SCREENINGS

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?

The religious lives of American teenagers
Reviews & Quotes

Video Librarian

"This insightful documentary is highly recommended."

School Library Journal

"An outstanding documentary...A magnificent undertaking...the dialogue is from the heart.”

Educational Media Reviews Online

Reviewed by Charles J. Greenberg, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale University

"For all of the profiled teenagers, the influence of parental religious practice is overt, and parental approval and encouragement has provided the initial learning environment. At the same time, some of the teens have begun to question their religious identity and are uneasy in knowing how this might disappointment parents or close religious friends.

The well-edited audio and video production relies entirely on the ability to capture spontaneous words and actions of the teenage subjects. Introductory factual passages precede some interview segments. While the absence of narration would not help viewers with visual disabilities, the subjects’ own words clearly capture their perspective on faith, and I could easily imagine hearing the soundtrack as a radio feature.

Regardless of how strong the formal practice of religion remains at the end of each individual teen’s story, we are consistently confronted with articulate, optimistic, and inquisitive youth that are happy and self-confident, if not entirely sure how to integrate the tenets of their faith with the first romantic impulses they feel. Not a stereotype or trend seeker in sight. Highly recommended for secondary and public library collections."

The Interfaith Observer

"Sarah Feinbloom’s award-winning What Do You Believe? is a one-hour interfaith video that gives voice to a new interracial, interethnic, interreligious generation. Twenty teenagers talk about God, faith, prayer, death, and their own religious experiences. Five of them, coming from American Indian, Buddhist, Catholic-Jewish, Muslim, and Wiccan backgrounds, share their lives and spiritual formation in detail.

Adult voices never intrude. Coming from all manner of religious backgrounds, the young people speak openly, from the heart. Though produced nine years ago, the film is as alive and vibrant in 2012 as when it first came out.

Sarah Feinbloom fell into filmmaking almost accidently when her fellow teachers in Boston’s Roxbury district watched her film her students and encouraged her to become a director. What Do You Believe? comes with a curriculum you can download at the film’s website. (You can also see a two-minute trailer.) Compelling and highly recommended for young adults and for their elders, who may have underestimated the spiritual curiosity and wisdom of teenagers."

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AWARDS & FESTIVALS
Religion + Spirituality • Youth Development • Diversity • American Society
2003. Director Sarah Feinbloom. Associate Producer Klara Grunning Harris.
49 Minutes. Includes Captions.
 

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 course and exploring and promoting diversity in high schools and youth programs.

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Voted One of Ten Best Videos for Young Adults in 2003
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION

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