Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Feature-length documentary Film "Radical Grace" to have World Premiere in Toronto at Hot Docs 2015

Film follows three American nuns as they continue their social justice work during the Vatican crackdown on “radical feminism” in their ranks,

CHICAGO, IL – The feature-length documentary film Radical Grace will have its World Premiere at Toronto’s Hot Docs International Film Festival on April 28th, 2015. The film by first-time director Rebecca Parrish follows three extraordinary American nuns as they lead social justice initiatives in the shadow of Vatican investigations into “radical feminism” infiltrating their ranks.

For decades, U.S. nuns have been bucking Church hierarchy by living a gospel of love, social justice, and inclusion. But by standing up to conservative leadership, these brave women risk losing their place in the church to which they have devoted their lives. Radical Grace documents the journeys of Sister Simone Campbell, a progressive Washington lobbyist and leader of the Nuns on the Bus campaign; Sister Chris Shenck, an outspoken advocate for women’s ordination; and Sister Jean Hughes, a community worker counseling the formerly incarcerated on the West Side of Chicago.

Today, Pope Francis is changing the Vatican's conservative tone in many ways — but progress on women’s leadership has barely budged. What does it mean for women to be both devoted to and in conflict with a powerful religious institution? Feminists in a patriarchal faith? Why stay? Radical Grace follows these sisters as they fight to change a Church and country at a crossroads.

“The beauty of documentary is in not knowing where your story will lead, and these three sisters exploded my stereotypes,” says Director Rebecca Parrish. “The passion for justice and deep spirituality that they bring to their work made me realize that, even though I don’t consider myself a religious person, that we can all can approach service and justice work from a spiritual place in a way that is uniquely nourishing and sustaining.”

The film will screen three times at Hot Docs 2015: April 28th at 9:15 pm, April 30th at 4:30 pm, and May 1st at 3:30 pm. Key characters from the film will be present for festival activities and to answer questions, including Sister Chris Shenck and Erin Hanna of the Women’s Ordination Conference. The filmmakers will also be hosting an open mixer (event day and time TBD) for the festival community and representatives of local faith-based, progressive, and feminist organizations, creating an environment where activists from sometimes-disparate backgrounds can come together to discuss ways to collaborate on common goals.

The film’s Hot Docs premiere will launch a grassroots and online campaign to bolster activism within religious institutions towards women’s equality; to build bridges between secular and faith-based organizations; and to reclaim faith as a tool for progressive causes. Festival-goers and the project’s online supporters are encouraged to share their reactions, ideas for making change empowered by faith, and their personal stories about how faith and their political views overlap using the hashtag #RadicalGrace.

"This film has the potential to inspire and build bridges between secular and religious progressives and feminists," says Executive Producer Daniel Alpert. "Progressives are ready to reclaim the conversation about morality, which has for so long been ceded to the Right."

The film is a co-production between Chicago companies Kindling Group (The Calling, A Doula Story, @home, Do No Harm) and Interchange Productions. Funders for the project include the Driehaus Foundation, Hartley Film Foundation, The Fledgling Fund, the Roger & Chaz Ebert Foundation, and the Cohen Family Foundation.

About Interchange Productions:
History: Since 2006, we’ve been leveraging our documentary filmmaking skills to communicate our clients’ stories to constituents, customers, partners, supporters, and team members. Our work began with nonprofits in the Chicagoloand area, and over the years we have expanded to small businesses, social ventures, and political organizations throughout the world. In 2012, Interchange Productions received the YouTube DoGooder Non-Profit Video Award for best use of video for the social good.

About Kindling Group:
Kindling Group crafts powerful documentaries and engagement campaigns to ignite change. We embrace a fast changing world of storytelling — combining the artistry of award-winning films with innovative strategies that take media and impact across platforms, genres, and technologies. We initiate our own projects and support independent filmmakers, bringing a unique mix of talents and Chicago-style problem-solving using film for good. Kindling is a Chicago-based 501(c3) nonprofit founded in 2002 by Danny Alpert, a producer, director, and editor whose documentary work has been nominated for both Academy and national Emmy awards.

Media Contact: Laura Wilson
773-728-8489 ext 305

TW: @radgracefilm


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