or


[07/12/11 - 11:52 AM]
"Koran by Heart" Goes Inside the World's Oldest Koran-Reciting Contest to Tell the Inspiring Stories of Three Young Competitors, When It Debuts Aug. 1, Exclusively on HBO
Directed by Greg Barker, the film captures the drama of the 2010 edition of this annual event.

[via press release from HBO]

"KORAN BY HEART" GOES INSIDE THE WORLD'S OLDEST KORAN-RECITING CONTEST TO TELL THE INSPIRING STORIES OF THREE YOUNG COMPETITORS, WHEN IT DEBUTS AUG. 1, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, many of whom grapple with the role religion should play in their lives, and the lives of their children. Each year during Ramadan, more than a hundred of the best young students from more than 70 countries across the Islamic world converge on Cairo for Egypt's International Holy Koran Competition, one of the Islamic world's most prestigious contests. Some of the competitors are as young as seven, and several have memorized the entire 600-page Koran without actually speaking Arabic.

Directed by Greg Barker (HBO's "Sergio"), the inspiring documentary KORAN BY HEART captures the drama of the 2010 edition of this annual event, following three extraordinary ten-year-olds who have dedicated their lives to honoring their families, countries and culture through memorization of the religious text. The film debuts MONDAY, AUG. 1 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), the first night of the holy Muslim holiday Ramadan, exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: Aug. 1 (5:15 a.m.), 4 (1:00 p.m.), 6 (1:00 p.m.), 9 (11:00 a.m., 12:30 a.m.) and 14 (4:30 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Aug. 3 (8:00 p.m.) and 20 (6:00 a.m.)

HBO Documentary Films presents another weekly series this summer, debuting a provocative new special every Monday through Aug. 15. Other August films include "Superheroes" (Aug. 8) and "Gloria: In Her Own Words" (Aug. 15).

Koran-reciting competitions have proliferated across the Islamic world, and Egypt's is the oldest and arguably the most prestigious. The annual event takes place over two weeks during the month of Ramadan, with most of the young contestants fasting and engaging in competition rounds that can last until three in the morning. Many competitors do not speak Arabic, but can recite it beautifully, often with the perfect intonation known as "tajweed."

KORAN BY HEART follows two boys and one girl as they go head-to-head with other children, some nearly twice their age, and spotlights the second- and third-place winners, who inhabit an environment caught between fundamentalist and moderate visions of Islam.

In addition, Barker journeys through the Muslim world, chronicling the lives and motivations of these three remarkably talented children as they face uncertain futures amidst the controversies and divisions that engulf their regions. The documentary captures touching moments of them at home with their families, where they open up about life and religion, academic dreams and career aspirations.

The contestants profiled in the film are:

Nabiollah, from rural Tajikistan, where he is the star Koran reciter of a small rural Madrassa at which students learn almost nothing but the Koran. Only educated in Koran memorization, Nabiollah is unable to read and write in his own language. Just before he leaves for Cairo, Nabiollah's school is shut down by Tajikistan's secular government as part of a crackdown against Islamic extremism.

Rifdha, a straight-A student from the Maldives and one of only ten girls in the competition. Rifdha's traditional father is turning to a more conservative form of Islam, while her mother encourages her to study science and pursue a career. Although her father explains that Rifdha will be educated, he also says that her ultimate goal in life is to be a housewife.

Djamil, who comes to Cairo from rural Senegal, unaccompanied by any family or guardians. Considered the country's top young reciter, he is told by his teacher that he will represent all of Africa at the competition. Djamil listens intently and sets out to live up to the high expectations. But when it is his turn to recite a section of the Koran, Djamil becomes confused and doesn't understand the directions the judges give him in Arabic, a language he can recite, but doesn't understand.

KORAN BY HEART also features Kristina Nelson, author of "The Art of Reciting the Qur'an," who explains the rules of pronunciation and intonation, and judge Dr. Salem Abdel-Galil, deputy minister of the Ministry of Religion in Egypt, who discusses his moderate view of Islam while noting that the levels reached in heaven are decided by how much of the Koran is memorized.

The film offers a compelling and nuanced glimpse into the pressures faced by the next generation of Muslims, which are often similar to those faced by non-Muslim students. The motivation and perseverance of Nabiollah, Rifdha and Djamil give insight into the beauty and meaning Muslims find in the Koran and in the act of recitation.

While the competition has been held in Cairo for many years, it is unclear, given the political climate, if it will take place in 2011.

Director Greg Barker says the greatest challenge in making KORAN BY HEART was "finding a way to make the ancient art of Islamic recitation accessible to a non-Muslim, Western audience. As ordinary people make decisions over how to educate their children, the future of the next generation of Muslims hangs in the balance."

