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)





[07/24/14 - 04:20 PM]
Mayim Bialik to Host TV Land's "Candid Camera" Reboot, Premiering August 11th
Original episodes will also air Tuesday, August 12th; Wednesday, August 13th; and Thursday, August 14th at 8:00/7:00c.

[07/24/14 - 03:45 PM]
MTV Announces "Teen Wolf" Will Return for a 20-Episode Fifth Season
Additionally, the room was given a first-look at the mid-season trailer which is currently available to view on iPhone/iPad or Android via the MTV App.

[07/24/14 - 03:17 PM]
Video: Comic-Con First Look - "Moonbeam City" Comedy Central's Newest Animated Series
The series, debuting in 2015, is an absurdist take on the gritty, sex-drenched crime dramas from the 1980s.

[07/24/14 - 02:01 PM]
NBC to Wrap "Crossbones" Run on Saturday, August 2
The show's planned installments for Friday, August 1 and Friday, August 8 will now air on Saturday, August 2 starting at 8:00/7:00c.

[07/24/14 - 01:42 PM]
FOX Sports Delivers 23 Hours of Live Coverage from "Hot August Nights" Auction Presented by Barrett-Jackson
Bob Varsha leads a seven-member broadcast team, which includes Mike Joy, Steve Magnante, Ralph Sheheen, April Rose, Justin Bell and Tom Jensen.

[07/24/14 - 01:20 PM]
Video: "Legends of TV Land" Panel Reveals Sneak Peek of Upcoming Animated Episode of "Hot in Cleveland" - Featuring Zombies!
Said installment airs next Wednesday, July 30 at 10:00/9:00c on the cable channel.

[07/24/14 - 01:20 PM]
Series Premiere of FX's Newest Original Comedy Series "Married" Pulls in 1.5 Million Total Viewers and 1.1 Million Adults 18-49
FX spins the numbers for Thursday, July 17.

[07/24/14 - 12:30 PM]
Video: USA Network Unveils "Dig" at Comic-Con(R)
The channel also announced a first of its kind activation with Snapchat, inviting fans to #DIGDeeper with a social media scavenger hunt for the mysterious DIG symbol.

[07/24/14 - 12:01 PM]
Brand New Christmas Special, "Toy Story That Time Forgot," Pixar Animation Studios' Second New Special for Television Featuring Your Favorite Characters from the "Toy Story" Films," To Air December 2 on ABC
Tom Hanks and Tim Allen will once again reprise their roles from the films.

[07/24/14 - 10:53 AM]
"Oprah's The Life You Want Weekend" Announces Amy Purdy to Join Multi-City Tour This Fall
Purdy, a Paralympic Bronze Medalist snowboarder and "Dancing with the Stars" finalist, will join Oprah on stage for Toyota's "Standing O-Vation," which will recognize extraordinary people in communities around the country.

[07/24/14 - 10:03 AM]
FX Unleashes "The Strain Transformation" App
Fans can discover what will happen when an ancient parasitic plague enters their system and transforms them into a monstrous vampire.

[07/24/14 - 10:03 AM]
Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" Releases New Series of Vignettes Called "Single Shots"
The first episode, premiering today, is titled "Donuts" and includes scenes of various comedians including Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman and Brian Regan talking to Jerry about the popular fried dough confections.

[07/24/14 - 09:43 AM]
Nickelodeon and USAopoly Partner to Create Exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-Themed Monopoly(R) Games
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Edition allows fans of Nickelodeon's current TV show to vie for 22 popular locations found throughout the CG-animated series.

[07/24/14 - 08:39 AM]
Wednesday's Broadcast Ratings: "Got Talent" Puts NBC Back on Top
The Peacock's summer franchise expands originals to Wednesdays with a victory in both total viewers and adults 18-49.

[07/24/14 - 07:47 AM]
CMT's Highest-Rated Series "Party Down South" Earns Its Highest-Rated Episode Ever, Up Double Digits
CMT spins the numbers for Thursday, July 17.