Filmmaker Helen Whitney on Wednesday's Access Utah

Jul 9, 2013

Award-winning filmmaker Helen Whitney says “forgiveness is elusive, mysterious, primal...an idea and an ache that is rooted in existential concerns.” PBS describes her film Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate this way: It “provides an intimate look into the spontaneous outpouring of forgiveness: from the Amish families for the 2006 shooting of their children in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania; the struggle of '60s radicals to cope with the serious consequences of their violent acts of protest;

the shattering of a family after the mother abandons them, only to return seeking forgiveness; the legacy and divisiveness of apartheid and the aftermath of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in South Africa; the penitential journey of a modern-day Germany, confronting the horrific acts of the Holocaust; and the riveting stories of survivors of the unimaginably, brutal Rwandan genocide. Once a uniquely religious word, forgiveness now is changing and there is no consensus about what it is and what it is becoming. However you define forgiveness, its power is real — and never more so when it struggles with the unforgivable. Inevitably, as Whitney reveals, its new role in the world raises serious and complex questions: why is forgiveness in the air today; what does that say about us and the times we live in; what are its power, its limitations and in some instances its dangers; has it been cheapened or deepened... or both?” Helen Whitney, whose films also include The Mormons, and Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero, was a guest of USU’s Caine College of the Arts for several events in January. We’ll revisit our conversation with Helen Whitney on Wednesday’s Access Utah.