An interactive documentary is an appropriate vehicle to present private and personal religious phenomena. By allowing Mother Divine and Peace Mission followers to articulate their own belief system, framed by the historical contexts and insights provided by humanities scholars, archival images and recordings, the viewer will be both informed and challenged to make their own critical evaluations. There is an inherent difficulty when representing a religious tradition, in any medium, especially when that tradition is a living religious community. The goal of the humanities scholar/ethnographer is to both respect private religious sensibilities and remain objective about the subject under observation, study, and analysis. In the case of the Peace Mission, there is the enormous sensitivity on the part of the membership concerning how Father Divine and the Movement has been portrayed throughout the last seventy years by American religious historians and sociologists, as well as the public media. The goal of our interactive documentary is to respectfully explore the complexities of personal religious belief of this community of individuals as an evocation of the past and as it exists in the present.
Due to the advancing age and celibacy of the Peace Mission followers, the timing of this project is crucial. Each living member embodies a dramatic story that reveals a hidden history of race and religion in America. Please consider supporting The Father Divine Project my making a contribution through your favorite online payment system:
If you have any questiions about this project, please email Will Luers.
Will Luers is an award-winning screenwriter and educator living in Portland, Oregon. His website taylorstreetstudio.com explores the storytelling possibilities and distribution models of online, networked and syndicated cinema. He holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Folklore and Folklife and an MFA in Film from Columbia University.
Leonard Norman Primiano has a Master of Theological Studies with a Concentration in American Religious History from the Harvard Divinity School, a Master of Arts in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Dual Doctorate in Religious Studies and Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. Currently Chair of Religious Studies at Cabrini College in Radnor, PA, he has devoted over fifteen years to observing and familiarizing himself with the theology, traditions, and membership of the Peace Mission Movement.