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The Faith Project


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 App

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 Pillars

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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 Bread

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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 Distraction

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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.

Kindest Spirit

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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.


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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.

Making Space

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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.

Urban Kora

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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.

Educational Resources

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

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.

Presented by

The National Film Board of Canada

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 or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation

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.

Interfaith & Belonging: A Civic Education and Engagement Initiative

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

Directed By
Chris Romeike

Written By
Shiraz Janjua

Produced By
Gerry Flahive
Lea Marin

Director of Photography
Chris Romeike

Edited By
Chris Romeike

Associate Producer
Shiraz Janjua

Production Supervisor
Mark Wilson

Original Music By
Jim Guthrie

Aviva Chernick
Allison Chubb
Jetan Mistry
Preetinder Narang
Mohammed Kashif Pasta
Sonam Tsering
Ivana Lynne Yellowback

First Assistant Camera
Scott Burton
Paul Raymond

Assistant Editor
Darby MacInnis

Re-Recording Mixer
Aaron McCourt

Sound Recordists
Mike Filippov
Sanjay Mehta
Peter Kepkay
Igal Petel
Marvin Polanski

Technical Coordinator
Marcus Matyas

Production Assistants
Robert Cortes
Lisa Nelson
Jung-Sun Song

Production Coordinators
Andrew Martin-Smith
Rachel Punwassie

Post House

DI Producer
Ahmad Ismail

DI Colourist
Walt Biljan

App Design & Development

Technical Director
Paul Pattison

Lead Developer
Jason Slater

Art Director
Jonathan Wong

Digital Producer
Ben McEvoy

Celina K. Bell

Visual Researcher
Elizabeth Klinck

Copy Editor
Gillian Burnett

Research Consultants
Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo
Sadhu Nityavivekdas
Rabbi Aaron Katchen
Kulvir Singh Gill
Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa
Amjad Tarsin
Marco Mascarin
Hector Villar y Pacheco
Nilesh Mehta
Andrew Wesley
Archdeacon Bruce Myers

Marketing Manager
Melissa Wheeler

Director, Institutional & Educational Markets, NFB
Kristine Collins

Head of Educational Content
Ross Johnstone

Education Specialist
Anne Koizumi

Education Guide Writer
Noorin Fazal

Centre Administrator
Josiah Rothenberg

Executive Producers
Silva Basmajian
Anita Lee

For The Canadian Race Relations Foundation

Executive Director
Anita Bromberg

Project Manager, Interfaith & Belonging Initiative
Suren Y. Nathan

Board Member
Rubin Friedman

Thank You

  • 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.

A National Film Board of Canada production in collaboration with The Canadian Race Relations Foundation



© 2015 National Film Board of Canada

The Films

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.