Theological ideas don’t fall out of the sky. Maybe you grew up being told that something about God was “just the way it is” only to later discover that other Christians thought something totally different. This course will chronologically track major theological discussions 100 years at a time in order to learn the context and development of the Church’s theological conversations. We’ll focus on the ideas, the players, the places, and the powers at work in the living discourse called Christian Theology.
Lately I’ve been thinking about films that reflect what it means to in live in (and through) the struggles of this world, this flesh—in other words, the Present, the Now—while holding onto hope of eternal promises. Each of these four films startle, comfort, and convict me in singular ways. I hope you find something here among the light and shadow to do the same for you.
Wings of Desire (1987) in German, French, and English with subtitles
Wim Wenders’s film about an angel longing to be human challenges us to see the goodness of the eternal in the current moment and the transient—in cups of coffee with cigarettes, in the color of graffitied walls, and even in the taste of one’s own blood in one’s mouth.
Stalker (1979) in Russian with subtitles
Director Andrei Tarkovsky is the film-school patron saint of spiritual and metaphysical heft (and “Serious,” capital S, cinema). Stalker raises the question: if you were offered a chance to go into room where your deepest desires would be met, would you go through that door? What would the things you most treasure reveal about your heart?
The Wind Will Carry Us (1999) in Persian with subtitles
Abbas Kiarostami’s poignant film considers how our rush to embrace technology and its promise of human advancement is often at odds with ritual and a slower way of life necessary for human and spiritual connection.
35 Shots of Rum (2008) in French and German with subtitles
Claire Denis’s graceful film finds a place where relationships (familial and otherwise) are sensuous, earthy, and ethereal. In other words, 35 Shots of Rum is a little bit of heaven and little bit of earth for 140 minutes. This also has the best use of Commodores’ “Night Shift” in any movie, ever.
SANTUARIO is a documentary short that intimately follows Juana Luz Tobar Ortega as she takes sanctuary at a North Carolina church to evade a deportation sentence.
In 2018, SANTUARIO won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary Short at New Orleans Film Festival 2018 and is now Academy-award qualified. We premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival 2018 in the Documentary Short Film Competition, 1 of 5 in the program. We will be announcing upcoming festivals and speaking engagements around the country. In Spring 2019, we will have a U.S. broadcast in the ReelSouth/PBS Season 4 lineup. The film was 1 of 4 Women in Film Finishing Fund/ Stella Artois 2019 grantees for films that focus on social change.
SANTUARIO was the winner of the Tribeca Film Institute IF/Then American South pitch at New Orleans Film Festival 2017 and has also received funding from Women in Film, Fledgling Fund, The Southern Documentary Fund, and Footcandle Film Society. Our fiscal sponsor is the Southern Documentary Fund. We have been invited to conferences, speaking engagements (Allied Media, Skidmore College MDOCS, SXSW '19, Women in Film x Stella Artois at Sundance), and work-in-progress screenings. SANTUARIO was also a part of the IDFA Docs For Sale Market. We are working now closely with Working Films and the Fledgling Fund to develop an action-oriented outreach strategy to accompany the film as a tool for social change.
This film is a story of migration, but the main themes of family and home are universal. Our artistic direction is led by the power of Juana's prayers and her faith, and centers on her and her family's experience. There is no easy resolution or clear end in sight. Our short documentary features an ongoing and important story of community, family, and everyday resistance in a fraught immigration climate.