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Professor Bill Baker’s Film Sacred to Premiere on PBS


“Of the 7.4 billion people in this world, it’s estimated that about 6 billion have some kind of faith,” said William Baker, Ph.D., Fordham’s Claudio Acquaviva Chair and director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Center for Media, Public Policy, and Education at the Graduate School of Education.

Sacred, a feature-length film that will premiere nationwide on Mon., Dec. 10, at 10 p.m. on PBS, explores faith from around the globe, examining religious rituals from birth to death. It is a rare documentary in that there are no narrators. The lives of the subjects alone tell the story. Directed by Academy Award-winner Thomas Lennon, the film weaves scenes from around the world, by more than 40 different filmmakers, into a single work.

“Today, not many people would dispute the importance of religion,” said director Thomas Lennon, “But we in media usually look at it socially and politically. Here the goal is to plunge the viewer into a series of private experiences of faith and hopefully the intensity of that encounter shakes up our reactions, triggers something fresh.”

Baker said that the Schwartz Center was intricately involved in making the film for New York’s Public Broadcasting Station (WNET/THIRTEEN). The center also commissioned Juilliard composer Edward Bilous to write and score the music, and Patrick Ryan, S.J., Fordham’s Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society, served as a consultant on the film. Though Dec. 10 will mark the U.S. nationwide premiere, Sacred has been shown at film festivals around the world. 

“While religion, often rightly, gets blamed for many problems, it seems that most of us need some kind of faith to get us through life,” said Baker. “This film celebrates how all faiths, however different, are trying to achieve the same thing—get it closer to God.”


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