KORAN BY HEART premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and was an official selection of 2011 Mountain Film in Telluride and 2011 HotDocs.

Former war correspondent Greg Barker's films include the award-winning "Ghosts of Rwanda" and other documentaries for the PBS series "Frontline," as well as "Sergio," which debuted on HBO in 2010.

KORAN BY HEART was directed by Greg Barker; produced by Julie Goldman, John Battsek, Greg Barker and David Grabias; edited by Langdon F. Page; director of photography, Frank-Peter Lehmann. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.





  [july 2011]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S
     


· SHOWATCH
(series past and present)
· DEVWATCH
(series in development)
· MOVIEWATCH
(tv movies and mini-series)





[07/01/16 - 09:44 AM]
TV One Addresses National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month with "The Secret She Kept"
Kyla Pratt, Gavin Houston, Kellita Smith and Vanessa A. Williams star in the original movie, premiering Sunday, July 10 on the cable channel.

[07/01/16 - 09:09 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: "Big Brother" Rises in Latest Victory for CBS
The Eye wins the evening among total viewers and adults 18-49.

[06/30/16 - 06:50 PM]
"Big Brother" Announces the First Ever "Battle Back" Competition
All four "Battle Back" competitions and the reveal of the winner, will air exclusively during a special episode on Friday, July 22.

[06/30/16 - 02:53 PM]
Science Channel to Premiere "Unearthed" July 5 at 10PM
From the Pyramids to the Parthenon and Big Ben in London, the series reveals the deepest secrets of each structure by using the latest technology to solve mysteries.

[06/30/16 - 02:49 PM]
TLC's "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding" Returns with More Unique Dresses and Crazy Catfights
The series' fifth season premieres Sunday, July 17 at 10:00/9:00c.

[06/30/16 - 01:50 PM]
Kellita Smith ("The Bernie Mac Show") Joins the Cast of "In The Cut," Hit Bounce TV Comedy Series Returns for Season Two Tues. July 5 @ 9PM (ET)
Also on tap this season are Angie Stone, Claudia Jordan, Kenny Lattimore and Rolonda Watts.

[06/30/16 - 12:33 PM]
"Queen Sugar" to Debut with Two-Night Premiere Event Tuesday, September 6, and Wednesday, September 7 at 10 PM ET/PT on OWN
Led by acclaimed film director Ava DuVernay, who directed the first two episodes, all episodes in the series' debut season are directed by women.

[06/30/16 - 12:22 PM]
"Basketball Wives" Star Shaunie O'Neal Takes "Shaunie's Home Court" New Series Debuts on VH1 Sunday, July 17th at 10:30 PM ET/PT
The half hour comedic unscripted program follows O'Neal as she works to keep her lively family in line.

[06/30/16 - 11:47 AM]
Original Episodes of NBC Hits "Superstore" and "The Voice" Blind Auditions to Air During the Rio Summer Olympics
Look for said installments on Friday, August 19 and Sunday, August 21 at 10:30 p.m. following Olympics coverage.

[06/30/16 - 10:58 AM]
Marvel Television Returns to San Diego Comic-Con
The fun kicks off Thursday, July 21, with the first-ever San Diego Comic-Con Marvel and Netflix panel session.

[06/30/16 - 10:46 AM]
MTV Invades San Diego Comic-Con with the Return of "Teen Wolf," "MTV Fandom Fest" and "MTV Fandom Awards"
MTV will be on-the-ground with its own branded booth, giving fans an all-new interactive VR experience on the floor of the San Diego Convention Center.

[06/30/16 - 10:34 AM]
Animal Planet's "Dr. Dee: Alaska Vet" Returns with More Heartwarming Animal Rescues
The all-new season premieres Saturday, July 16 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on the cable channel.

[06/30/16 - 09:49 AM]
Starting Friday, Your Favorite Films Written and Directed by Albert Brooks Are Available in the U.S.
The films include: Defending Your Life, which marks its 25th anniversary this year; Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World; Lost in America; Modern Romance; Mother; The Muse; and Real Life.

[06/30/16 - 09:31 AM]
Cartoon Network Studios Connects Rising Talent with Mentors in Inaugural 3-Day Animation Jam, July 9-11
This 3-day animation jam continues the tradition of Cartoon Network's widely-recognized, artists-first approach in developing and discovering fresh and innovative content across all platforms.

[06/30/16 - 09:21 AM]
Academy Award(R) Winner and Marine Corps Veteran Gene Hackman Narrates Iwo Jima Film for Smithsonian Channel(TM)
The one-hour special provides new evidence and analysis proving that U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. and Purple Heart recipient Harold Schultz was one of the flag raisers in Joe Rosenthal's iconic Iwo Jima photo on Mount Suribachi.