WASHINGTON (CNS) — In a world where headlines speak of hatred among people of different faiths, William Baker is hoping the film “Sacred,” which he produced, will help others see that believers in the divine all walk along similar paths in the cycle of life.
At a December screening of the film near Washington, Baker, former president of WNET public television in New York, said the purpose of the film was to say “we all have different faiths. The world is huge. Most people in the world use their faith to get them through.”
The film, directed by Thomas Lennon, features people from a variety of religions, including major faiths such as Islam, Catholicism, Judaism and Hinduism. It opens with a Japanese monk on a walking journey of 1,000 days and the birth of a child. During the course of the film, viewers see various stages of life and the rituals of faith that accompany them. It is broken into three marked parts: initiation, practice, passage.
The Pew Research Center for Religion and Public Life says more than 80 percent of the world’s population of 7.4 billion identify with a religious group. And all those people of faith, “we’re all on the same path,” said Baker, who is Catholic. “We’re all born. We all go through early adulthood and puberty. We all have pretty tough times. We all have good times.”
And ultimately we all die.
The film shows that “all of our lives, in many ways, are the same,” said Baker, “and all along those paths we’re trying to seek the Creator in our own way and faith and religion — and the rituals of those faiths — help people get to that point. That’s what the purpose of this (the film) is.”
The film shows a girl in Seville, Spain, watching a procession at Easter that features a Madonna as she recalls that her family has problems.
“When you are in trouble, you talk to God,” she says.
The film shows how burial rites were affected by the Ebola crisis in Africa and how that affected the religious beliefs of different people, as well coming-of-age rituals and celebratory holy days of other faiths.
Baker has in the past received funding from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign for films such as ”The Face: Jesus in Art” and ”Picturing Mary,” which appeared on public television. Although “Sacred” features cinematography worthy of the big screen, with footage shot in more than 40 countries, it also will end up on the small screen and will likely appear on public television in the fall of 2017, said Baker. But it is now appearing in a variety of film festivals around the world.