American Experience: The Amish

Published on 30th March 2017 by

Feature length 2012 PBS documentary directed by British film maker David Belton, centered on the Amish and filmed over the course of 12 months. The documentary was aired by PBS and also uploaded on their website for free viewing in the same year. The film explores all facets of Amish life including the Ordnung (the set of rules that the Amish live by), Rumspringa, and the tragic West Nickel Mines School school shooting which killed five young Amish children (see the 2007 documentary Tragedy in Amish Country).

The film includes contributions from current members of the Amish community as well as members who have chosen to leave the church or have been excommunicated for breaking the church’s strict code. All of the Amish who voluntarily appear in the film risk being banished from their community and spurned by their own families for agreeing to go on camera, television is strictly forbidden. A second PBS documentary, aired in 2014, further explored the subject of excommunication (see: The Amish: Shunned).

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