"Il Presepe di Calcata" is a 21-minute ethnographic documentary film. This link is in Italian language with English subtitles--please press the "CC" button on the video player to get English subtitles (the untitled Italian version is here.Calcata is a medieval village located 47 kilometers (29 mi) north of Rome, called “the land that time forgot” by Wanted in Rome. This short ethnographic documentary film is about the town of Calcata and its eccentric residents, and follows the handmade nativity scene (presepe in Italian) of the Dutch sculptor Marijcke van der Maden, a resident of Calcata since 1984. For 30 years, van der Maden has presented the village with this personalized nativity scene, populated by figurines of the local villagers and displayed each Christmas at Il Granarone, a local cultural association. “All the statues are handmade and represent the real people of Calcata. Every year I make a new person and I never tell who it will be,” she says. Both Marijcke’s presepe—and this documentary film about its conceptualization, assembly, and significance—features local sculptor Costantino Morosin, artist and bagpiper Mimmo Malarbì, local artisan Marina Petroni, and Gemma Uuttendaele, owner of Calcata’s teahouse. In the interviews the subjects discuss the significance of the presepe in Italian culture and in their own lives, they reflect on the spiritual and religious nature of the presepe, and contemplate the profound experience of being replicated in this artwork that will endure as a testament to their picturesque and peculiar village. The film is an ethnography of lived religion, simultaneously examining religious practice and religious object, and it explores the symbiosis between an artwork and its living inspiration. The documentary provides a case study for how religion inspires creative responses, creates solidarity within a community, and acts as a platform for expressive nostalgia and meaning-making.
A 21-minute documentary on the Bar/Bat Mitzvah class of Workmen’s Circle of Boston, MA; the film follows how this secular humanist Jewish community leads the students to develop and express their Jewish identities by focusing on the ethnic and cultural aspects of Judaism, culminating in a secular Bar/Bat Mitzvah developed by the Workman’s Circle ritual committee and the children themselves. Filmed and edited Spring/Fall 2012
A 36-minute documentary (73 minutes and 20 minutes versions also available) on veiling trends for women in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Interviews with students from Universitas Gadja Madrah and local women’s fashion boutiques speak about Indonesian veiling ideology and fashion. Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Summer/Fall 2010. 20 minute educational version available. Screenings: Boston University Religion Department, Fall 2011. American Academy of Religion Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference in New Brunswick NJ, March 2012. American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Chicago IL, November 2012. International Society for the Sociology of Religion, Turku, Finland, June 2013.
Click here for the 20-minute classroom/educational cut!
This is the IBCSR Full-Length Documentary (Final Cut with Final Audio), a feature documentary about the Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion in Boston. Filmmaker Jenn Lindsay, a PhD Candidate in the Graduate Division of Religious Studies at Boston University, uses documentary film techniques to explore and explain the Institute’s various research projects. Through scenes in research labs, interviews with research scientists, explorations of the campus and surrounding city, and glimpses into religious communities in various locations, the film touches on many discussions. It broaches the scientific study of religion; interdisciplinary research; the complexity of “religion” as a study object; the dialogues between religion and science; the limits of science; and the value of scientific approaches to religious practice, communities, and human behavior.
The film is split into several "bite-size" 10-minute mini-films to facilitate thematic discussions: Click here for the 10-minute classroom/educational sections!
The film's debut screening was August 2015 in Vienna, Austria at the International Congress on Science and Religion. A Q&A panel featuring founding director of IBCSR and Vienna Congress keynote speaker Dr. Wesley J. Wildman followed.
A 21-minute documentary about ecumenical environmental activism in the Italian Alps at Agape Centro Ecumenico, an ecumenical centre in Northern Italy with roots in post-WWII peace movement. Interviews with community members, eco-activists, scientists, and conference organizers on the conference itself and on the larger issue of grassroots activism and communities. Filmed and edited Summer 2012 in Prali, Italy.
A 16-minute documentary on the summer eco-spirituality volunteer program. Filming, editing, and music composition by Jenn Lindsay. Madison WI, Summer 2009.
A 57-minute documentary on the role of religion at Occupy Boston and beyond (with a Christianity cameo from Occupy Wall Street). Religious people were very visible at the Occupy Boston encampment at Dewey Square in Fall 2011. Several Occupy Faith chaplains staked a Sacred Space Tent at the center of the Occupy Boston complex and progressive religious groups publicly engaged rituals, chaplaincy, and holiday observances that were both representative of specific religious traditions and thematically related to the ideals of the Occupy Movement. Occupy Boston / Occupy Religion, a documentary on the role of religion at Occupy Boston and beyond, explores the ideas, ideals and tactics of progressive religious people involved with the Occupy Movement in Boston. Participants from Judaism, Unitarian Universalism, Hare Krishna, Buddhism and Christianity share their convictions on the connection between religion, social justice, and the Occupy Movement. This film is a pedagogical tool that inspires consideration about the interplay of religion and activism, the passionate presence of liberal religious people in progressive social movements, and how these people and their religious expression are conveyed through media. This ethnographic film will implicitly broach larger discussions about religion and social protest movements, the theories behind the Occupy Movement, the interdependence of religion and culture, and the centrality of economic and civil justice to the religious expressions, concepts and identities of these religious protesters. Filmed and edited Fall 2011 by Jenn Lindsay for AN770 at Boston University.