“Emanuel: The Untold Story of the Victims and Survivors of the Charleston Church Shooting,” takes a unique look at the aftermath of the June 17, 2015 murder of nine church members of historic Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church. A roster of popular celebrities—actors and athletes—are involved with the film; some of whom bought out theatres and provided complimentary tickets for people to attend one of the two June 17 and June 19 screenings. The documentary’s director is Brian Ivie. He is a co-founder of Arbella Studios, a company that creates projects that tell stories of faith and social justice.
Alliance Theological Seminary’s (ATS) own Dimas Salaberrios, a 2012 M.Div. alumnus is on the production team along with co-executive producers Stephen Curry, Viola Davis and Mariska Hargitay. The 74-minute film offers a poignant presentation of the lives that were ended, but also visits surviving relatives and the process of their grief.
Dimas Salaberrios is a pastor of Infinity Church in the Bronx and president of Concerts of Prayer Greater New York. Also the published author of Street God (Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Dimas and his family traveled to Charleston in 2015 to pray with families of victims and community residents following this tragedy, a ministry outreach reported in the June 16, 2015 Washington Post.
Commentary from Dr. A.R. Bernard, another ATS graduate and a recipient of a 2009 honorary Nyack Doctor of Divinity is shared throughout the film.
The documentary is distributed by Fathom Events. According to the company’s website, Fathom “began in 2002 as an experiment—a test to see whether the movie theater could become home to unique content beyond studio blockbusters and if one-of-a-kind entertainment events could draw audiences to cinemas on weeknights and other off-peak time frames.”
“Emanuel” is a vehicle for reaching the world with the gospel, illustrating Christ’s love and the power of forgiveness.