The non-profit group Clarion Project has produced a new documentary, titled "Faithkeepers," to highlight the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.
The Clarion Project, founded in 2006, has teamed up with Emmy-nominated actress and producer Roma Downey and U.S.-trained lawyer Paula Kweskin to document the suffering of Christian, Yazidi and other minorities at the hands of the Islamic State terror group in the Middle East.
Kweskin said in a recent interview with The Stream that she decided to do the project after she learned the harrowing story of the escape of Assyrian-Christian activist Juliana Taimoorazy from the Middle East.
Other people who either witnessed or experienced persecution were interviewed in the documentary, but some were hesitant and wanted to be filmed in shadow. "It depend[ed] on how people responded to the trauma," Kweskin.
Those who were interviewed in the documentary witnessed beheadings of family members or experienced kidnapping, rape and torture.
Some of the stories of the victims were depicted through original black and white "cartoons" instead of the typical Hollywood practice of interjecting blood and violence.
Kweskin said she felt that viewers would be more connected to the story with the cartoons because the brain will "fill in the gaps." "It was a way to bring [victims' testimonies] to life in a creative way," she remarked.
She is hoping that the documentary would encourage people to feel concern and empathy for the persecuted and connect the Christians in the U.S. with believers in the Middle East.
"The Church doesn't know these stories very well," she recounted. "The people we profiled are waiting on their brothers and sisters to help ... wondering 'Where is the Church?'" she continued.
In a 2015 interview with Israel Breaking News, Kweskin expressed concern that Christians are being wiped out of the Middle East.
"Jesus was born in the Middle East and walked these lands. Middle Eastern communities were the first to accept Christianity. It is appalling that ISIS is erasing thousands of years of Christian history in the region with the goal of creating an Islamic world," she said.
Screenings of "Faithkeepers" will be held in churches across the U.S. beginning on May 23 for one month. The documentary will also be distributed through other platforms such as Direct TV, Comcast and Netflix.