You might be shocked by what I’m about to tell you, but the world of stained glass is far from boring. In fact, it’s absolutely captivating.
Especially, if that world is anything like the one captured in “Holy Frit.”
Directed by Justin Monroe, “Holy Frit” takes viewers on the riveting journey of artist Tim Carey and Judson Studios as they race against the clock to make the largest stained-glass window in the world.
Sometimes artists can be walled-off and elusive, which can pose an obvious challenge to the filmmakers documenting them. Not artist Tim Carey. Animated and outspoken, Carey has a big presence on screen which immediately draws viewers in and wins their hearts and attention for the duration of the 2-hour film.
Wondrously suspenseful, “Holy Frit” captures the challenges Carey, Judson Studios, and glass extraordinaire Narcissus Quagliata face making the intricately designed Resurrection Window for the Leawood, Kansas, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, a task that seems impossible to accomplish with the deadline and obstacles they face.
One of the most endearing aspects of “Holy Frit” is watching the relationship between the renowned Quagliata and Carey develop over time from one of mentor and protégé to a friendship of mutual respect and admiration. You really see their bond develop over the course of the film and the guidance Quagliata imparts with Carey truly seems to help him come into his own.
It’s also lovely how Monroe gives the church itself a role in the film.
When one thinks of a megachurch, the initial impression from an outsider might be that given its staggering size perhaps it’s an impersonal space. The film smashes that perception and does an excellent job of not simply focusing on the extraordinary size of the facility or the cost of the art they’re commissioning, but heartwarmingly emphasizes the humanity behind it.
Knowing that the church’s congregants helped sponsor individual pieces of glass within the window makes it even more beautiful and the work of those making it all the more precious.
Mesmerizing from start to finish, “Holy Frit” is an incredible watch on artistic spirit, determination, and the faith to succeed.
See “Holy Frit” screening online as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival from July 1st – 31st. For more information on how to stream the film, visit: mdff.org.au.