What happens when St. Francis of Assisi meets Egyptian Sultan Malik al-Kamil in the midst of the fifth Crusade? A recently broadcast AVDF supported film tells the story in ways that inspire interfaith understanding and collaboration.
AVDF funding supported the educational outreach component of the recently broadcast feature film, The Sultan and The Saint. The grantee, Unity Productions Foundation, also created a 175-page curriculum collaboration with scholars working on the film and a core team of educators at Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. The curriculum, designed for high school and college educators, takes teachers through a deep cultural and religious history of the Crusades and introduces students to themes of religious tolerance, the role of religion in conflict transformation, the role of nonviolence and peacemaking today, and the roots of Muslim-Christian peacemaking.
The film was broadcast on PBS to an estimated audience of 6 million viewers. An additional 2 million viewers watched the film on multiple streaming platforms. Over 100 public screenings have taken place around the country with a collective audience exceeding 25,000. Based on evaluations, the majority of attendees were Christian, but individuals from Muslim and Jewish traditions attended as well. Over 90% of attendees rated the film and the experience as positive, and reported that the film effectively advanced the goal of promoting peace and greater understanding among faith traditions. In conjunction with these screenings, local interfaith initiatives geared toward dialogue and service have been announced. Fifty Evangelical-Muslim screening and dialogue events are now in progress in partnership with Evangelical leaders who attended previous events.
The film received positive reviews from numerous media outlets, including The Boston Globe and Christianity Today. It was nominated for Best Sound and Lighting at the 2018 News and Documentary Emmys. And to celebrate the spirit of the film, Unity Productions Foundation created “The Sultan and The Saint Peacemaker Award” to recognize individuals at screenings who had worked to serve others outside of their faith.
For an insightful review of the Saint and the Sultan click here.
To visit the films website, click here.