Filmmaker to Show and Discuss His Work at Willamette

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Macky Alston will screen two films at Willamette University.

"Family Name" will be shown Wednesday, Feb. 5, and "Questioning Faith" will be shown Thursday, Feb. 6. Both programs begin at 7 p.m. in Hudson Hall in the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center. The free screenings are sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Programs and The Lilly Project at Willamette University.

Alston will answer questions after each screening, and will discuss his vocation as a filmmaker at Convocation Feb. 6 in Willamette's Cone Chapel at 12:45 p.m.

"Family Name," described by Rolling Stone as "a moving, unforgettable film," chronicles Alston's pursuit of a family secret of a slaveholding past, embodied by the number of African-American children in his town who shared his last name.

In "Questioning Faith," Alston, a seminary dropout, returns to seminary to pursue the questions: How can anyone believe in God, any god, after experiencing life at its most devastating? And what is it about human nature that leads one person to find religion in the midst of such chaos and another to lose it? Interviews with theologians and others - Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and Christians - illuminate very different perspectives on these questions.

Alston comes from three generations of Presbyterian ministers and is himself a seminary dropout. Upon the death of his former seminary classmate and close friend Alan Smith, a young inner-city chaplain, Alston returned to seminary to try to find meaning in his demise, to wrestle with his own faith, and to make this film.