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Monks and Muslims: Finding Faith in Algeria
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A DOCUMENTARY FILM IN PRODUCTION

Anisa and her production team went to France in May to commence documentary filming for “Monks and Muslims: Finding Faith in Algeria.” We interviewed monks and other clergy -- including the Archbishop of Morocco -- at two Trappist monasteries; we spoke with members of five of the families of the fallen monks of Tibhirine; we recorded glorious footage of the Alpine village where Frère Paul grew up, and captured the excess of activity at Sacre Coeur cathedral in Paris, where Frère Christian determined he wanted to serve a simpler community. We also videotaped a "Ribat-es-Salaam" or "Bonds of Peace" meeting at Aiguebelle where Muslims and Christians conversed and cried together. We interviewed a French counter-terrorism expert and an Algerian painter-activist who survived a 1997 massacre in his hometown. This project is underwritten in part by The United States Institute of Peace (www.usip.org), the William and Mary Greve Foundation, Cornelius B. Prior, Jr., and Hartley Film Foundation (www.hartleyfoundation.org). Anisa Mehdi, producer/director; Catherine Oberg, associate producer; David Goulding, director of photography; John Schwally, production manager/audio engineer (www.jfsfilms.com). Our location translators added intellectual depth and expanded our production team's religious mix (we are Muslim, Christian, Jew, and seekers).

A matching grant toward the post-production of “Monks and Muslims: Finding Faith in Algeria” is offered by the William and Mary Greve Foundation, which also provided research funding for the project.  Whetstone Productions is grateful to all its supporters.   Please contact whetstoneproductions@rcn.com to learn how to become a supporter of this significant film on inter-religious harmony.

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BACKGROUND:

Whetstone Productions completed the research and development of the documentary film "Monks and Muslims: Finding Faith in Algeria" in 2005. 

Unlike much of what is reported and written about Islam and the West today, this film will be built around a positive theme -- that of friendship and mutual respect between Christians and Muslims, even under the most trying of circumstances.
Production funding grants for this project are from the United States Institute of Peace, the William and Mary Greve Foundation, and Cornelius B. Prior, Jr.  The Hartley Film Foundation is the project non-profit sponsor. 

The story of the Trappist monks, their good relationships with Muslims of many political bents, and their connection to the French colonial legacy will provide the spine for a story that will explore the broader implications of this oasis of peace that persisted amid great violence between Muslims fighting over the meaning of a just society in Algeria in the 1990s. These include the uses and misuses of religion by both Muslims and Christians as a political tool, how religion properly interpreted and lived can be a great healing force between sincere believers, and how America might apply the principle of mutual respect used by the monks in Algeria to its own proselytizing of secular democracy in the world. (See photo gallery)

 

 

 

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