Islam and the Future of Tolerance

Feature Documentary


Directors: Jay Shapiro & Desh Amila
Producers: Desh Amila, Suzi Jamil, Aaron Louis
EPs: Vittorio Antonini, Suparna Bhasin, Peter Cooper, Michelle Bochner Spitz, Greg Stikeleather
Production Co: This is 42
DOPs: Jason Krangel, Amza Moglan

This feature documentary Islam and the Future of Tolerance featured a colour grade from Angela Cerasi.  The documentary was directed by Jay Shapiro and Desh Amila for production company This Is 42.

After publicly clashing in a debate over the concept of Islamic reform in the Muslim world, prominent atheist philosopher Sam Harris and Islamist-turned-liberal-Muslim Maajid Nawaz reconnect in this documentary several years later in an attempt at civil and honest dialogue. Sam and Maajid attempt to explore their real or imagined divides by clearly and rationally dissecting their disagreements. Through the course of their discussions, they tackle troubling passages from the Quran, the importance of the precision of language and terms (such as “Jihadism,” “Islamists,” and “radical,”) and the difficulty in finding helpful and honest responses in a fraught political terrain. Ultimately, this unlikely collaboration sheds light on the many confusions that afflict the public conversation about Islam and emphasizes how the virtues of open dialogue can help foster both understanding and tolerance in an increasingly polarized world.

Director Jay Shapiro is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in New York. While earning his degree at Clark University, he was awarded a fellowship to produce a documentary in West Africa titled Like Me, I Am Here. Over the next decade, his work enjoyed success at prestigious film festivals such as Toronto, Tribeca, RiverRun, and DOC NYC. His major directorial debut, Opposite Field, followed the journey of the first African team to play in the Little League World Series. It was bought by Netflix for digital distribution and has been shown in television markets around the world. It was featured in the New York Times and on ABC, ESPN, and CNN International. Shapiro recently directed All Rise, a feature-length documentary about the complexities of international law, which was filmed in 11 countries and privately screened at the United Nations.4

Director Desh Amilia was born in Sri Lanka.  He started from humble beginnings before realising his dream was in the West, and migrated to Melbourne, Australia in 2000. Desh has since pioneered his career as an entrepreneur, entertainer, and educator on a global scale. ‍After graduating from Melbourne’s Deakin University with a Bachelor of Arts (Media Arts: Screen Studies and Photography) in 2005, Desh soon realised that this was merely his first step into a world of many successes, many more uncertainties, painful growths and profound realisations.

To see another documentary where Angela Cerasi did the colour grade, check out The Long Quiet here.