Projects in Production and Development
Coming in 2023
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . .
- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Free Exercise: America's Story of Religious Liberty (A Feature Documentary)
Filmed at locations across America, Britain, and Holland, Free Exercise explores the difficult path to freedom of religion and conscience, from colonial times into the present, by examining particular events and stories that encapsulate this remarkable national journey.
The film includes in-depth interviews with prominent historians, religious scholars, philosophers, constitutional experts and faith leaders, along with extensive visual archive from many different historical periods.
Stories are woven together by journalist & historian Richard Brookhiser, who guides viewers and provides a contemporary explanation for the success of the greatest experiment in religious pluralism the world has ever seen.
It begins in Dutch New York (New Amsterdam) with America’s first formal protest against religious persecution of the Quakers, then goes on to reveal how James Madison’s youthful abhorrence of Baptist persecution in his home colony of Virginia was central to the First Amendment’s promise not merely of toleration but of "freedom to exercise" religious obligations.
Moving forward, stories about the rise of Black Churches, Mormons, Irish Catholics, Jewish, and Muslim immigrants illustrate how different ideas of individual and collective religious freedom come into conflict with existing state powers and other fundamental American rights.
As these stories unfold, Brookhiser reveals how such conflicts have been resolved up to the present, and brings into sharp focus this great experiment in liberty.