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Gimme A Faith

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Catalogue Number:  TVP097
Producer:  Video Project, Inc.
Subject:  Documentary, Guidance, Health, Psychology, Religious Studies, Social Issues, Social Sciences, Sociology
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Adult
Country Of Origin:  United States
Copyright Year:  2018
Running Time:  82:44

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Each year, hundreds of thousands of Chinese students arrive in the United States to attend college, making up one-third of international students. After arriving, they are often confronted with loneliness and culture-shock. The resulting isolation makes them particularly susceptible to outside influences, and consequently thousands of these young arrivals convert to Christianity. Arriving in North Carolina to study filmmaking, Director Hao Zhang is surprised at the existence of this unique community and takes up his camera to follow various new students as they balance the pressures of community, identity, and belonging, in an attempt to help him come to terms with his own feelings of isolation and aimlessness.

After initially landing in New York City, the small town of Winston Salem, North Carolina gives Zhang immediate culture shock. Whereas NYC was the vision of America he anticipated from various Western films and shows, nothing prepared him for the preponderance of churches, necessity for an automobile, and the general ennui of small town America. After countless days of frozen dinners and lonely basketball games, Zhang jumps at an invitation to a church event in Raleigh just to break the cycle. Bringing his camera along, he is drawn into the world of evangelical Christianity as perpetuated by his fellow Chinese international students and led by fellow 22-year-old student Ang Li, who is both eloquent and fiery in his defense of the religion and proselytism tactics.
Surprised by this unexpected aspect of studying abroad that is often at stark odds with their Communist roots in China, Gimme a Faith follows these students as well as lone skeptic Gong, whose staunch atheism leaves him largely isolated. Over the course of the year, some have their faith shaken while others double down on their stances. All have their own path to walk. With unique access, the film is an intriguing and heartfelt story about isolation, identity, and faith.
** Program not available for sale to Post Secondary institutions. **


New Orleans Film Festival
Atlanta Film Festival
Riverrun Film Festival
Indie Grits Film Festival
Reel South


"Recommended. This is a thoughtful, contemplative film. It illuminates the experience of Chinese students at American universities, and some of the challenges and isolation they face. It also raises questions about evangelistic techniques and individual autonomy...This film is a valuable contribution that handles its subject matter well." — Educational Media Reviews Online
"Confronts provocative issues with intelligence and complexity. While Hao is aware of the Chinese students’ vulnerability and wary of the Christian community’s intentions, he doesn’t pass judgment. Gimme a Faith is also an impressive debut from a college filmmaker who confronts his own conflicted issues over the course of the documentary through introspective narration." — Video Librarian

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