Journal of Religion and Film

Slamdance Film Festival

by The Journal of Religion & Film Editors and Dr. Beth Ritter

Vol. 11, No. 1 April 2007

Slamdance Film Festival

Editors also had the opportunity to view and review films from the Slamdance Film Festival which was going on simultaneously with the Sundance Film Festival. Below are the reviews from that Festival.


Children of God: Lost and Found
(Documentary Competition Features)

World Premiere

Director Noah Thomson was born into a religious cult known as the Children of God. It later became known as The Family. At the age of 21, Thomson and two of his younger brothers escape the cult.

After years of trying to deal with life in the real world, Thomson embarks on a journey that returns him to the commune in which he was raised. On this journey Thomson interviews many of the children who have grown up and left the cult. He discovers that, like himself, others have had a remarkably difficult time living in the world apart from the cult and that much of this difficulty is the result of how children were raised and treated by cult members, including his mother who remains a member of the cult.For Noah Thomson this film documents a spiritual journey during which he tries to determine who he is apart from the cult and how much of his life has been programmed by the cult.


(Documentary Competition Features)

World Premiere

Grand Jury Prize Best Documentary Feature

Unsettled is the story of a group of young Israelis, some of whom are residents of Gaza and some of whom are the soldiers that are to remove settlers from Gaza as part of the Israeli withdrawal in 2005. The story is told from the point of view of these young people and it adds another layer of meaning to the withdrawal experience. The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza raises a number of religious issues:

What is the relationship between Judaism and the land of Israel? What does it mean to be a Jew? How are Jews supposed to treat other Jews?

The film does not answer these questions, but rather shows how these questions affect the lives of the young people upon which the film focuses.

For another film about the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, see 5 Days from the 2006 Sundance Film Festival World Documentary Competition.


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