At first glance, Knocking is about Jehovah’s Witnesses, the door-to-door proselytizers we like to hide from. But there’s a bigger story as the film asks whether they are a necessary annoyance in a free society. What if you wanted to speak, publish, worship or live as you choose but belonged to the marginalized group of the moment? When a federal judge overturned California’s ban on gay marriage, the key legal precedent he used was a case involving Jehovah’s Witnesses. They’ve won a record 50 U.S. Supreme Court cases that helped define our constitutional rights.
Knocking follows two families who wrestle with the contradictions of a controversial faith. How can moral conservatives expand freedom for others while restricting it for congregants? Why does a religion that refuses blood transfusions embrace the medical science of “bloodless” surgery? Should a group that objects to war fight for Hitler or choose the concentration camps? These unlikely and untold stories intersect in Knocking and draw striking parallels to the issues we face today.
Winner “Best Documentary” in the USA Film Festival.
Join us afterward for a question and answer session with the film’s producer and director, Joel Engardio, and PON Chair, Professor Robert Mnookin.
Event Details:Monday, February 28, 2011
Time: 7:30 Langdell North (Room 225) Admission is free. Pizza and drinks will be served.
About the Speakers
Joel P. Engardio is a 2011 MPA Candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is a scholarship winner from the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. Engardio has written for Washington Post.com, USA Today, the San Francisco Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor and P.O.V. magazine. His essays have won opinion-writing awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Academy of Religion Journalism Awards. In radio, he has written essays broadcast on NPR Weekend Edition and KQED San Francisco. In television, Engardio was an associate producer for ABC News 20/20.
In public relations, Engardio worked as a senior media strategist for Manning Selvage & Lee. He also organized a national outreach campaign for his PBS documentary and was a media consultant for Stanford University’s Asian Liver Center and Jade Ribbon Campaign. At the American Civil Liberties Union, Engardio combined reporting and multimedia storytelling skills to pioneer more effective ways to mount lawsuits and communicate public education efforts. He was the ACLU’s first “story finder” and implemented a process that applied journalism methods to plaintiff finding. Engardio found plaintiffs who had narratives that played well in both the court of law and public opinion. Then he started an online video department to produce short films featuring the most compelling stories. To read more about Joel Engardio, click here.
Robert H. Mnookin is the Samuel Williston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, the Chair of the Executive Committee, Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and the Director of the Harvard Negotiation Research Project. A leading scholar in the field of conflict resolution, Professor Mnookin has applied his interdisciplinary approach to negotiation and conflict resolution to a remarkable range of problems, both public and private. A member of the CPR Institute’s National Panel of Distinguished Neutrals, Professor Mnookin has resolved a large number of complex disputes. He has served as a consultant to governments and international agencies. For a full biography, click here.