P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
December 9, 2003
Amish as Free-Spirits, at MASS MoCA January 8
(North Adams, Mass.) The Amish are known as a deeply religious people who have chosen a simple, disciplined, yet mysterious life away from outside influence. The Amish regard the outside world as the "devil's playground". The award-winning independent documentary, Devil's Playground, follows several Amish teenagers through Rumspringa, a special grace period during which Amish youth are allowed access to the outside world before making the defining decision whether to live the Amish lifestyle for the rest of their lives or to leave their families forever and embrace the freedom, as well as the dangers, of the outside world. As part of its Thursday night Cinema Lounge series, MASS MoCA will screen Devil's Playground on Thursday, January 8, at 8 P.M. Filmmaker Lucy Walker will attend the screening and take questions after the film.
The day Amish teenagers turns 16 their entire world changes. This is the beginning of Rumspringa, which can last anywhere from several months to several years. After growing up in an isolated community, Amish youth are granted unfettered access to the outside world including alcohol, drugs, and sexual promiscuity; in the hopes that they will make the decision to dedicate their lives to the Amish church in the full knowledge of what they will be giving up. Devil's Playground follows several teenagers as they struggle with faith, drug addiction, and the inevitable decision to give up family or to give up choice. During Rumspringa, the Amish teen must learn how to survive outside the protective social milieu of their home community.
The film focuses on two teens, Velda and Faron, who have been in Rumspringa for several months. Velda suffers from depression and decides to join the church in an attempt to alleviate her symptoms, but when it doesn't work she has to decide whether to quit, knowing her family will shun her and refuse to speak to her. Her dream is to attend college even though she's never attended high school. During his Rumspringa, Faron has become a junkie, dealing drugs to support his habit. When other dealers come after him he attempts to break his addiction and join the church with the help of his new girlfriend, Emma. But when Emma decides not to join the church Faron begins to slip back into his old ways and must decide whether to follow Emma and try to make an honest living, even though he only has an 8th grade education.
Tickets to Devil's Playground are $5.50 (members save 10%) and are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesdays). Reservations can also be made over the phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or made online at www.massmoca.org. Doors open at 7 for food and drink before the film.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall St. in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release