A RElIgIOUS YOUNg mAN’S IDENTITY IS CAllED INTO qUESTION WHEN HE vISITS A CONvERSION THERAPIST.
THE SUNDAY SESSIONS is an intimate portrait of one man’s struggle to reconcile his religious conviction and sexual identity. The observational documentary chronicles the turbulent journey of a devoutly Catholic gay man as he attends conversion therapy in hopes of changing his sexual orientation.
Conversion therapy is the controversial, non-scientifically based process which aims to convert an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Although it has been discredited by all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations, some therapists still offer the service for reasons almost exclusively rooted in a conservative religious belief system.
The filmmakers had unfettered access to individual therapy sessions, family sessions, and a collection of weekend camps, and have crafted an emotional and psychological thriller which chronicles two years of Nathan’s journey from acceptance to skepticism, all leading to a profound epiphany.
There is no God. Now what? If this is the only life we have, how does that affect how we live our lives, how we treat each other, and cope with death.
In this fascinating documentary, join filmmaker Chris Johnson as he introduces us to people from all walks of life and backgrounds who challenge the false stereotypes of atheists as immoral and evil. From Daniel Dennett and A.C. Grayling, to Julia Sweeney and Robert Llewellyn —learn the various ways many atheists have left religion to a better life filled with love, compassion, hope, and wonder.
A Better Life: An Exploration of Joy & Meaning in a World Without God
Director: Chris Johnson
Featuring: A.C. Grayling, Adam Pascal, AJ Johnson, Alex Honnold, Andrew Copson, Cara Santa Maria, Dan Barker, Daniel Dennett, Donald C. Johanson, Helena Guzik, Julia Sweeney, Matt Dillahunty, Nahla Mahmoud, Patricia S. Churchland, Robert Llewellyn, Sean Carroll, Tracie Harris.
Available Formats: Streaming rental, HD Download, DVD
Upcoming Screenings & Lectures through 2017
Thursday, November 2 Screening – Houston, TX (Rice University)
Thursday, November 9 Screening – Frostburg State University
Saturday, November 11 Lecture – New Haven, CT
Sunday, November 19 Screening – Jackson, MS
Friday, December 1 Screening – Ontinyent, Valencia, Spain
Explore the meaning and joy of life with 100 atheists in this book of photos and commentary featuring Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Steven Pinker, Penn & Teller, Julia Sweeney, Alex Honnold, Derren Brown, and more!
The myth persists. Even in our modern world, countless people believe that without God, one’s life has no purpose or meaning — that the lives of atheists are devoid of joy and happiness because they are not religious.
Starting out as one of the highest-grossing publishing projects on Kickstarter, A Better Life highlights the various ways that those who are not religious find joy, meaning, and purpose in life. Photographer Chris Johnson spent two years traveling the world speaking with and photographing atheists from all walks of life to create this hardcover photography coffeetable book.
Subjects in the book include:
A.C. Grayling, Philosopher
Adam Pascal, Musician/Actor
Alex Honnold, Rock climber
Cara Santa Maria, Television personality
Carol Blue & (the late) Christopher Hitchens
Charles Strouse, Broadway composer
Daniel Dennett, Philosopher and cognitive scientist
Derren Brown, British illusionist
Donald C. Johanson, Paleoanthropologist
James Randi, Magician
James Watson, Molecular biologist/co-discoverer of the structure of DNA
Janet Asimov, Psychiatrist/Author
Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of physics, author and broadcaster
Julia Sweeney, Actress, comedian & author
Lawrence M. Krauss, Physicist
Michael Shermer, Founder/Publisher of Skeptic magazine
Patricia S. Churchland, Neurophilosopher
Penn & Teller, magicians
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Philosopher and novelist
Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary biologist, and author
Robert Llewellyn, Writer, TV presenter, actor
Sean Carroll, Theoretical Physicist
Steven Pinker, Cognitive scientist
Yau-Man Chan, Contestant; Survivor: Fiji
…and many, many more!
Release Date: January 1, 2014
Author: Chris Johnson
Publisher: Cosmic Teapot/Chris Johnson; First Edition (December 2013)
In this new podcast, join Chris as he revisits with some of the people from the book and the film, as well as introduces you to people he’s met since doing the project that would have been great additions.
Sample podcast guests include:
Cara Santa Maria
Chris Johnson is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker. He received his undergraduate degree in film production (along with a minor in religious studies) from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. His photography has been seen in various outlets, including The New York Times. He is the author of the coffee table photography book, A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God as well as the documentary film version, A Better Life: An Exploration of Joy & Meaning in a World Without God. He has travelled the world on a screening/lecture tour about A Better Life, speaking and screening the film in over 60 cities on four continents — from Reykjavik to Shanghai.
