In the Fall of 2015, Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts (DITA) hosted two events on story-telling, faith, and the art of film-making with writer, editor, and film director T.J. Volgare.
The series began with a brown-bag lunch conversation on Oct. 28 between Volgare and theologian Peter Candler on the theological and formal dimensions of Terrence Malick’s film The Tree of Life. On Nov. 5, DITA offered a screening of Volgare’s first short film, Abattoir. Following the 27-minute film, Volgare spoke about his experience writing and directing, as well as the aesthetic and theological vision that informs his work.
Volgare worked closely with Malick as a directing apprentice and contributing editor for The Tree of Life, and he currently heads a production team in Durham while writing screenplays and fiction. Most recently, Volgare produced and directed a 40-hour video series for a new initiative in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that seeks to integrate chaplaincy work and mental-health services.
Candler lives in Asheville, N.C., and has written extensively about Malick’s films. When he isn’t writing fiction, he lectures regularly on theological aesthetics as a fellow for the Fujimura Institute. Before moving to North Carolina, he was a professor of philosophy and theology at Baylor University.