The Sedona International Film Festival is proud to present a one-night only premiere of the new documentary “Sacred” on Thursday, Aug. 3, at 4 and 7 p.m. at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre.
Directed by Academy Award-winner Thomas Lennon and shot around the globe by 40 filmmaking teams, “Sacred” immerses the viewer in an exploration of spirituality across cultures and religions. At a time when religious hatreds dominate the world’s headlines, this film, sweeping in global reach and yet intensely intimate, explores faith as a primary human experience: How it is used to navigate the milestones and crises of private life.
Lennon commissioned or sourced footage from top independent filmmakers from more than 25 countries and a range of religious traditions, each team contributing a single scene. The film is a tour de force that unifies these scenes into a single work, told without narration, without experts and, for long stretches, without words at all.
“Sacred” draws the viewer into a string of private moments, sometimes for just seconds, and at other times in depth.
Opening with a young Muslim father from Cairo chanting the call to prayer to his baby who is only minutes old, the film’s approach is both lyrical and linear as it drives forward in time from the initiations of infancy [bris, baptism and more] to coming-of-age ceremonies in Mandalay, Jerusalem and Andhra Pradesh for boys and girls at the cusp of adolescence.
In Spain and then India, the film encounters teenagers as they lean on their faith to navigate the most intimate pressures of their lives — the strains between two parents, the prohibitions of dating. The film arcs through marriage and the trials of adulthood through to the rites — some of them solemn, others riotous — by which people remember and treasure their dead.
Because of the novel way in which it was made, “Sacred” is able to hopscotch across geography to capture the crisis of faith triggered by the recent Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, the stubborn determination of an ascetic in the Philippines to subject himself to pain and the comfort faith offers to prisoners in Louisiana State Penitentiary who face life sentences without prospect of parole.
Epic and kaleidoscopic, the film journey comes to rest where it began — with the birth of a child, another life initiated into the rituals of prayer and faith.
“Sacred” will show at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre on Thursday, Aug. 3, at 4 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 or $9 for Film Festival members. Call 282-1177 for tickets and more information. Both the theater and film festival office are at 2030 W. State Route 89A in West Sedona. Visit SedonaFilmFestival.org for more information.