For the book and film of A Better Life, he interviewed many prominent atheist figures such as Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Dan Dennett, Derren Brown, Pat Churchland, Julia Sweeney, Penn & Teller, and many more. He has given talks on atheism and his work at conferences, universities, non-profit organizations, and community groups. In addition, he has also been a guest on numerous podcasts and TV shows around the globe.
Command and Control: THE LONG-HIDDEN STORY OF THE DAY OUR LUCK ALMOST RAN OUT
From Robert Kenner, the director of the groundbreaking film Food, Inc., comes Command and Control, the long-hidden story of a deadly accident at a Titan II missile complex in Damascus, Arkansas in 1980.
Based on the critically-acclaimed book by Eric Schlosser, this chilling documentary exposes the terrifying truth about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal and shows what can happen when the weapons built to protect us threaten to destroy us.
Filmed in a decommissioned Titan II missile silo in Arizona, the documentary features the minute-by-minute accounts of Air Force personnel, weapon designers, and first responders who were on the scene that night.
Command and Control reveals the unlikely chain of events that caused the accident and the feverish efforts to prevent the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States – a warhead 600 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
Woven through the Damascus story is a riveting history of America’s nuclear weapons program, from World War II through the Cold War, much of it based on recently declassified documents.
A cautionary tale of freak accidents, near misses, human fallibility and extraordinary heroism, Command and Control forces viewers to confront the great dilemma that the U.S. has faced since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you manage weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them?
Laura Poitras, Academy Award winning director of CITIZENFOUR, returns with her most personal and intimate film to date. Filmed over six years, RISK is a complex and volatile character study that collides with a high stakes election year and its controversial aftermath.
Cornered in a tiny building for half a decade, Julian Assange is undeterred even as the legal jeopardy he faces threatens to undermine the organization he leads and fracture the movement he inspired. Capturing this story with unprecedented access, Poitras finds herself caught between the motives and contradictions of Assange and his inner circle.
In a new world order where a single keystroke can alter history, Risk is a portrait of power, betrayal, truth, and sacrifice.
Executive Produced by Sam Esmail, creator of Mr. Robot.
“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”–Robert Oppenheimer
The Bomb is an immersive film, music and art installation exploring the immense power of nuclear weapons. The 61-minute film combines archival footage, animation, music and text in a montage-style presentation.
The Bomb premiered as the Closing Night Event of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. The film was projected 360 degrees on massive floor-to-ceiling screens that surrounded the audience as the musical group The Acid performed a live score in the center of the space.
The Bomb presents many sides of nuclear warfare, from scenes of massive destruction, to cheerful instructional videos on how to protect children and families in the event of a nuclear attack, to the chilling commentary of Robert Oppenheimer’s famous words:
“Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the prince that he should do his duty, and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form, and says, ‘Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.’”
CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER is a documentary portrait of artists, writers, and collectors who remain steadfastly loyal to the typewriter as a tool and muse, featuring Tom Hanks, John Mayer, David McCullough, Sam Shepard and others.
It also movingly documents the struggles of California Typewriter, one of the last standing repair shops in America dedicated to keeping the aging machines clicking.
In the process, the film delivers a thought-provoking meditation on the changing dynamic between humans and machines, and encourages us to consider our own relationship with technology, old and new, as the digital age’s emphasis on speed and convenience redefines who’s serving whom, human or machine?
Nobel Prize Winner Richard Feynman casually discusses his early life, particularly his education inspired greatly by his father’s nurturing. Feynman’s intellectual curiosity was far from average; he commonly read from the encyclopedia and taught himself trigonometry long before it was offered in school.
Feynman speaks candidly of his involvement in the Manhattan Project, his dedication to the work, his joy when it was successful, and the emotional difficulties he faced afterward realizing the destruction it has caused.
In the final segment he discusses how his scientific approach to life affected his beliefs about why we are here, what our place is in this universe, and searching ultimately for science-based truth. He notes that doubt and uncertainty are better than believing in something that might be wrong. Ultimately, Feynman posits it appears we are here without any purpose and he is not frightened by that idea.
The next episode in the “America Under Siege” webseries, “Antifa,” now available:
The press release reads as follows:
Dressed in all black from head to toe, wearing masks, wielding bats, and throwing urine bottles while chanting “No Trump, No Wall, No USA at All!”, the communist movement known as Antifa has caught the attention of the nation, gaining fame after the violence this past year in Charlottesville, Virginia and Berkeley, California.
