(RNS) — Filmmaker Ava DuVernay has made a profession of taking individuals into unfamiliar — even uncomfortable — locations. She took viewers on an journey by way of house and time in her movie adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time” and, in “Selma,” on a journey by way of historical past into the guts of the civil rights motion.
Now, she’s inviting individuals contained in the houses of those that could seem very completely different from them.
That’s the idea of DuVernay’s first unscripted TV sequence “Home Sweet Home,” premiering Friday (Oct. 15) on NBC, during which 16 households from completely different spiritual, racial and financial backgrounds or sexual orientations commerce houses for per week.
“I actually, actually wished to share what’s within the present, which is: have fun the variations. This isn’t a ‘Kumbaya,’ ‘all maintain fingers and love one another’ second. That is ‘perceive my life in order that we will have a greater time dwelling on this world collectively,’” mentioned DuVernay, government producer of the truth present.
About one in 5 Individuals say they seldom or by no means work together with somebody who doesn’t share their race or ethnicity (21%) or faith (22%), according to a survey published in 2019 by PRRI. This lack of publicity is on the coronary heart of what DuVernay mentioned she hopes to deal with with the present.
“Worry retains us from interacting with different individuals. That’s the objective right here,” the producer mentioned. “And so, whereas it was arduous to create, I’m glad that we did it.”
The primary episode of “Dwelling Candy Dwelling,” which DuVernay mentioned prioritizes curiosity over battle, options the Wixx household — a “tremendous queer” Black couple with three kids, in accordance with Yndia Wixx, a 40-year-old freelance photographer. They commerce houses with the Vasilious, who describe themselves as a “proud Greek Orthodox household.”
In a letter welcoming the Wixx household to their residence, the Vasiliou household writes, “One of the vital necessary issues to our household is our religion. … Our church not solely serves as a spot of worship, but additionally as a cultural hub the place our traditions are stored alive.”
By the point they learn it, Yndia Wixx has already picked up on the crosses and icons hanging all through the Vasilious’ residence.
“They don’t have a Black Jesus,” she says. “We’ll see about getting them a Black Jesus.”
In the meantime, the Vasiliou household makes an attempt to embrace the Wixx household’s method to spirituality, which begins with meditation each morning, in accordance with the handbook they’ve left behind.
A number of the 4 Vasiliou kids, ranging in age from 9 to fifteen, erupt into giggles because the household sits in a circle on the ground, every holding a crystal as they take deep breaths and take heed to a guided meditation on gratitude.
“If we have been in church, would this be acceptable? No,” says stay-at-home mother Maria Vasiliou, 42. “Perhaps that is their church.”
In the long run, the 2 households share a meal collectively, and Yndia Wixx declares, “We’re household now!”
They focus on their similarities and variations and what they realized from the expertise: The Wixx household desires to share extra of their tradition with their kids, and the Vasiliou household learns love is what makes a household.
“I feel it doesn’t matter what tradition you’re, it doesn’t matter what faith you’re, we’re all people and we must always all love one another,” says Nick Vasiliou, 44, who’s president of a diet firm.
DuVernay mentioned her personal beliefs and stereotypes about individuals of different faiths have been challenged in filming the sequence.
Particularly, she informed journalists, she was “scared” whereas filming an episode that includes a “blond-haired, blue-eyed Mormon household from Orange County.”
“I won’t go to that, as a result of I do know they don’t like Black individuals,” DuVernay, who’s Black, mentioned she thought on the time.
Later, seeing the members of the family’ curiosity in regards to the household with whom they’d swapped houses, the producer questioned her personal stereotypes about them, which she mentioned are “generally rooted in a reality that has been distorted.”
In 1978, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reversed its policies stopping males of African descent from holding the priesthood and all church members of African descent from getting into the temple. It just lately celebrated the 40th anniversary of that reversal, together with the contributions Black church members have made to LDS thought, artwork, music and management.
Different episodes of “Dwelling Candy Dwelling” function Sikh, Jewish, Hindu and atheist households.
DuVernay hopes the truth present shall be an identical studying device for viewers — to not point out, enjoyable to look at.
“We’re actually difficult individuals to transcend what they assume they know and ask themselves, ‘Why do you even assume that?’ and, ‘Are you aware what you assume ?’ and problem the the reason why you consider what you consider,” she mentioned.