Facets’ 2nd Annual Religion in the Frame Film Festival

Ethan Hawke in "First Reformed"

Ethan Hawke in “First Reformed”

Screenings of
“First Reformed” and
“The Passion of
Joan of Arc”
are among the
week-long program’s
scheduled events

Facets will explore the meaning of faith through the medium of film at the 2nd Annual Religion in the Frame Film Festival, February 22 – 28. With more than half-a-dozen screenings, the series will explore religious ideas, themes, and conflicts over the course of the free, weeklong program.

Witnessing Joan of Arc’s passion, time-tripping through Buddhism, and confronting modern ecological terrorism are just a few of the topics scheduled to come to life.



In collaboration with the University of Chicago Divinity School’s Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion, the event will include post-screening discussions with seven eminent scholars of philosophy, religion, faith, and history

Moderated by Gretchen Helfrich — a civil rights attorney, Facets Board member, and long-time host of WBEZ’s Odyssey — the talks will delve into some of the most critical moral and ethical issues of our time.

“We are thrilled with the diversity of films in Religion in the Frame and for bringing together so many brilliant scholars and thinkers to lead audiences on journeys that will be enlightening, thought-provoking and life-changing,” she says. “We are building on the reach of last year’s inaugural festival, which demonstrated how much deep dialogue is needed to understand what is at stake for each individual, and for the human race.”



Using film as a common ground, the festival will examine the nature of faith in contemporary society by bringing academics from numerous theological and philosophical traditions together with diverse Chicago audiences at Facets.

“At no other time in recent history have the underpinnings of religion seemed more urgent or fragile,” said Milos Stehlik, Facets Founder and Artistic Director. “Religion in the Frame throws light on these ethical and moral issues, provoking audiences to question each individual’s relationship and responsibility to each other and to society and how faith and the search for meaning are what make us human.”

Schedule overview

The February 22, 7:00 p.m.
The Passion of Joan of Arc
The festival opens with Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 masterpiece. Faith, power, and truth are all on trial in this not-to-be-missed classic. Featured speaker Francoise Meltzer, professor of Philosophy of Religion at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, will discuss the dangerous allure of religious certainty.

February 23, 7:00 p.m.
First Reformed
Ethan Hawke stars as a pastor struggling with despair in Paul Schraeder’s First Reformed. Featured Speaker, Willemien Otten, director of the Martin Marty Center and a historian of Christianity and Christian thought, will discuss the tensions between a religious calling and environmental crisis.

February 24, 7:00 p.m.
Under the Moonlight
In this Iranian film, Seyyed is a seminary student whose understanding of his vocation is transformed when he discovers a new side of Tehran. Scott Alexander, the featured speaker, is a Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Catholic Theological Union and a member of the Martin Marty Center Advisory board. He will discuss finding Islam on the margins.

February 25, 7 p.m.
Ushpizin is a rare collaboration between secular and Orthodox performers and artists, shot partly inside Jerusalem’s insular ultra-Orthodox community. This comedy, set during the Jewish holiday Sukkot, reminds audiences to be careful what they pray for. James Robinson, a historian of Judaism at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, will discuss unintended consequences of prayer.

February 26, 7:00 p.m.
In the George Roy Hill adaptation that Kurt Vonnegut called “flawless,” Billy Pilgrim becomes unstuck in time and experiences the events of his life in random order. The featured speaker Brook Ziporyn is professor of Chinese Philosophy, Religion, and Comparative Thought at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Ziporyn will discuss Buddhism and “time-tripping.”

February 27, 7:00 p.m.
Black Robe
Black Robe follows Jesuit missionaries in seventeenth century New France as they set out to convert the Huron people to Catholicism. Featured speaker Rich Miller, professor of Religious Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School, will discuss conversion, coercion, and conviction.

February 28, 7:00 p.m.
Secret Sunshine
Director Lee Chang-dong examines a devastated widow’s turn to religion with honesty and dignity, yet without abandoning a critical stance. Angie Heo, an anthropologist of religion, media, and economy at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, will discuss the themes of religion and tragedy.

About the Martin Marty Center
The Martin Marty Center fosters interdisciplinary research on religion by University of Chicago faculty and graduate students, in cooperation with affiliated scholars from around the world.

About Facets
Facets is a nonprofit that connects people to independent ideas through transformative film experiences.

Send your film updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, dan@reelchicago.com.