“America Under Siege: Antifa” is a documentary film that answers three critical questions:
Who is Antifa? Why are they organizing? What are their goals?
Trevor Loudon, an investigative researcher and author from New Zealand with 30 years of experience studying radical political movements, unveils the history, motives, and goals of the so-called “Antifascist” movement in America and around the world.
The film features exclusive interviews from well-known conservatives, many have whom have been personally attacked by Antifa, including author and speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, radio host Steve Deace, journalist and free speech activist Lauren Southern, Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, author of Citizens for Trump Jack Posobiec, and activist Lindsay Grathwohl.
The film is hosted and written by Trevor Loudon, directed by Judd Saul, and produced by Cohesion Films in partnership with Dangerous Documentaries (a project of the Capital Research Center).
While Exodus is a film still in its funding stage, this promising project hopes to become a feature-length documentary about the growing number of African-Americans leaving religion and the prejudice and social problems they face as part of the most religious demographic in America.
Many people are surprised to learn that there are Black non-believers and while the numbers identifying as atheists are small, only 1 or 2 percent by the lowest estimates, the proportion of African-Americans who are not affiliated with a particular religion is about the same as it is for the general population of the United States, amounting to several million.
For Americans who are only slightly aware of the growing trend of African-Americans leaving religion the question is: who are the Black non-believers and where are they?
This important film will challenge stereotypes, promote dialogue, and provide a true insight into the lives of Black non-believers. Yet Black non-believers remain practically invisible in their communities and may be the most closeted group in America.
The church is a focal point of the African American community but many former adherents are declaring themselves non-believers and leaving the faith of their ancestors. They identify themselves as nonreligious, non-believers, Humanist, agnostic, or atheist but they all disassociate with the religion that is the focal point of their communities.
In this film, African American non-believers will tell us in interviews and conversation what caused them to leave the church, the social and personal problems that resulted, the ways their lives have been changed, and why identification as a non-believer is important to them. Pastors and theologians commenting on this trend provide a counterpoint revealing how the African American church and community are responding to this growing exodus.
The “sizzle reel” for Exodus features Alix Jules, Bridgett Bria Crutchfield and Pastor Lorenzo Neal.
Alix Jules: Jules is a secular activist in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area commonly involved in issues and topics regarding the role of diversity in the atheist community as well as atheism in diverse communities. He’s the chair of the Dallas/Fort Worth Coalition of Reason’s Diversity Council, Organizer for Black Nonbelievers of Dallas, and is a founding member of the largest family-based secular humanist organization in Texas, the Fellowship of Freethought. Jules is a regular co-host on Dogma Debate.
Bridgett Bria Crutchfield: Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bridgett (known as ‘Bria’) was raised, baptized and dis-fellowshipped from Jehovah’s Witness faith. She segued to Pentecostal Christianity and assumed leadership roles as Prophetess, Intercessory Prayer Warrior and Evangelist. After careful consideration, Bria realized she was an Atheist. In 2011, she Founded Minority Atheists of MI, and founded the Detroit affiliate of Black Nonbelievers in 2013.
Pastor Lorenzo Neal: Neal is pastor of the New Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Jackson, MS. He is also a licensed pastoral counselor and writes about Black Evangelical Christian issues and socio-political issues.
Producer/Director David Person is an accomplished professional journalist and consultant with more than 25 years of experience as a broadcaster, producer, and reporter. David Person has hosted and produced two nationally distributed public radio documentaries: Uncommon Courage: The Viola Liuzzo Story and The Afro: Personal Reflections. In addition, he has done feature reporting for National Public Radio. His most recent documentary project is The Biblical Prophets of the Qu’ran, an examination of the commonalities of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Executive Producer Charles R. “Chuck” Miller is a secular activist and consultant. He was a founding director of the Secular Coalition for Alabama and served as that organization’s Executive Director. He is American Atheists Regional Director and a Life Member of that organization. His writing has appeared in American Atheist Magazine.
Dr. Dedrick Blue is Dean of the Department of Religion and Theology of Oakwood University. He also serves as a board member at that institution and was Senior Pastor of the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church in New York, NY.
Mandisa Lateefah Thomas is the co-founder and current President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. a national social and activist organization founded in 2011.
How to support the film
Filmmakers are actively seeking financial support to fully examine this trend through a combination of crowdfunding, grant writing, and foundation support.
Follow @ExodusTheDoc on Twitter and retweet to your followers.
A lovely little homemade documentary gleaned from archival footage and snippets of Christopher Hitchens’ self-narrated autobiography. Imperfect sound quality but a pleasant way to spend an hour and a half.