“Say Amen, Somebody” sings the praises of gospel music

“Say Amen, Somebody” sings the praises of gospel music

Source:  Los Angeles Times

What has been a very good year for gospel music on film is about to get better.  First came the release of “Amazing Grace,” the record of a legendary 1972 Aretha Franklin gospel performance in Los Angeles, and now comes the re-release of the 1982 documentary, “Say Amen, Somebody.”

Directed by George T. Nierenberg, the film profiles legends such as Thomas A. Dorsey, often considered the creator of gospel music and singer Willie Mae Ford Smith.  Another generation is represented by the Barrett sisters, the O’Neal twins, and Zella Jackson Price.

“Say Amen, Somebody” is currently playing in New York and opens in Los Angeles on September 20.

Read the story at the Los Angeles Times.


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In Netflix’s “The Family,” meet the evangelical Christians trying to turn America into a theocracy

In Netflix’s “The Family,” meet the evangelical Christians trying to turn America into a theocracy

Source:  The Daily Beast

According to “The Family,” a new unnerving five-part documentary series, the most powerful club in America is a consortium of religious true believers bound by their fanatical love of Jesus.

The organization has no official membership, requires no dues, and works overtime to avoid publicity.  Its ranks are comprised of both Republicans and Democrats.

And it seeks the eradication of the separation of church and state in its quest for its most coveted asset: power.

Jesse Moss’s miniseries is an adaptation of “The Family” (2008) and “C Street” (2010), two nonfiction books penned by Jeff Sharlet, whose experiences with the Family—often also referred to as the Fellowship—provide a window into an invisible world and movement hiding in plain sight.

“The Family” is available now on Netflix.

Read the story at The Daily Beast.

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Meet the Buddhist priest helping people with suicidal thoughts find reasons to live

Meet the Buddhist priest helping people with suicidal thoughts find reasons to live

Source:  Buddhistdoor Global

It’s an unfortunate but well known fact that Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

Suicide is so common that during unexpected stops between train stations, passengers often assume the delay is caused by a person jumping onto the tracks.

Moreover, in Japanese culture, suicide can be seen as a moral and even necessary act when it comes to preserving one’s honor and dignity.

In the 2017 documentary “The Departure,” filmmaker Lana Wilson follows Ittetsu Nemoto, a Buddhist priest who is deeply perplexed by this phenomenon and who, in offering his services to those who experience suicidal feelings, goes against the grain of Japan’s social norms.

“The Departure” is available on iTunes.

Read the story at Buddhistdoor Global.

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Abramorama acquires “American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel”

Abramorama acquires “American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel”

Source:  Deadline

Abramorama has acquired the worldwide rights to “American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel.”

Directed by Catherine Butler, the film profiles a group of defiant ministers, congregations, and community leaders in Oklahoma who are challenging deeply rooted fundamentalist Christian doctrine in favor of a gospel of inclusion.

Labeled as “heretics” for their beliefs and actions, they’re challenging fundamentalist Christian interpretations of the Bible that continue to justify nationalism and attack landmark civil rights protections for women, minorities, immigrants, and LGBTQ communities.

“American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel” will begin its theatrical release on July 12 in New York City, followed by engagements in select cities across the country.

Read the story at Deadline.

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New doc­u­mentary enters the rings of boxing and religion

New doc­u­mentary enters the rings of boxing and religion

Source:  NY1

Boxing is a brutal sport so why do many fighters turn to religion as they engage in such violence?  A new documentary aims to find out.

Craig Tubiolo spent three years working on “Ring of Faith.”  He’s the Director of Programming and Production at DeSales Media Group, the communications arm of the Brooklyn, New York Catholic Diocese.

Tubiolo interviewed more than two dozen people from the boxing world and from different religions.

“We were fortunate we just got about every world champion boxer from a Catholic world champion boxer to a Christian world champion boxer, a Jewish world champion to the Muslim world champion and they all had the same sort of point of view.”  Tubiolo said.  “They all felt like this is a calling from God that God gave them this gift,”

“Ring of Faith” will be available on streaming platforms in July.

Read the story at NY1.

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Timely documentary “Hesburgh” looks back fondly on a great conciliator

Timely documentary “Hesburgh” looks back fondly on a great conciliator

Source:  The Washington Post

In fractious and bellicose times, it’s tough out there for conciliators.  Which makes “Hesburgh,” Patrick Creadon’s lively and inspiring portrait of one of the most influential Americans of the 20th century, more welcome than ever.

Father Theodore M. Hesburgh was most famous as the president of the University of Notre Dame, an institution he led for 35 years.

During Father Ted’s tenure, Notre Dame went from being a football school to being not just academically respected but a bastion of intellectual freedom and ideological pluralism, sometimes at the consternation of Vatican officials.

If only as a principled educator and beloved paterfamilias, Father Ted is worthy of admiration.  But as Creadon makes clear in this swiftly moving chronicle, his biggest role was that of civil rights pioneer and transcendent public figure.

As one of the first members and later chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, he helped create the underpinnings of what would become landmark civil rights legislation in the 1960s and 1970s.

“Hesburgh” opens tomorrow in select theaters.

Read the story at The Washington Post.

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