Vision & Mission

“Films create worlds. They do not passively mimic or directly display what is ‘out there,’ but actively reshape elements of the lived world and twist them in new ways that are projected onscreen and given over to an audience. The attraction and promise of cinema [are] the way films offer glimpses into the other worlds, even if only for ninety minutes at a time." 

(text from 2018 HDS film festival founding members)


While there are other spaces on campus where films and student filmmaking are happening, we believe the contexts of religion and faith are unique and ones that need to be academically punctuated and explored by HDS.  

We believe that films and filmmaking are important tools for advancing academic scholarship because of the unique way films engage the senses and the imaginations of the viewers and the maker. Films contain audio and visual information which may help bring to life and better communicate living experiences like faith ceremonies and rituals, or the internal lives of practitioners and believers.

Therefore, in addition to hosting a space for non-HDS visionaries to tell important stories, our mission is to guide institutional platform support towards the HDS community to make, share, and learn from films through an annual film festival, preceded by a year-long film program.

Our vision is to see an increase in the number of submissions of student films and student turnout to film festivals. Additionally, our vision is to see more films developed by students and submitted for regular and senior course classwork and projects. 

Our interests lie with both films' and the filmmaking process' abilities to refine human understanding of materiality and social justice.

(this section contains adapted written statements from 2017-2018 and 2020-2021 HDS film festival members)