In 2018, American missionary John Chau, age 26, traveled illegally to one of the most difficult-to-reach places on Earth– North Sentinel Island, in the Bay of Bengal– with the single-minded goal of converting one of the world’s most isolated populations to Christianity, despite knowing that trespassers risk being shot at with arrows. This misguided mission would quickly see him killed. Through voice-over readings of John’s journal entries and heart-wrenching observations from his grieving father, The Mission provides unique insight into the persistent dangers of religious fanaticism. Bolstered by beautifully imagined, animated reenactments and thoughtful selections of archival film footage, this intriguing documentary explores the troubling legacy of the romanticized colonial-era exploration narratives that inspired John’s mission. Highlights include interviews with historian Adam Goodheart and anthropologist T.N. Pandit– some of the few people to have seen North Sentinel Island up close– as well as darkly amusing anecdotes from linguist and former missionary Daniel Everett, who recounts losing his Christian faith to the Amazonian Pirahã tribe.
Series Media Partner
Carolyn Bernstein, Doug Bock Clark
Jonathan Chinn, Simon Chinn, Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine, Will Cohen
Jesse Moss & Amanda McBaine
Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss have been filmmaking partners for 20 years. They directed Boys State, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was released by Apple Original Films and A24. The film won the 2021 Primetime Emmy Award for Best Nonfiction Film and received DGA and Emmy nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. Their previous film, The Overnighters, won the Special Jury Prize for Intuitive Filmmaking at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and was distributed by Drafthouse Films and Netflix.
See more films in this series:
A reclusive farmer begins to reconnect with Finland's near-extinct Eurasian lynxes after finding them on his land. Through a series of wildlife encounters, the farmer performs primal, moonlit rituals, blurring the distinctions between man and beast.
This moving doc zooms in on Ho Chung Village, which lies in the hilly rural area of Hong Kong. Once a decade, its citizens hold the Peace and Light Festival as a tribute to their village, its departed souls, and the gods that preside over them all.
The Invention of the Other
In 2019, FUNAI, a Brazilian state protection agency working for Indigenous rights, sent an expedition of 30 people into the Amazon rainforest to make first contact with the Korubo. This powerful film is an immersive ethnographic journey.
An impassioned plea to care for the very thing that feeds us, balances the climate, and sustains life on earth: soil. Common Ground unveils the potential of regenerative farming, to show us how saving the soil can help save us along with it.
In 2018, an American missionary traveled illegally to one of the most isolated places on Earth– North Sentinel Island, determined to convert one of the world’s most isolated populations to Christianity. This misguided mission would quickly see him killed.
WaaPaKe is a story about resilience, love and transformation. Examined through an Indigenous lens, the stories of residential school Survivor-Warriors and their families offer an understanding of both intergenerational trauma and healing.
Mareya Shot, Keetha Goal: Make the Shot
This spirited sports doc follows four junior hockey players of South Asian descent through the 2021-2022 season as they strive to make it to the NHL. Among them, Surrey’s own Arsh Bains, who signs with the Vancouver Canucks.
Exploring the luminous ecosystems deep in the Pacific Ocean alongside the countries and companies hoping to reap the lucrative deposits of precious metals lining depths of the ocean. Deep Rising asks if this may end our search for efficient green power.
On the Adamant
On the Seine in central Paris, not far from the city’s cultural landmarks, is a huge, floating barge called The Adamant, a psychotherapy day centre with a special focus on art therapy. This tender doc won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale.
Physician, Heal Thyself
One of the world's foremost experts on addiction and trauma, Dr Gabor Maté shares not only his theories, but also his own story: his difficult childhood in Hungary and his long years of therapeutic practice in and around Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.