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)









[04/18/14 - 12:09 PM]
First Lady Michelle Obama and Kellie Pickler Guest Star on "Nashville"
Said installment revolves around a charity concert at Fort Campbell.

[04/18/14 - 11:25 AM]
"Saturday Night Live" to Celebrate 40th Anniversary on Feb. 15, 2015
Past and present cast members, as well as special and musical guests from the show's incredible five-decade run, will appear on the telecast, with the specific lineup of guests to be determined in the coming months.

[04/18/14 - 10:56 AM]
New truTV Series "The Carbonaro Effect," Starring Comic Magician Michael Carbonaro, Set To Premiere Thursday, May 15th at 10pm ET/PT
The new 12-episode and hilarious series follows Carbonaro as he tricks, amazes and amuses the unsuspecting public.

[04/18/14 - 10:21 AM]
TLC Stitches Up Season Two, And Says I Do to More "Something Borrowed, Something New"
Season three, currently scheduled to premiere in November, promises to deliver more tears shed over old shredded threads.

[04/18/14 - 10:13 AM]
Video: "The Normal Heart" - Trailer (HBO Films)
The trailer will air this Sunday, April 20 just before "Game of Thrones" at 9:00/8:00c.

[04/18/14 - 10:02 AM]
Ariana Grande, Austin Mahone, Becky G, Zendaya, R5 and Fifth Harmony to Perform at the 2014 Radio Disney Music Awards
"Disney Channel Presents The Radio Disney Music Awards," a television special originating from the event, will be presented Sunday, April 27 on Disney Channel.

[04/18/14 - 09:32 AM]
Syfy's Hit Competition Series "Face Off" to Return for 7th Season in July
Season 7 will also introduce new judge, Lois Burwell, a renowned Academy-Award winning makeup artist known for her work on Lincoln, Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse and War of the Worlds.

[04/18/14 - 09:30 AM]
Shakira to Sing "Empire" from New Self-Titled Album on Live Tuesday, April 22 Telecast of "The Voice"
In addition to the Grammy Award-winning Shakira, "The Voice" coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will perform a song with their respective teams on the April 22 telecast.

[04/18/14 - 08:43 AM]
"Jimmy Kimmel Live" Scores Its Best-Ever Numbers at 11:35 p.m.
ABC spins the late-night numbers for Thursday, April 17.

[04/18/14 - 08:42 AM]
"Parenthood" Jumps 18% Versus Last Week in 18-49, Making It Its Top Episode in Three Weeks
NBC spins the numbers for Thursday, April 17.

[04/18/14 - 08:22 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: "Scandal" Finale Powers ABC Into the Top Spot
The Alphabet takes home the adults 18-49 crown but falls just short as the most-watched network.

[04/18/14 - 08:17 AM]
ABC Wins Thursday with "Scandal" Posting Best-Ever Season Finale Numbers
ABC spins the numbers for Thursday, April 17.

[04/18/14 - 08:06 AM]
Celebrities, Renovating Families and Fixer-Uppers Take Center Stage in Nine New Series on HGTV
Among the network's latest additions: "Genevieve's Renovation," "Sold on the Spot" and "The Brothers Big Reno Project."

[04/18/14 - 07:45 AM]
Ed Stafford Returns to Discovery in All-New Epic Series, "Marooned" Premiering Wednesday, April 23 at 10PM ET/PT
Ed strive to prove to himself that he can tackle the challenges of any environment, once again with nothing except his camera - and find everything he needs to not just survive, but thrive in some of the world's toughest environments.

[04/17/14 - 09:31 PM]
"American Idol" Voting Results for April 17
Next week, on Wednesday, April 23, the Top Six get a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll as they perform two songs each - one country and one rock!