We are always pleased when we hear about Virgil Films’ new releases on Blu-ray, DVD, video on demand and/or digital download. The titles coming out for February are just the things for film fans who are a bit tired of all those Disney daze and nights. We offer some information on the months trio.
Three siblings from New York City embark on a life-changing journey to the other side of the world to find the family members they’ve never known in the incredible, inspiring and true “Finding Samuel Love: From Harlem to China.” Retired NBC Universal executive Paula Williams Madison and her brothers, Elrick and Howard Williams, were raised in Harlem by their Chinese-Jamaican mother, Nell Vera Lowe, who hadn’t see her father, Samuel Lowe, since she was 3 years old. Nell encouraged them to realize the rags-to-riches American dream, resulting in their growth from welfare recipients to wealthy entrepreneurs. In order to fulfill a promise to their mother to connect to her estranged father’s people, they embark on a journey to uncover their ancestral roots.
The three travel to the Toronto Hakka Chinese Conference where they connect to members of the Chinese-Jamaican community. As the mystery of their grandfather Samuel Lowe’s life unfolds, the three go to Jamaica, learning that their grandfather had a life there similar to their own, starting with humble beginnings in Mocho, Clarendon Parish, and ending with successful business ownership in the affluent St. Ann’s Bay. But in 1933, he left Jamaica, returning to China for good.
Taking family tree research to epic proportions, the siblings and 16 of their family members travel to two Chinese cities, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Together, they visit their family’s ancestral village, finding documented lineage that dates their family back 3,000 years to 1006 B.C. The trip culminates in an emotional and unforgettable family reunion with 300 of their grandfather’s Chinese descendants. Available February 2.
“Chaplains” is a two-hour documentary that offers dramatic, personal portraits of the men and women who represent varying faith traditions—Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist—and the wide array of professional environments where they serve. Chaplains are called upon to minister both to people of similar faith and those whose religious beliefs may be very different from their own. In a world growing more and more uncivil, chaplains offer a model a behavior that goes beyond tolerance as they honor the faith tradition of others without compromising their own.
The film focuses on the different types of chaplains (military, prison, corporate, Senate, police, Nascar, retirement home, hospital) as well as the different faith groups they represent. Among those featured is Paul Hurley, a chaplain (major general) who was promoted to the 24th Chief of Chaplains for the United States Army in May 2015. Available February 9.
“Carole King: Natural Woman” is a celebration of the legendary singer-songwriter’s life and career, from ’60s New York to the music mecca of ’70s Los Angeles to the present. King joins collaborators and family in new interviews, while rare home movies, performances and photos complete the tapestry. Bonus features on the Blu-ray release includes four bonus songs: “Tapestry,” “So Far Away,” “I Feel the Earth Move” and “You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Buy it or tape it on February 19; the documentary will air as a PBS fundraiser.