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"Teaching About Religion" Continues Production with New Perspective

A Letter from the Director

"Teaching About Religion" Continues Production with New Perspective

To start, we'd like to extend our deepest gratitude to those in our community who are stepping up to protect and take care of us during this time. Thank you!

COVID-19 is impacting almost every part of our daily lives and we're all learning to deal with those changes one day at a time. Our film, like many others, has been affected by COVID-19. When we learned that Prospect High School was closed through at least April 7th, we understood the necessity to do so, but we were anxious about the film. We spent over fifty days filming in the classroom and we planned to stick with the students through the end of their senior year. We asked ourselves, how could we continue this documentary if school is not in session?

While considering the necessary changes to the film, we had great meetings with colleagues and mentors, including our fundraising advisor, Dr. Nate Walker, and Dr. Kate Soules. At the Religion & Education Collaborative (REC) online meeting, we were able to inform an incredible group of religious literacy scholars about our film. We left the meeting filled with hope and inspiration. We are so grateful for our mentors and colleagues who gave us a fresh perspective on the current situation!

Allison presenting at the REC meeting.

There are still many questions and uncertainties about the next few months at Prospect, but one thing is for certain... this film is not over!

The World Religions students gathering together through Zoom for a discussion.

We are excited to announce that we're pivoting to an exciting third act of the film! We are working with students remotely to record the impact of the school closures, film their experience in digital classrooms, and learn how their religious communities are rebuilding their sense of community virtually. This new ending is stronger than we could have imagined and will engage with questions of community and belonging in a fascinating new way.

We are unsure if the students will be able to finish their senior year the way they imagined, but we will document and support them until the end of their school year either way. We want to thank the entire Prospect community for their support, Kartemquin Films and the documentary field as a whole for staying strong during this tumultuous time, and our friends and family for continuing to bolster independent works of art.

Stay safe, stay strong, stay indoors.

Allison Walsh

Director, Allison Walsh, Associate Producer, Lilly Hanson, and Assistant Producer, Hanna Awwad, meeting over Zoom.

Recommended Reading from the Teaching About Religion team during this time:

Congratulations to Producing Advisor for Teaching About Religion, Diane Quon, who was named one of five recipients of the Cinereach Producer Award 2020. Read more here.

World Religions teacher and varsity boys' basketball coach, John Camardella, and director, Allison Walsh, at the last PHS game before school closures.

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