation of the mythic character Rebbetzin Hadassah and his coming out as a gay man. Now Sandi plans to record the next chapter in Amichai’s life, his time of study at The Jewish Theological Seminary and his plans to join "the family business."
A film by Orlando de Guzman
Anak Selatae (Son of the South) follows the journey into manhood of several young Malay-Muslims from the troubled province of Pattani in southern Thailand. Every year, the young men, who work as low-wage migrants in neighboring Malaysia, return home to their village. This time they are being called back for the annual military draft. The draft holds a bitter irony: they are being asked to sacrifice their lives for a country that has failed to include them as Muslims and ethnic Malays in its vision of a monolithic Buddhist Thai culture.
A film by Erik Greenberg Anjou
Cantor Jack Mendelson is one of America’s most influential cantors, or “chazzanim.” In addition to his day job at Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY, he also teaches and coaches several days a week at the Reform and Conservative seminaries. The Cantor’s Project picks up where director Erik Greenberg Anjou’s previous A Cantor’s Tale left off. Jack and his passionate campaign for traditional prayer modes are far from an assured legacy
A film by Hilary Durman, Rosa Rogers and Merieme Addou
In Morocco, a quiet social revolution is underway. Women are working as official Muslim leaders for the first time. Attached to mosques and neighborhoods throughout the country, this new generation of spiritual guides, known as the Morchidat, are using the teachings of Islam to change the conditions and attitudes that foster extremism.
A film by Erik Greenberg Anjou
What makes a Jew? In the oft-quoted rabbinic source “Ethics of the Fathers,” the three pillars of Judaism are earmarked as prayer, study, and gemilut hasidim, or acts of loving kindness. But there’s a fourth pillar – Food...A tender cut of corned beef steeped in its juices. A full-bodied garlic pickle. Spicy brown mustard with grain. A blintz that melts in your mouth like a creamsicle on a summer’s day. Recipes and culinary garnishes from Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Romania. Meet the effusive and charming Ziggy Gruber, a third-generation delicatessen man, owner and maven, as well as Yiddish-speaking French-trained chef, who currently operates one of the country’s most popular, and delicious delis, Kenney and Ziggy’s in Houston. ‘Texas?’ you ask. Shalom, y’all.
A film by David Kennard
Dying at Peace takes a thoughtful look at the best information available about our “final hour” and what lies beyond.
Director David Kennard plans to follow as a “compassionate witness” four terminally ill individuals, their caregivers and families through death and into the week following death. The four individuals will be chosen for their contrasting belief in the afterlife.
A film by Cal Skaggs
What is it like to be a citizen of a country that guarantees freedom of religion, yet continually throws up barriers to practicing the religion of your choice? To be part of a religious minority where the culture is suffused by the majority religion? Faith and Freedom will explore these questions by portraying two religious communities, a Muslim mosque in the U.S. and a Coptic Christian church in Egypt.
A film by Louis Fox
The Flow is a feature-length documentary designed to translate the timeless wisdom of Tao into “…a form that is accessible to the modern world,” a form that director Louis Fox calls a “…ride through the mysterious phenomenon known as ‘being in the zone,’ or ‘flow.’” As Fox describes it: “If we’re open to it, we can find ‘flow’ in anything from making tea to pro basketball to the migration of Monarch butterflies.” A range of individuals from celebrated artists and professional athletes to bike messengers and window washers will demonstrate how to achieve high levels of performance by “getting out of their own ways.”
A film by Kenneth Mandel
The Catholic religious organization Opus Dei has long been a subject of public fascination. Its supporters say that it has reinvigorated Catholicism, by showing ordinary men and women how they can achieve holiness in their everyday lives. In 2002, Pope John Paul II declared the group’s founder, the Spanish priest Josemaria Escriva, to be a saint.
But Opus Dei has also been a lightning rod for controversy. It has been accused of being ultra-secretive, highly influential and overly regimented and overzealous in its recruiting practices. Perhaps most controversial has been the fact that Opus Dei requires its celibate members to practice corporal mortification.
For the first time, Opus Dei has agreed to cooperate with director Kenneth Mandel in a biographical film of Opus Dei’s founder, who lived from 1902 to 1975.