In 2002, veteran filmmaker Sarah Feinbloom produced and directed What Do You Believe?—The Religious Lives of American Teenagers. The award-winning film was featured on PBS, and screened internationally. Now, in 2019, she has released her follow-up film What Do You Believe Now?—The Spiritual Journeys of American Millennials. The film premiers at 2019’s Mill Valley Film Festival.
In the first film Feinbloom interviews six American teenagers about their religious/spiritual beliefs. In the follow-up film Feinbloom juxtaposes interviews of the teenagers with their interviews as adults.
The teenager interviews reveal a roughly accepted set of beliefs for each of the teens. Their views are, respectively, Catholic, Pagan, Jewish, Muslim, Lakota and Buddhist. The follow-up interviews reveal changes in their beliefs, aspects that remain, and values that inform their adult religious understandings.
Inevitably, viewers see ourselves in these children and adults as they struggle with—and to a degree, resolve—issues human beings have struggled with since there were human beings. We empathize with the losses, gains, and continued struggles the six have experienced over almost two decades.
Inevitably, too, we ponder on our own personal beliefs and values, as well as the religious struggles of humanity with its many and varied religious beliefs, practices and institutions.
In addition to her filmmaking career, Feinbloom is also founder and executive director of GOOD DOCS, an educational distribution company specializing in human rights and social issue documentaries.