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)





[07/29/14 - 04:58 PM]
Tiger Woods to Appear in First-Ever Exclusive Interview with FOX Sports, Tonight on FOX Sports 1
Woods discussed a range of topics over the course of the conversation, including where he is both mentally and physically at this stage of his return.

[07/29/14 - 03:39 PM]
TV Land Picks Up 10 Episodes of "The Gaffigan Show" Starring Comedian Jim Gaffigan
Ashley Williams, Adam Goldberg and Michael Ian Black also star in the project, which was previously set up at CBS.

[07/29/14 - 02:44 PM]
"Laughs," A Weekly Roundup of the Best Stand-Up Comedy in America, Premieres This Saturday, August 2nd on the Fox Television Stations
Steve Hofstetter hosts the series, which will share the funniest, laugh-out-loud moments from comedy clubs in Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York, Phoenix, Houston, Louisville, Chicago and more!

[07/29/14 - 01:27 PM]
Syfy's "12 Monkeys" to Commence Series Production in Toronto
The network also confirms additional casting, inking Tom Noonan and Emily Hampshire for recurring roles.

[07/29/14 - 12:57 PM]
VH1's "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta" Is on Fire! All-New Episode Airing on a Special Night: Thursday, July 30th 8:00 PM ET/PT
Said installment will then encore in its regular time period on Monday, August 4 at 8:00/7:00c.

[07/29/14 - 12:52 PM]
Shawn Doyle Tapped as a Recurring Guest Star in USA Network's Globe-Trotting Espionage Drama "Covert Affairs"
He'll play Aleksandre Belenko, a Georgian diplomat educated in the U.S. and celebrated for his work with charitable organizations worldwide.

[07/29/14 - 12:35 PM]
FXX Sets Premiere Date for "The League" Season 6
The series will return on Wednesday, September 3 at 10:00/9:00c followed by new episodes of "Ali G Rezurection."

[07/29/14 - 12:02 PM]
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers to Perform on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Thursday, July 31 on ABC
That evening, Kimmel will also welcome actress Kerry Washington from ABC's "Scandal."

[07/29/14 - 11:33 AM]
"The World Dog Awards" Makes Its Television Debut in January, 2015 on The CW
For the first time, dogs will be celebrated for their work in entertainment, health services and the military, along with everyday dogs who found fame on the internet.

[07/29/14 - 10:45 AM]
"Does Someone Have to Go?" Will Air on CNBC on August 20
The short-lived FOX series will rebroadcast on the network beginning on said Wednesday at 9:00/8:00c.

[07/29/14 - 10:34 AM]
NBC's Summer Hit "America's Got Talent" Adds Voting and Instant Save on Google Search Starting Tonight July 29 and 30
The new "Snapple Save" in the results shows completely changes the game in how fans choose the fate of the acts.

[07/29/14 - 10:34 AM]
"Anger Management" Partners with "Partners" Beginning Monday, August 4 on FX
Both Lionsgate-produced comedies will air back-to-back episodes for five consecutive weeks.

[07/29/14 - 10:28 AM]
Original Unscripted Series "Parents Just Don't Understand" to Premiere August 23 on the Hub Network
The unique reality series gives real kids and their parents a chance to find out what it feels like to be in the other person's shoes.

[07/29/14 - 10:25 AM]
American Heroes Channel Celebrates Best July Ever in Prime and Total Day Delivery Among P2+ and HH
American Heroes Channel spins the numbers for the month to date.

[07/29/14 - 10:00 AM]
VH1 Picks Up "Hit the Floor" for a Third Season
Season 3 of VH1's "Hit the Floor" is expected to premiere in May 2015 with 10 new episodes.