Join seven young, vibrant, thoughtful and vastly different Americans as they embark on the most extraordinary journey of their lives. Representing Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant faiths, each is ignited by the "call" to serve humanity and has decided to join the clergy. The Calling is a four-hour documentary series that follows them from their first days of training, through years of challenges, doubts, triumphs and surprises, and into their early practice as ordained professionals.
The Calling features young adults at the crossroads of their lives, coping with daily issues of dating, finances, friendships, family dramas and key career decisions. They struggle to balance religious convictions, professional responsibilities, rigorous academics, interactions with congregants, dedication to lifelong service, and occasional spells of doubt and uncertainty. Their collective experiences shed light on the nature of leadership, as well as current issues facing America’s religious communities.
Produced by a team of multi-faith filmmakers and led by Series Director/Executive Producer Danny Alpert, this intimate look behind cloistered seminary walls and into the hearts of future religious leaders provides a rich, nuanced portrayal of faith never before seen on national television.
Available until December 2014 on Independent Lens
Alpert is a documentary producer, director, and editor whose films have been nominated for Academy® and Emmy® Awards, have aired on PBS, HBO, and A&E, and have screened at festivals around the world. Alpert’s last film, A Doula Story, aired on PBS stations across the nation and was honored with a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism and other awards. Previously, Alpert directed A History of God, a two-hour documentary special for A&E Networks, based on the bestseller by British theologian Karen Armstrong. He co-produced and edited Legacy, a feature-length documentary for HBO, which was nominated for a 2001 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature, a National Emmy® for Best Documentary and was an official selection at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. From 1994 to 1997, he produced No Time to be a Child, a three-part series that aired nationally on PBS and was nominated for an Emmy. Alpert is Executive Director of The Kindling Group in Chicago.
Series Director & Executive Producer | Daniel Alpert
Editor & Co-Producer | Susanne Suffredin
Directors | Yoni Brook, Alicia Dwyer, Musa Syeed, Maggie Bowman
Co-Producer | Beth Sternheimer
ITVS Executive Producer | Sally Jo Fifer
Original Music | Califone
To find out about screenings in your area, visit The Calling's Screenings page.
The Calling is available for screenings and events as a four-hour mini-series or a 78-minute "Engagement" version. The Engagement version features four of the series subjects, including Rob Pene, a Samoan, who is studying at the Haggard School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University and working with a Presbyterian Minister in an upper-middle-class Los Angeles church, while mentoring at-risk teenage boys.
The Calling is produced with the support of the from the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the Henry Luce Foundation, the Hartley Film Foundation, Pacific Islanders in Communications, the Irving Harris Foundation, Samuel Zell Foundation, National Black Programming Consortium, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and the Zarrow Family Foundation.