The Calling


Video Trailer: 

Explore how The Calling encouraged thousands of conversations about each of us finding our own calling in the world.

The Calling is a landmark four-hour PBS documentary series and community engagement campaign that follows Muslim, Catholic, Evangelical Christian and Jewish seminarians—from their first days of training, through years of study, and into their early practice as ordained religious professionals.

It takes viewers into the unknown world of seminaries to reveal the real people "behind the robes." The Calling reached 2.5 million viewers, when it aired nationally on the ITVS/PBS series Independent Lens in 2010.

As our subjects embark on life paths that demand tremendous personal sacrifice and commitment, they will be called upon to uphold timeless truths in an era that values quick fixes and hot trends, and to face a public that challenges the very relevance of their mission. And if competing with popular culture were not enough, they will confront peer and family pressure, as well as internal spiritual conflicts. The Calling offers surprising stories that offer a fresh look at how faith is lived in a modern, largely secular world.

The film lived on through a major engagement campaign, What's Your Calling?, producing over 100 web videos asking regular folks how they found their career or calling in life.


The Calling was directed by Yoni Brook, Alicia Dwyer, Muse Syeed, and Maggie Bowman. Executive Producer Danny Alpert, Editor and Co-Producer Susanne Suffredin. Co-Producer Beth Sternheimer.

The passionate voices of the characters will resonate strongly with all viewers, young and old, secular and religious. With a subject matter that reaches broadly and deeply into contemporary American life, The Calling’s companion digital and community engagement campaign, What’s Your Calling? (WYC), explores the notion of “calling” from both religious and secular perspectives. Through a growing series of interviews, videos and blog posts, WYC pushes the notion of "calling" to explore all of the stuff that makes us human: our values, our passions, our doubts and hopes. Profiling individuals from diverse backgrounds – professional snowboarders, jazz musicians, tug boat captains, academics, improvisers, Muay Thai fighters, religious leaders, social workers, environmental activists, toy inventors – WYC shares what people have been called to do with their lives and how they hope to change the world.

WYC has generated an exciting buzz across the country and the web and become a rich wellspring of information, dialogue and inspiration. With nearly 100 video profiles, WYC’s ( attracts thousands of visits each month, its lively Twitter feed (@whatsURcalling) is followed by over 700 people and its Facebook page ( has well over 2000 active fans from the U.S., Canada, Israel, India, Egypt, Brazil, Pakistan, the U.A.E, Indonesia and throughout Europe.


The Calling is produced with the support of the from the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the Henry Luce Foundation, the Hartley Film Foundation, Pacific Islanders in Communications, the Irving Harris Foundation, Samuel Zell Foundation, National Black Programming Consortium, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and the Zarrow Family Foundation.