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"American Experience" The Amish (2012)

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American Experience: Season 24: Episode 5 -- From PBS - The Amish: Shunned follows seven former members of the Amish community as they reflect on their decisions to leave one of the most closed and tightly-knit communities in the United States.  Estranged from family, the ex-Amish find themselves struggling to understand and make their way in modern America. Interwoven through the stories are the voices of Amish men and women who remain staunchly loyal to their traditions and faith.


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David Belton (written by)
View company contact information for The Amish on IMDbPro.
Original Air Date:
28 February 2012 (Season 24, Episode 5)
Lyrical and meditative, The Amish answers many questions Americans have about this insistently insular religious community... See more » | Add synopsis »
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 (Episode Cast)
Steve Ballan ... Himself - Assistant Public Defender
Janice Ballenger ... Herself - Assistant Coroner
David Furlong ... Himself - Husband of Saloma
Saloma Furlong ... Herself - Former Amish
Gertrude E. Huntington ... Herself - Anthropologist
Karen M. Johnson-Weiner ... Herself - Anthropologist
Donald B. Kraybill ... Himself - Sociologist
Dwight Lefever ... Himself - Pastor to the Roberts Family
Jeffrey Miller ... Himself - State Police Commissioner (also archive footage)
Steven M. Nolt ... Himself - Historian
Levi Shetler ... Himself - Former Amish
David Weaver-Zercher ... Himself - Historian

Episode Crew
Directed by
David Belton 
Writing credits
David Belton (written by)

Produced by
Susan Bellows .... series producer
Sarah Colt .... senior producer
Sharon Grimberg .... executive producer
Susan Mottau .... coordinating producer
Mark Samels .... executive producer
Elizabeth Shea .... associate producer
Callie T. Wiser .... producer
Original Music by
Danny Bensi  (as Daniel Bensi)
Saunder Jurriaans 
Cinematography by
Tim Cragg 
Film Editing by
Chyld King 
Production Management
Nancy Sherman .... production manager
Art Department
Alisa Placas Frutman .... photo animation (as Alisa Placas)
Alison Kennedy .... designer
Aaron Nee .... photo animation (as Aaron D. Nee)
Sound Department
Coll Anderson .... sound re-recording mixer
Jeffrey Archer .... additional sound
Stephen Bores .... additional sound
John Chiarolanzio .... assistant sound editor
John D. Gooch .... production sound mixer
Steve Guercio .... additional sound
John Jenkins .... sound mixer
Drew Levinson .... additional sound
Tom Levy .... additional sound
Matt Snedecor .... sound effects editor
Visual Effects by
Gina Dowling .... visual effects
Sean Mclean .... visual effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Ben McCoy .... additional camera operator
Allen Moore .... additional camera operator
Kat Patterson .... additional camera operator
Andrew Young .... additional camera operator
Editorial Department
Nikki Bramley .... assistant editor
Vanessa Ezersky .... post-production assistant
Glenn Fukushima .... post-production assistant
Spencer Gentry .... on-line editor
Shady Hartshorne .... assistant editor
Lee Pacheco .... assistant editor
Owen Williams .... colorist
Owen Williams .... on-line editor
Music Department
Cathy Carapella .... music licensing
Joel Goodman .... composer: theme music
Other crew
Rachel Banks .... intern
Chris Cuffe .... production assistant
Willard Culver .... archival materials courtesy of: National Geographic Stock
James E. Dunford .... series manager
Susana Fernandes .... project administration
Jay Fialkov .... legal
Janice Flood .... legal
David Furlong .... archival materials courtesy of: Private Collection
Saloma Furlong .... archival materials courtesy of: Private Collection
Pamela Gaudiano .... project administration
Alexandra Hsie .... intern
Molly Jacobs .... production assistant
Scott Kardel .... legal
Johanna Kovitz .... transcriptor
Donald B. Kraybill .... program consultant
Mary Lugo .... publicist
London McWilliams .... intern
Steven M. Nolt .... additional academic advisor
Steven M. Nolt .... archival materials courtesy of
Lauren Noyes .... project administration
Afton Ojuri .... intern
Lauren Prestileo .... publicist
J. Baylor Roberts .... archival materials courtesy of: National Geographic Stock
Tory Starr .... production assistant
Leslie Strain .... transcriptor
Emma Tiemchaiyapum .... intern (as Emma Pimthida Tiemchaiyapum)
Cara White .... publicist
Helen K.C. Yung .... accountant
James Cates .... special thanks: Amish Youth Vision Project
Joel Cliff .... special thanks: PA Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau
David Fisher .... special thanks
Marianne Fisher .... special thanks
Daniel Hochstetler .... special thanks
Amos Hoover .... special thanks: Muddy Creek Farm Library
Joe Keim .... special thanks: Mission to Amish People
Bruce Lind .... special thanks: Wild West Properties
David McConnell .... special thanks: College of Wooster
Doris Nolt .... special thanks
Wilmer Nolt .... special thanks
Stephen M. Scott .... special thanks
Eric Wesner .... special thanks
Arlen Yoder .... special thanks
Dee Yoder .... special thanks

