Father Mark of St. John Vianney will host a moderated discussion after the film, which will be followed by a potluck picnic in the park celebrating the end of the first season of Community Cinema.
(Note: this preview is for the 4 hour miniseries version. Some scenes/characters won't appear in the
1.5 hour version Community Cinema will be showing)
A look at young Americans — Christian, Jewish, Catholic, and Muslim — preparing to become the nation’s next generation of religious leaders, The Calling explores the forces that are drawing young people to serve their communities and their faith.
Embarking on life paths that demand tremendous personal sacrifice and commitment, these seminarians must uphold timeless truths in an era that values quick fixes and hot trends, and face a public that challenges the very relevance of their mission. A new look at an old job, The Calling takes viewers into the unknown world of seminaries to tell entertaining and compelling personal stories of how faith is lived today.
The Calling intercuts its characters’ stories from their first days of training, through years of study, and into their early practice as religious professionals. We follow them within and beyond the walls of their schools, confronting the sacrifices they’ve made to pursue this path. We see them debate theology and philosophy, learn to deliver sermons, perform their first weddings and funerals, and counsel people in crisis. We also experience them as young people at the crossroads of their lives, struggling with dating, partners, family, and other challenges of “coming of age.”
The United States is one of the most religiously observant and spiritually diverse countries in the world, yet mainstream media has surprisingly underrepresented the significance of faith in our lives, and our pluralism has been explored almost exclusively in terms of race and culture. Documentaries that have been produced on faith often focus on single faiths, church scandals, fundamentalist extremists, or religion’s polarizing effect on society. The Calling underscores our spiritual common ground and offers intimate portraits that provide a fresh, nuanced portrayal of faith in America.
FROM THE FILMMAKER"One of the many things I have learned in the years I spent on this
project is that equal to the characters’ religious mission is their zeal
to serve their fellow human beings. What unified this group, which
is so varied in background, faith, and approach to their work, is their
call to make the world a better place. Similarly, the word “calling,”
which was once only understood to be a holy pursuit, is commonly
used today to describe a passion or compulsion, but usually from a
place of selflessness or giving.
And herein lies what I hope that viewers will take away from this
film. The Calling’s stories portray lives not so different from all of
ours. The characters are struggling to find their way in this complex
world, but they are making a stand for what they believe in. This
is not beyond or above any of us. All of us — atheist, agnostic and
religious, young and old— can connect to these stories and use them
to ask ourselves: What do I believe in? What questions do I want to
understand? What gives me passion? How can I give back? What is
— director Danny Alpert