Quakers: The Quiet Revolutionaries
Books In Brief: Review by Karie Firoozmand
Directed by Janet P. Gardner. Gardner Documentary Group, 2018. 108 minutes. See Quakersthefilm.com for more information.
Friend Janet Gardner and her company, Gardner Documentary Group, won best documentary in the Audience Choice Awards at the 2018 New Hope Film Festival for this film. They also won the Flickers’ International Humanitarian Award at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. Interestingly, the film starts out with footage of Earth Quaker Action Team, a group whose nonviolent direct action targets corporations for their roles in climate change. This may strike some viewers as atypical of Quakers; Gardner goes on, however, to take the audience through all the important things to know about Quakers today: our various theologies, worship formats and styles; our global spread; our history and, importantly, how we still connect to our Spirit-led ancestors of 350 years ago. In a time when many Friends are feeling the need for personal action amidst great fear and turmoil, Gardner draws a clear line from the earliest Friends to today, and gives us examples of how speaking truth to power looks when we see it in our own time.
Gardner doesn’t shy away from inclusion of the unintended consequences of, for instance, Quaker prison reform. She also takes us through a look at the two Quakers who were U.S. presidents.
This film would be excellent to screen at meetings and schools. Go to Quakersthefilm.com to contact the filmmakers about scheduling a screening or to be added to the email list for updates.