By Stanley Campbell
Allow me a bit of self-promotion. Really, it isn’t for myself, but for an organization I helped found so many years ago. The Rockford Interfaith Council is presenting their first Interfaith Film Festival starting today (Wednesday, May 11) and running until Sunday, May 15.
The council, composed of every major faith in Rockford, has hosted their annual Thanksgiving Service (the Sunday before) and opened many houses of worship for tours and programs. This is their first attempt at encouraging study of the different faiths through film.
Any religious organization is welcome to show films at the next festival (to be held when I have some free time). The council only asks that the religious organization offer free admission, an accessible venue, and films that lift one’s faith without tearing down someone else’s.
Here’s a list of the films:
Wednesday, May 11, 7 p.m., Water, presented at Womanspace, 3333 Maria Linden Drive. Set against Gandhi’s rise to power, Water tells the profoundly moving story of Chuyia, an Indian girl married and widowed at 8 years old. She is sent away to a home where the Hindu widows must live in penitence. Chuyia’s feisty presence deeply affects the other residents, forcing each to confront their faith and society’s prejudices. This film uncovers a rippling effect about traditions, faith, society’s norms and life empowerment. Dorothy Bock will lead discussion after the film. For information, call (815) 877-0118.
Friday, May 13, 7:30 p.m., The Snow Walker, presented at Baha’i Center, 1650 N. Alpine Road, in Highcrest Shopping Center. Barry Pepper stars in this survivalist adventure as a cocky, hotheaded bush pilot, Charley Halliday, who agrees to transport a critically-ill Inuit woman to a “yellowknife” hospital during a routine stop on a supply run. The pair face dire consequences when their plane goes down in the Arctic tundra, leaving them marooned and facing the brutality of the looming northern winter. For information, call (815) 633-0492 or go to http://rockfordbahai.org.
Saturday, May 14, 3 p.m., The Other Side of Heaven, presented at The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, 324 University Drive (off East State Street, by Showplace 16). A small-town teen, 19-year-old John Groberg leaves his girlfriend behind in Idaho Falls to serve a three-year mission in faraway Tonga in the 1950s. Groberg captivates his audience with this touching tale of adventure and trial, as he learns to serve and love the local islanders. He learns wisdom and faith from the Tongan people. This drama is based on Elder Groberg’s memoir, In the Eye of the Storm (2001). For information, call (815) 399-1297.
Sunday, May 15, 4 p.m., As It Is In Heaven, presented at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 920 Third Ave. (enter from north side of the building in the alley). Oscar-nominated Swedish drama tells the story of Daniel Dareus, a small-town boy who escaped his tiny village to become a famous conductor. A tragic mishap sends him back home in search of a fresh start, and he ends up leading the local choir. Frida Hallgren, Helen Sjoholm and Lennart Juhkel co-star in writer-director Kay Pollak’s heartwarming tale. In Swedish with English subtitles. Think Glee, the TV show, as interpreted by Ingmar Bergman. For information, call (815) 968-5433.
Next year, we hope to have more films with a fancy flier.
Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.
From the May 11-17, 2011 issue