HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ★★★1/2 - Video Librarian | "Outstanding" - School Library Journal | Voted “One of Ten Best Videos for Young Adults in 2003” by the American Library Association | HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Educational Media Reviews OnlineReligion + Spirituality • Youth Development • Diversity • American Society
Date of Completion: 2003 | Run Time: 49 minutes | Language: English | Captions: No | Director: Sarah Feinbloom | Associate Producer: Klara Grunning Harris
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 courses and exploring and promoting diversity in high schools and youth programs.
"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 | 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."
Official Selection | 2004 North American Interfaith Network Film Festival
Official Selection | 2004 Artivist Film Festival
Official Selection | 2003 Cinemagic Film Festival Belfast, Ireland
Official Selection | 2003 Religion Today Film Festival, Trento, Italy
Official Selection | 2003 Calgary International Film Festival
Official Selection | 2003 Toronto International Children's Film Festival
Official Selection | 2002 25th Annual Mill Valley Film Festival
Official Selection | 2002 Provincetown Film Festival
The Association for the Sociology of Religion 66th Annual Conference
2004 American Academy of Religion Annual Conference: Program Highlight
2006 Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education: Ethics Summit Conference
2003 National Association of Multicultural Educators Conference
REQUEST A GOOD TALK WITH SARAH FEINBLOOM
Director of WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE NOW?
Sarah Feinbloom is an award-winning director, producer and editor whose work includes educational documentaries, dramatic narratives and fundraising videos. She is also the founder and executive director of GOOD DOCS – an educational distribution company specializing in human rights and social issue documentaries. As the head of GOOD DOCS since 2013, Sarah has been responsible, along with her team, for curating a growing collection of impactful educational documentaries. GOOD DOCS films are part of the permanent collections in more than a thousand college and university libraries. She also created GOOD TALKS - a powerful, highly sought out speaker series which has brought filmmakers, activists and their films to hundreds of schools, programs and community groups.
In much of her own documentary film work, Sarah has developed and practiced a collaborative filmmaking approach, partnering with individuals and communities to center their stories and experiences. Her first film was a co-production with her Boston high school students in 1991 called YOUTH TO YOUTH - A Video About Violence. By putting cameras into the hands of her students, she was one of the early independent filmmakers to foster and promote youth led storytelling. In 2005 she directed and produced DAUGHTERS AND SONS - Preventing Child Trafficking In The Golden Triangle which raised over $200,000 for a Thai NGO working on protecting Thai, Hmong, Karen and Vietnamese children. Some of her other credits include EARTH, WATER, WOMAN (2013) about a Rastafarian Trinidadian woman and her community combating climate change in the Caribbean, and MANY LOVES, ONE HEART (2017) on LGBT activists in Jamaica.
Her latest project WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE NOW? (2019) is a feature length follow up to her 2002 documentary WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE? which focus on the spiritual and religious journeys of a diverse group of teens into their adulthoods. Both films premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE? aired on PBS in 2003 and screened internationally at venues including the National Association of Multicultural Education and the American Academy of Religion. It was voted “One of the Ten Best Videos for Young Adults in 2003” by the American Library Association and has been shown at over 2,000 schools and colleges. Sarah also created and led participant centered workshops on interfaith dialogue and religious diversity. She has been a featured speaker for the Ford Foundation Difficult Dialogue Series, the Graduate Theological Union's conference Religious Pluralism in the 21st Century, and the Religions For Peace-USA Symposium: Beyond Bigotry.
Sarah has a B.A. in Political Science from Barnard College, Columbia University and an M.A. in Education from Tufts University. She has taught high school social studies, ESL and youth filmmaking workshops.