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  • It takes a true calling to make faith a way of life.

    It takes a true calling to make faith a way of life.

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  • What's your calling? What do you do to make your world a better place?

    What's your calling? What do you do to make your world a better place?

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  • Rob Pene preaches to incarcerated youth as part of a tent revival at a correctional facility in Colorado.

    Rob Pene preaches to incarcerated youth as part of a tent revival at a correctional facility in Colorado.

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  • Bilal Ansari is in the Muslim Chaplaincy program at Hartford Seminary.

    Bilal Ansari is in the Muslim Chaplaincy program at Hartford Seminary.

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  • Jeneen Robinson preaches on Easter.

    Jeneen Robinson preaches on Easter.

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  • Rob Pene at home in American Samoa

    Rob Pene at home in American Samoa

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  • Rabbi Yerachmiel Shapiro, about to perform his first wedding

    Rabbi Yerachmiel Shapiro, about to perform his first wedding

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  • Rabbi Yerachmiel Shapiro leads Shabbat services at his synagogue in Red Bank, New Jersey.

    Rabbi Yerachmiel Shapiro leads Shabbat services at his synagogue in Red Bank, New Jersey.

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  • New priest Steven Gamez receives congratulations on his ordination.

    New priest Steven Gamez receives congratulations on his ordination.

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  • Rabbinical student Shmuly Yanklowitz prepares for a public debate about kosher meat.

    Rabbinical student Shmuly Yanklowitz prepares for a public debate about kosher meat.

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  • Tahera Ahmad studied to be a Muslim chaplain at Hartford Seminary, and now serves at Northwestern University.

    Tahera Ahmad studied to be a Muslim chaplain at Hartford Seminary, and now serves at Northwestern University.

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  • Director Daniel Alpert

    Director Daniel Alpert

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The Film

The Calling is a four-hour documentary series that follows seven Muslims, Catholics, Evangelical Christians, and Jews on a dramatic journey — training to become professional clergy. Embarking on life paths that demand tremendous personal sacrifice and commitment, these seminarians must uphold timeless truths in an era that values quick fixes and hot trends, and face a public that challenges the very relevance of their mission. A new look at an old job, The Calling takes viewers into the unknown world of seminaries to tell entertaining and compelling personal stories of how faith is lived today.

The Calling intercuts its characters’ stories from their first days of training, through years of study, and into their early practice as religious professionals. We follow them within and beyond the walls of their schools, confronting the sacrifices they’ve made to pursue this path. We see them debate theology and philosophy, learn to deliver sermons, perform their first weddings and funerals, and counsel people in crisis. We also experience them as young people at the crossroads of their lives, struggling with dating, partners, family, and other challenges of “coming of age.”

These young people are charismatic and real, driven and self-reflective, confident and humble. They are seeking to reconcile the modern world and their faith through music and activism; balancing their egos and their desire to serve and blazing new paths to leadership while conserving age-old traditions.

The United States is one of the most religiously observant and spiritually diverse countries in the world, yet mainstream media has surprisingly underrepresented the significance of faith in our lives, and our pluralism has been explored almost exclusively in terms of race and culture. Documentaries that have been produced on faith often focus on single faiths, church scandals, fundamentalist extremists, or religion’s polarizing effect on society. The Calling underscores our spiritual common ground and offers intimate portraits that provide a fresh, nuanced portrayal of faith in America.

The Filmmaker

  1. Danny AlpertSeries Director/Executive Producer