The 2014-2015 Religion and Politics Film Series brings together four documentaries that draw our attention to the many roles that religion and technology play in shaping categories of identity and metrics of exclusion in public life and private practice. Although approaching a wide range of subject matter, each film exposes the subtle but powerful influences that technologies exert on our bodies, minds, and imaginations. In each of these films, race, religion, and nation emerge as contested spaces for defining community and otherness, belonging and exclusion, insider and outsider—categories in which the boundaries of religion and politics often collapse. The filmmaker will be present to discuss their work and answer questions immediately following each screening.
Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath (2008) by Valarie Kaur and Sharat Raju will be the first film presented in the Religion and Politics Film Series. Valarie Kaur was a 20-year-old college student when she set out across America in the aftermath of 9/11, camera in hand, to document hate violence against the Sikh community. From the still-shocked streets of Ground Zero to the desert towns of the American west, her epic journey confronts the forces unleashed in a time of national crisis – racism and religion, fear and forgiveness. This critically acclaimed film was the first feature documentary on post-9/11 racism in America that toured 200 U.S. cities and received a dozen international awards. (Run time 110 minutes)
Valarie Kaur is a national interfaith leader, documentary filmmaker, and lawyer who centers her work around the power of storytelling. She is the founder of Groundswell at Auburn Seminary, a non-profit initiative with 100,000 members that equips people of faith in social movements. Working with students and communities, she has made award-winning films and led campaigns on hate crimes, gun violence, racial profiling, immigration detention, and solitary confinement. Kaur is a frequent public speaker on college and university campuses and regular political contributor on MSNBC to the Melissa Harris-Perry Show. Her opinion essays regularly appear on CNN, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post. Kaur earned degrees at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School, where she founded the Yale Visual Law Project to train students in the art of storytelling for social change.
Sharat Raju is a writer, director, producer, editor, and photographer whose work has earned more than twenty international awards. Divided We Fall was a follow-up project to his acclaimed master’s thesis film, American Made. While a student in the American Film Institute’s renowned directing program, he earned his M.F.A. and received the highest honors conferred upon its graduates, the Richard P. Rogers Award and the Franklin J. Schaffner Award. In 2010, Raju helped create the Yale Visual Law Project, an initiative at Yale Law School that brings together documentary filmmaking and legal scholarship.
This event is co-sponsored by the American Culture Studies program, the Gephardt Institute for Public Service, and the Religious Studies program.
Free and open to all.