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2021 Annual Report:
Five of the most influential theologians of the 20th century are featured in a series of documentaries produced by Journey Films with support from Lilly Endowment. Based in Alexandria, VA., the non-profit film company this year is compiling a set of the documentaries called “Prophetic Voices,” which is designed to encourage congregations and interfaith groups to learn more about the lives of these extraordinary religious figures.
The films are “Spiritual Audacity: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story” (top left) (2021), “Revolution of the Heart: The Dorothy Day Story” (second left) (2020), “Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story” (above) (2019), “An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story (third left) (2017)” and “Bonhoeffer” (bottom left) (2003).
“It is a great challenge in our current culture to tell stories about religion and faith,” says Martin Doblmeier, who founded Journey Films. “But these characters led such compelling lives, and their prophetic voices and writings shaped public moral discourse in the 20th century. Their stories still resonate with viewers today from all different backgrounds who are challenged and inspired by their lives.”
In support of four of the five films, the Endowment made grants totaling $2.05 million to the MPT (Maryland Public Television) Foundation, which collaborates with Journey Films. Earlier grants to ETV Endowment of South Carolina supported Journey Film’s “Bonhoeffer” about the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. All five documentaries have been broadcast through PBS stations nationwide.
The grants are part of the Endowment’s support for efforts that seek to enhance the public understanding of religion.
Also in 2021, the Endowment made a grant of $850,000 to the MPT Foundation to support a new Journey Films project about the practice of sabbath in American faith communities in the United States and its impact on the broader culture. Journey Films expects to release the documentary in 2022. these extraordinary religious figures.