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Stephen Fitzmeyer  developer
Henry Hampton  creator

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

112 min
Sound Mix:


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A Shot at Eden, 21 December 2014
Author: Goingbegging from United Kingdom

Whatever you may think of the Amish, they certainly make a good spectator sport - ironically, since they disapprove of photography because it breaks the second commandment (graven images).

But millions of American tourists flock to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, for a few hours of escapism, watching a frozen moment of German village life in 1520, to the sound of the pony-and-trap, overlaid with religious chants that have (presumably) remained unchanged all that time.

Those tourists are watching American individualism rejected in favour of family solidarity, community service and a distinctly arrogant belief that they alone shall be saved. Either the Amish themselves or the producers of this film have shied away from specifying what exactly is off the menu. At one point, we're told that it includes all 'man-made devices', yet those carriages and harnesses didn't manufacture themselves. And if they're really talking about an Eden of pure, unsullied nature, I would suggest that when man first tamed the horse, most people would have called it profoundly unnatural.

It is easy to sneer at the inconsistencies, and there is no doubt that many of the faithful do derive spiritual sustenance from these unchanging values. A big test was their reaction to an Amish school shooting that cost the lives of five small girls. Their immediate reaction was to forgive the killer (posthumously) in the presence of his family. One of them said "I was so grateful that I did not have to make a judgment on his soul. That was God's territory." He described the sensation as a 'wash of peace'.

Actually the Amish schools have earned a good deal of respect from outside, and public sentiment has discouraged the authorities from jailing parents for not sending their children to the local public schools. But it is at the school-leaving age that the awkward questions start to emerge, yet remain unanswered. The clip of a very innocent-looking teenage party on the lawn, with the genders apparently segregated, does not broach what we might discreetly call the glandular issue. And in any case, I can't help suspecting that cynical things may be going on behind the gleaming white raiment of holiness, as they have in so many other priesthoods.

An hour and fifty minutes gives us plenty of time to hear stories from long-term believers and a few dropouts, as well as neutral commentators from academia. One girl quit the Amish to marry and work outside, to the fury of her family, but the spell of the faith drew her back. The young men, predictably, sound unsure of their beliefs and work prospects. The film is interspersed with useful title-frames that deliver key facts about the Amish. Less effectively, it is divided-up into the four seasons, in a way that does not seem to be reflected in the subject-matter.

Perhaps after all, those tourists feel that they may be watching the last chapter of a noble history, as we now see young Amish men working in factories that are unmistakeably hi-tech, and families needing to look for cheaper land, on which to continue their traditional farming life, Colorado being apparently a firm favourite. Maybe the famous Pennsylvania Dutch dialect may soon be heard ringing across the thirsty prairies of the West - a long way from well-watered Lancaster County.

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