Members of Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Dayton, OH community attend a screening of Locked in a Box and To Breathe Free. The films were used as a catalyst for community involvement surrounding refugee and immigration issues. — David Barnhart

"Story is as basic to human nature as eating and sleeping.  Our life experience has narrative quality. We live life and share our stories." -David Rhoads   

Story Productions is a ministry that connects, engages and equips congregations and communities through the medium of Story. These award-winning documentary resources are available to congregations and communities to organize screenings and host conversations about important and timely issues. If you are interested in these resources or hosting a screening, below are links to trailers, film posters, descriptions, study guides and links to the full films. 

 

How To Host A Screening

To Breathe Free

Locked in a Box

Facing the Human Tragedy in Syria

Trigger

Tapestry

Kepulihan

Other short films

In Production

News & Updates


How To Host A Screening

We have found that gathering people in a room to watch these films can yield more community involvement than just watching them by yourself at home--for this very reason, we encourage screenings. Here is a document with recommendations we have to host a successful screening. Document coming soon!

This 12 minute video focuses on a film forum that was developed in Dayton Ohio using our films Locked in a Box and To Breathe Free. "The Peace Literacy Dayton Film Forum: Breaking the Silence about Immigration" was a series of citywide screenings with panels at local mosques, churches, the Dayton Opera, universities and colleges. These award-winning documentary resources are available to congregations and communities to organize screenings and host conversations about important and timely issues. If you are interested in these resources or hosting a screening, below you will find links for trailers, film posters, descriptions, study guides and links to the full films.

 

 

To Breathe Free

To Breathe Free - Short documentary and winner of "Best Documentary Short" at the Covellite International Film Festival 2017:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” 
To Breathe Free follows the 5-year journey of a Syrian family fleeing the war in Homs to the refugee camps in Jordan and starting a new life in Washington, D.C. Using home movies, phone video, family photos and interviews with family members and former refugees, this short documentary gives an intimate and unique perspective not seen in current media reporting on the refugee crisis. To Breathe Free captures the intersection of individual narratives from a family fleeing the Vietnam War in 1970, to the Syrian Conflict in 2017, to the families who help create a new home in our nation's capital, giving voice to our common humanity and the struggle that binds people together.

Download the study guide

Download the poster

View the full film

Trailer for "To Breathe Free" from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance on Vimeo.

 

Locked in a Box

Locked in a Box is an award winning short documentary that follows the stories of individuals held in the U.S. Immigration detention system and those who visit them. The film traces the lives of individuals who fled their homelands in search of safety and freedom only to end up in U.S. prisons under a mandatory bed quota system run by Immigration Customs & Enforcement (ICE). Since the 1990’s there has been a massive expansion of the immigration detention system up to 34,000 immigrants in detention on any given day in approximately 200 different facilities, many of which are for-profit prisons. “Locked in a Box” helps strip away the political rhetoric to see the human cost of detention. Locked was an award winner for “Achievement in Documentary Film” from the Georgia Latino Film Alliance and Film Festival.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance supports the development of visitation ministries, legal orientation programs, and community-based services to those who are released in partnership and collaboration with Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service (LIRS). This film is the result of the collaboration between PDA and LIRS with local partners in the hope of inspiring its viewers toward action.

Download the study guide

Download the poster

View the full film

Trailer for "Locked in a Box" from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance on Vimeo.

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Facing the Human Tragedy in Syria

 

Facing the Human Tragedy in Syria from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance on Vimeo.

Trigger

Trigger, selected for the Martin Luther King Jr. D.R.E.A.M Film Series, frames gun violence as a “disaster” and “public health” issue.  It examines how one shooting impacts individuals, families and communities and gives voice to the questions and insights that arise.  In the documentary, all those scarred by gun violence arrived at the question, "Why did this happen to us?” After looking at these in depth experiences of gun violence, Trigger turns its attention to the bigger question, "What can we do to prevent gun violence?” 

While in production in 2012, Trigger was selected for broadcast by NBC in cities around the country and a version of the film was completed specifically for these broadcasts. This version is available on DVD for purchase HERE.

Production continued on Trigger from 2015-2017 and the final version of the film, with new interviews and updated content, was completed in 2017. The film is currently on a film festival run. You can view this version of the film HERE.

Download the poster

Download the study guide

 

Trailer for "Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence" from Trigger Documentary on Vimeo.

Tapestry

Tapestry looks at the effects of public violence events in congregations and the communities of which they are a part.  It is framed through the lens of PDA National Response Team members who have responded to public violence events and support those communities of faith and their leaders as they walk through the valley of the shadow of trauma and its aftermath and begin the process of healing. (21 minutes)

View the full film

Trailer for Tapestry: Reweaving the Fabric of Community After Public Violence from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance on Vimeo.

 

Kepulihan

When we first met Pak Yadi in 2004 on the island of Sumatra he took us on a short walk to a makeshift gravesite where he had buried 15 family members after a series of tsunamis killed more than half the population of his community. Over the next 10 years we traveled back to Indonesia to spend time with Yadi and record his thoughts, reflections and insights, as he searched, amidst the loss and devastation, to find a way forward. Kepulihan: When the Waters Recede is a short documentary that captures the 2004 Tsunami aftermath and recovery told entirely through the eyes and experiences of 1 survivor over a 10-year period, as he struggles to forge a new life and rebuild his community. Kepulihan was an official selection for the Beaufort International Film Festival and the Covellite International Film Festival, and received the DeRose Hinkhouse Award for Excellence.

Kepulihan: When the Waters Recede from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance on Vimeo.

 

Other Short Films

 

In Production

  • Flint, the documentary, gives voice to the current struggle of 100,000 residents in the city of Flint who are finding a way forward through the tragedy and disaster of lead poisoning. The film follows the environmental history of Flint and the car industry and how the continued abuse of the river and post-industrial neglect of city infrastructure and environmental regulations have led to the poisoning of families and communities. Lead poisoning stays with victims for the rest of their lives and Flint, as a city and a community, must find a way to survive and collectively mitigate the effects of lead, and live into this unknown reality. The film will also focus on how Flint is a warning sign for other post-industrial communities across the United States who will be confronting industrial contamination and pollution of their own water sources and environment. A recent report found that 5,300 American cities were found to be in violation of federal lead rules, and USA Today detected excessive lead in nearly 2,000 public water systems across all 50 states. Flint is a call for every community to look at their own neighborhoods and cities and collectively confront these issues. 

Trailer for the Flint documentary from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance on Vimeo.

  • The Everyday Epidemic: A Gun Violence Response Series focuses on the courageous efforts of a wide spectrum of individuals, communities and non-profits who are responding to the epidemic of gun violence in their own communities and context.  The series will profile a wide scope of voices as they, from their own nuanced perspectives, articulate an alternative vision for ‘how things can be’ in response to gun violence and are currently acting on that new vision. Through the words and stories of these innovative leaders and groups, this new series will inspire communities to speak up and be moved to engage. With over 31,000 people killed every year and more than 100,000 injured, we, as a civil society, have reached a tipping point where the silent majority must speak and act.

  • Race and Racism: A Story Series  (working title) featuring animation by the comic artist who created the Black Panther, Brian Stelfreeze

 

Stories of hope

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Telling the Story of Hope

In PDA, we see the love of Christ at work through the actions of volunteer work teams, through the ministry of those offering hospitality and helping their communities to recover, and in the lives of survivors. Those who participate in disaster recovery ministry tell their stories as a witness to God’s transformational power. Read
Stories of Hope

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