CHAPLAINS is a new documentary film that goes inside the dynamic and fast-changing world of chaplains, men and women who represent their own particular faith tradition but who are trained to be of comfort and support to people of all faiths — or to those who profess no faith.

With a tradition dating back centuries, chaplains today are on the front lines, often in the midst of life and death situations, where the questions are the deepest and the need for spiritual and pastoral care the greatest. From the war zone to the workplace, chaplains serve as pastor, social worker, counselor, and bridge builder, and “lean into the painful places,” as prison chaplain Karuna Thompson says. While there have been chaplains on the battlefield for centuries, today’s battlefields can be anywhere people feel danger or despair, or where they simply need a spiritual connection.

CHAPLAINS, which is structured as a series of stories, follows a unique group of dedicated men and women into a multitude of arenas where they offer help and support: the battlefields in Afghanistan, a motion picture retirement home in Hollywood, a poultry processing plant in Tennessee, a state penitentiary in Oregon, the U.S. Congress, at the hospital bedside, and at the NASCAR racetrack. Through these diverse stories, CHAPLAINS offers an engrossing and thought-provoking look at brave men and women on the frontiers of faith, whose work crosses denominational differences and provides comfort to a broad cross-section of people eager for help and comfort.

There is a lot of polarization in our world today – and a great deal of that is around religion.” says filmmaker Martin Doblmeier. “Many people openly say religion is the cause of so much of the evil in the world, and people who call themselves religious spend too much time arguing over insignificant points of belief. I think chaplains offer a very different model for a person of faith in the everyday world, as they strives to build bridges rather than create divides, and as they engage them not as someone to be converted but who needs to be met where they are.”

CHAPLAINS is produced and directed by Martin Doblmeier, whose award-winning films on faith and spirituality include BONHOEFFER, The ADVENTISTS and The POWER OF FORGIVENESS.  It is a production of Journey Films and a presentation of Maryland Public Television. Principal funding was provided by Lilly Endowment, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, The Henry Luce Foundation, the Fetzer Institute and the E. Rhodes and Leona B Carpenter Foundation. CHAPLAINS premieres on public television in November 2015 and will be available on DVD at October 1st, 2015.





CHAPLAINS is a new 2-hour documentary film that takes the viewer into the dynamic world of chaplains – men and women who represent their own particular faith tradition but are trained to be of comfort and support to everyone – religious or not.

With a tradition dating back centuries, chaplains today are on the front lines – often in the midst of life and death situations – where the questions are the deepest and the need for spiritual and pastoral care the greatest.

An inside view into the life 0f Muslim Chaplain, Khalil Refai, working the beat for the Hamtramck Police Department.

Catholic Chaplain, Margarita Roque, describes what it’s like connecting and gaining a patient’s trust.



David Fleenor, HealthCare Chaplaincy educator, describes what steps one would take in order to become Chaplain.




US Army Chaplain Paul Hurley, a Catholic priest, says mass for the troops at a Military base in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Tyson Foods Chaplain Melissa Brannan walks the production line at a food processing plant in Springdale, Arkansas.

Karuna Thompson, Buddhist Chaplain at Oregon State Penitentiary, walks the cells block at the maximum security prison in Salem, Oregon.


Chaplain Kathleen Ennis-Durstine, senior chaplain at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, visits a sick child.


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