The Faith Project intimately observes the rituals of seven young Canadians from different faith traditions.
Each of the project’s subjects allowed the creative team access to their personal practice and expressions of faith. The user’s experience is enriched by the website and app’s capacity to expand on these practices within a Canadian context. And while shuttling between the project’s short portraits one observes striking commonalities between different traditions.
These articulate, busy young Canadians weave faith into their daily lives not as an obligation but as something that is essential to their identity and place in the world. This immersive experience will captivate and enlighten people of all faiths, and perhaps provide a deeper understanding to those seeking their own personal form of spiritual expression.
The full-screen experience of this interactive iPad documentary allows users to immerse themselves and search—as the practitioners do—for a contemplative orientation in a noisy world. Through a variety of novel interactions, viewers participate in tactile, physical ways in the rituals they observe on-screen. And interactive hotspots throughout the films allow viewers to learn about the symbolism behind each religion’s rituals.
The Four PillarsWatch the film
Jetan Mistry is a mechanical engineer who has grown up in the Swaminarayan Hindu community in the Greater Toronto area in Ontario. The opulent temple near his home is the focal point in his life. In its halls of carved marble, he softens and lays down before sacred images of deities and gurus.
Nearly 90% of the province’s Hindu population of 367,000 lives in the Greater Toronto area, and 74% of the nation’s overall Hindu population resides in Ontario. With a national population of 498,000, Hindus make up 1.5% of Canadians.
Breaking BreadWatch the film
Allison Chubb is a chaplain at the University of Manitoba and an ordained priest in the Anglican Church. She “loiters with intent” on campus, counselling students of all backgrounds. She also connects physically with God through the Christian service of Eucharist in the university chapel that is under her stewardship.
Allison is one of approximately 800,000 Christians living in the province of Manitoba. Christians form Canada’s largest religious community, numbering approximately 22 million across Canada (roughly 67% of Canada’s 32 million people). Members of the Anglican Church—one of the many denominations of Christianity—account for 1.6 million of the nation’s Christians.
Focus and DistractionWatch the film
Kashif Pasta is a recent university graduate and a filmmaker from Surrey, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver. As a young Muslim studying in downtown Vancouver, Kashif struggles to find time and space to perform his daily prayers. He manages to find a quiet spot in a secluded stairwell on campus, even though his focus is interrupted by the occasional passerby.
The Greater Vancouver area is home to 73,000 of British Columbia’s 79,000 Muslims. In fact, the majority of Canada’s 1 million Muslims live in the country’s three largest metropolitan areas (Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver). Muslims make up about 3% of the Canadian population.
Urban KoraWatch the film
Sonam Tsering is a freelance DJ and community organizer in Toronto, Ontario. Despite his frantic schedule—working in the family store and volunteering in the Tibetan community—he quietly recites Buddhist mantras in the bus with his prayer beads, and makes time to visit the neighbourhood monastery.
Sonam is one of Ontario’s 164,000 Buddhists. The province’s Buddhist population is the largest in Canada, representing about 45% of the national Buddhist population of 367,000. Buddhists make up roughly 1% of the overall Canadian population.
Making SpaceWatch the film
Preetinder Narang is a behaviour specialist for children with autism, and a Sikh living in the metropolitan area of Vancouver, British Columbia. Preetinder and her husband, Manpreet, perform daily prayers together every evening in the family home her mother designed, a home that was built around their family prayer room.
77% of the province of British Columbia’s Sikh population of 156,000 resides around Vancouver. The province is home to Canada’s largest Sikh population, some 44% of the nation’s 455,000 Sikhs. Sikhs represent about 1.4% of Canada’s population.
CirclingWatch the film
Aviva Chernick is a recording, performing and touring musician, a prayer leader and a teacher of voice and prayer at congregations in and around Toronto, Ontario, and as a guest across North America. She anchors her leadership of Jewish worship through private prayers in her home, combining traditional Jewish practice with mindfulness and chanting.
The province of Ontario is home to nearly 60% of Canada’s Jewish population, with approximately 195,000 Jews. The national Jewish population of 329,000 makes up roughly 1% of Canada’s overall population.
Kindest SpiritWatch the film
Ivana Yellowback is a student and youth mentor in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As a Cree woman living in the city and away from her land, she struggles to maintain her spiritual identity. Knowing that other Aboriginal youth struggle as she does, she helps them find balance by re-engaging with traditional practices that have been suppressed for centuries.
Ivana is one of approximately 7,000 Manitobans who practice traditional Aboriginal spirituality. Across Canada, approximately 65,000 people practice traditional Aboriginal spirituality. They represent 4.5% of Canada’s Aboriginal population of 1.4 million, which also includes practitioners of other faiths. Aboriginals make up about 4% of the Canadian population.
Download quick guides now
An overview of demographics, history, places of worship, sacred scriptures, and basic principles of each faith.
