Film Maker Helen Whitney to Give Talk with Preview of Her Latest Project

Oscar-nominated, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning film maker Helen Whitney, whose penetrating documentaries explore the spiritual depth and range of human experience, will be at Yale to introduce her forthcoming PBS series on “Forgiveness: A Time to Love, and a Time to Hate.”

Free and open to the public, the talk and screening of the series preview will take place in the Jeffrey Loria Center for the History of Art, 190 York Street on Thursday, April 1 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The human soul trapped by mental illness, the wrenching crisis of faith following the attack of 9/11, and the entrenched class structure of British society are some of the subjects Whitney has covered in documentaries that have been broadcast on PBS, ABC and NBC. Her most recent project, the epic story of the Mormons, first aired on PBS Frontline/American Experience in 2007.

Produced, written and directed by Whitney, “Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate” is a four-hour PBS series that will air in early 2011. “It is about the complexities and contradictions of forgiveness. Not only in the lives of individuals and families, but in the lives of nations,” says Whitney.

The film covers a wide range of stories from infidelity to genocide. Among them: the atonement of a 60’s radical for killing a Boston policeman; a young woman’s discovery that 20 years after a vicious attack it was anger, not forgiveness, that saved her; the shattering of a family after the mother abandons her children and returns seeking forgiveness; the extraordinary forgiveness of the Amish after their neighbor executed nine young Amish girls, and the Jewish response to the Christian tenet of unconditional forgiveness.

In addition,the film explores modern Germany’s penitential journey for the Holocaust; Rwanda’s attempt to “legislate” forgiveness in the wake of their genocide; South Africa’s ambitious attempts to reconcile the nation after apartheid through its truth and reconciliation commission.

“‘Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate’ raises questions, it does not offer answers. And the questions are embedded in dramatic stories not in abstract teaching lessons,” Whitney asserts.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345