Thursday, April 17, 2014

Talking Tribeca: Of Many

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place April 16th-27th.

Of Many
Directed by Linda Mills
Festival Screenings

This Tribeca documentary has special relevance for me since it focuses on the strong friendship between Rabbi Yehuda Sarna and Imam Khalid Latif, the university chaplains at New York University. As a student at NYU, I was never involved in interfaith programming, but do remember when I attended a celebration of Israel’s Independence Day in Washington Square Park with the Jewish community. When protestors showed up shouting “Free Palestine,” I remember some of the Jewish students were upset because the people protesting were Muslim community members they knew from interfaith trips. They had been able to forge such incredible connections despite the differences of their beliefs, but now they were confronting them on a level impossible to ignore. This documentary is about two people working together to ensure that people from different backgrounds are able to connect and come to understand each other even if they can’t agree on anything. Both Rabbi Sarna and Imam Latif are calm, unassuming men who don’t give off an aura of self-importance or intimidation. In just 33 minutes, Mills and executive producer Chelsea Clinton show how an intimate friendship can lead to something more. At a screening hosted at NYU last week, Rabbi Sarna and Imam Latif affirmed that by standing side-by-side to answer questions about the film, repeatedly emphasizing the mission of their interfaith project and the film, to open up understanding and tolerance of beliefs not your own.

See it or skip it? See it! It’s playing with other shorts I haven’t seen, but this one is both interesting and inspiring.

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