WLIW21 will lend eight cameras to attendees of the conference around the world to film for inclusion in the film
NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This year, New York's public television station is inviting people from all over the world to submit footage that answers the question: "What is sacred to you?" A selection of that footage will become part of Sacred, a sweeping cinematic portrait of one year of spiritual and religious life on earth.
In order to continue to generate crowd-sourced content, Sacred has announced a partnership with Social Media Week, securing a presence at the organization's September Conferences (September 23-27). (Social Media Week is a worldwide event exploring the social, cultural and economic impact of social media. The conferences will take place in Berlin, Chicago, Los Angles, São Paulo, Toronto, Bogotá, London and Mumbai.)
Through the partnership, the Sacred production team will lend eight cameras to contributors in the eight cities participating in the Social Media Week Conferences. The contributors will film and upload clips, using the cameras. Each contributor will be given 48 hours to film and upload their content to the Sacred production team. After completing the submission process, which will be detailed on each camera's carry case, the first contributors are instructed to pass the camera along to a trusted friend who wants to participate. You can follow the journey of the 8 cameras on Twitter using the hashtag #Sacred8.
Though the filming period for the Social Media Week partnership will conclude on October 23, all are welcome to continue to contribute footage via the film's Web site: www.sacredthemovie.org.
"Social Media Week's unifying global theme explores openness in a connected and collaborative world, and thereby offers great synergy for a collaboration with Sacred," said Executive Producer Julie Anderson.
Sacred is a step in a bold new direction for WLIW21. "We are all excited to do something global and ambitious for public television," says Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET, WLIW21's parent company. "Sacred will take full advantage of the international, accessible nature of 21st century filmmaking, and will also fulfill a key mission of public media, giving voice to those who might not otherwise be represented in the media."
Since filming has begun, worldwide interest has been keen. The production team has fielded ideas from people in 55 countries and from every continent except Antarctica. With WNET President Emeritus and polar explorer William F. Baker as Executive Producer, there are even plans to solicit footage from McMurdo Station, the U.S. base at the South Pole. "We will not rest until Sacred is truly global, even if I have to go back to the South Pole myself," says Baker.
Filming ideas received by the production team range from the familiar, like Christmas in Bethlehem, to the exotic, like Qoyllur Rit'i, an annual mass pilgrimage to a glacier in a remote Peruvian valley. But the key idea of Sacred is that any sacred occasion is on the table, whether overtly religious or not.
Examples might include: a rite of passage, a pilgrimage, a religious holiday from a personal point of view, a daily ritual, a family tradition, birthdays, weddings, or a trip to an especially beautiful place. The producers have screened a diversity of footage, including priests in India bathing in the Ganges, shamans in the jungles of Latin America, and a woman praying fervently for her team to win a soccer game.
The sheer variety of what "sacred" can mean is a major reason that the film is being crowd-sourced. Rather than judge what is or is not sacred, the producers decided to turn the question over to their collaborators: anyone with a camera and a desire to share their sacred moments with the world.
"Even if you are not religious or spiritual, there is something in your life that you consider sacred. That's what this film will capture and what we want to help you share with the world," says Anderson.
To avoid favoring any one faith, the 2013 and 2014 summer solstices were chosen to bookend the filming period. As the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice is the closest thing to a "universal new year's day."
Sacred is the brainchild of Baker, who sees the film as a capstone to his long and distinguished media career. Baker, who helped launch Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and produced two award-winning films about religious art during his tenure as WNET's president, says he wants Sacred to venture beyond the traditional, talking-head style documentary.
Sacred will premiere in 2015. An original score will be composed by Edward Bilous, a professor at The Juilliard School and a film composer who has worked with PBS, NBC, HBO, and Disney, among others.
Major initial funding for Sacred was provided by George and Abby O'Neill and Rosalind P. Walter.
Sacred is executive produced William F. Baker, and Julie Anderson. Lan Trinh is producer. Stephen Segaller is executive in charge for WNET.
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York's flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.