Get more in-depth with NFB Learning Bundles
Additional videos created specifically for classroom use, downloadable study guides, discussion questions, classroom activities and related films and resources.
- Practising Faith in Canada Today
- Being Spiritual: A Personal Approach to Spiritual Rituals and Faith Traditions
- Understanding our Similarities: Religious Diversity and Working Together Towards Tolerance
To access NFB Learning Bundles, a subscription to CAMPUS is required. You may already have a subscription to CAMPUS. To find out, go to NFB.ca/campus.
For the best experience, we recommend accessing CAMPUS from your computer or laptop.
About The Project
The Faith Project is an interactive documentary featuring evocative short films about prayer in the modern world.
In short documentary stories, young Canadians share the rituals that define their spiritual lives. We go inside the hearts of seven major faiths to inner, personal landscapes that are sacred yet surprisingly accessible. We listen in on the private thoughts and conflicting emotions that swirl in the minds of everyday practitioners.
We go past dogma and enter the uniquely Canadian spaces where prayer survives despite distraction, time and temptations. Each film is presented in an epic visual style, and is meant to be meaningful and authentic to the practitioners of that faith—as if they themselves made a film that captured their experience.
Despite living in a pluralistic society, we so rarely see—and feel—each other’s sacred moments with such intimacy. Through these films, viewers will gain an intuitive understanding of what it means to be a young person of faith—Aboriginal, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh—in Canada today.
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) creates groundbreaking interactive works, social-issue documentaries and auteur animation. The NFB has produced over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 9 Canadian Screen Awards, 7 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit NFB.ca or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is Canada’s leading agency dedicated to the elimination of racism and the promotion of harmonious race relations in the country. Created 25 years ago as part of the historic Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement, the Foundation’s governing legislation was proclaimed in 1996, and its doors opened in 1997. Its mission is to provide independent, outspoken national leadership, to inform national policies and public conversations, and to act as a resource and facilitator to advance Canadian identity in the pursuit of positive race relations, equity, fairness, social harmony and dignity for all Canadians.
Funded by the Department of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Canada, the Interfaith and Belonging initiative is intended to facilitate a national dialogue on interfaith cooperation and communication, promote civic education and engagement, and provide the necessary tools to strengthen belonging. It effectually constructs a national framework for dialogue between and among groups of different ethnocultural and faith-based communities and helps to strengthen their participatory role in Canadian society. Through active participation and engagement of communities, the project promotes Canadian democratic values, diversity, and traditions, and works with communities in understanding our rights and responsibilities and how best to encourage a deeper sense of belonging to Canada.
A National Film Board of Canada Production
in collaboration with
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation
Director of Photography
Original Music By
Mohammed Kashif Pasta
Ivana Lynne Yellowback
First Assistant Camera
App Design & Development
Celina K. Bell
Rabbi Aaron Katchen
Kulvir Singh Gill
Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa
Hector Villar y Pacheco
Archdeacon Bruce Myers
Director, Institutional & Educational Markets, NFB
Head of Educational Content
Education Guide Writer
For The Canadian Race Relations Foundation
Project Manager, Interfaith & Belonging Initiative
Suren Y. Nathan
- The Multi-Faith Centre for Spiritual Study & Practice, University of Toronto
- Richard Chambers
- Adam Makarenko
- Zita Prashad
- Nadir Shirazi
- Lauren Stein
- Michael Torelli
- Simon Fraser University
- Kamilah Charters-Gabanek
- David Murphy
- Baljinder K. Narang
- Manpreet Singh
- SAFAR: The Sikh Feminist Research Institute
- Carlos Gouveia
- Aaron Rotenberg
- Evelyn Tauben
- Ka Ni Kanichihk
- Trina McKellep
- St. John’s College, University of Manitoba
- Amy Craddock
- Ivan Froese
- Dr. Christopher Trott
- The Hub Pub
- Karma Sonam Dargye Ling Temple
- Tibetan Emporium and Entertainment
- Gyaltsen Gyaltsen
- BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha
- Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Toronto, Canada
- Sadhu Gunsagardas Swami
- Sadhu Nityavivek Swami
- Sandeep Pandya
- Kapil Chothani
- Dipan Raval
- Interfaith Youth Core
- Kamilah Charters-Gabanek
- Helios Design Labs
- Deanne Hupfield
- John Hupfield
- James Orbinski
- Stephen Scharper
- Kate Vollum
We acknowledge the financial support of the Inter-Action, the Multiculturalism Grants and Contributions Program of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, in the delivery of this project.
THE FAITH PROJECT
A National Film Board of Canada production in collaboration with The Canadian Race Relations Foundation
© 2015 National Film Board of Canada
Go inside the hearts of seven major faiths to inner, personal landscapes that are sacred yet surprisingly accessible. Listen in on the private thoughts and conflicting emotions that swirl in the minds of everyday practitioners.