Hands of the Cause Documentary Series: An Interview with Fred Badiyan

The Hands of the Cause of God documentary series is a classic set of four documentaries made by filmmaker Fred Badiyan. This outstanding four-part documentary recounts the lives of the Hands of the Cause of God within the historical context of the Baha’i Faith. Told through first person interviews and incredible never-before-seen archival footage, their incredible lives and service come to life in a powerful way, and which will inspire future generations.

Fred Badiyan – who happens to be my great-uncle by the way – has really dedicated his life to serving the Baha’i Faith through media, and his example has truly been a huge inspiration for me personally. He has made many Baha’i documentaries including Crossing Frontiers, Not Even A Lamp, Jewel In The Lotus, and Shoghi Effendi: Guardian of the Baha’i Faith.

Years in the making, Fred made this wonderful series on the Hands of the Cause of God years ago, and it’s now been digitized and made available on 9StarMedia, so I decided to touch base with Fred and ask him a few questions about this important documentary series:

Baha’i Blog: Hi Fred! Can you tell us a little bit about the ‘Hands of the Cause of God’ video series and what they’re all about?

The history of the ‘Hands of the Cause of God’ series recounts the story of these heroic souls, how they were chosen and the sacrifices they made during their lifetime.

‘Volume 1’ explores the “where” and the “why” of these historic souls, when they were first appointed by Baha’u’llah during His ministry, as well as their story of sacrifice and courage.

‘Volume 2’ covers the appointment by Shoghi Effendi of the contingent of Hands of the Cause of God starting from late 1951 through to the appointment of the last Hands in 1957, shortly before Shoghi Effendi’s passing.

‘Volume 3’ and ‘Volume 4’ both provide a glimpse of the Hands in various settings and events around the world, creating an atmosphere of what it would have been like to be in their presence and partake of their knowledge and wisdom.

The series is organized by topic in chronological order.

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about why you made the series and your inspiration behind it?

Many years ago I attended the Green Lake Baha’i Conference and heard Mrs. Javidukht Khadem’s speech on the history and life of all of the Hands of the Cause of God. Upon hearing her speech, I was inspired to make a documentary on the story of these heroes and heroines of the Baha’i Faith. I needed a partner to research and write the script, so Dr. Ramin Khadem agreed to work with me on it.

Baha’i Blog: What were some of the challenges and highlights of making these videos?

Fred Badiyan

We had many challenges. We had very little information and visual material on the early Hands of the Cause of God from Baha’u’llah’s time and an abundance of information and visuals for the recent Hands. There were 50 heroic souls who belonged to this divinely ordained institution initiated by Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, either during their lifetime or on their passing. It took over five years to complete the four volumes, and the final video came to about four hours.

One of the highlights of the project was interviewing the last three remaining Hands of the Cause of God Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Dr. Varqa and Mr. Furutan, sitting around a table together reminiscing and sharing stories.

Baha’i Blog: What’s something you’ve really learned in your media career so far and what advice do you have to other people in the field of media?

Our beloved Faith has a rich history with many heroic souls who have served the Faith. I hope other filmmakers will be inspired to make other documentary films.

Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much Fred for taking the time to do this interview and for producing this wonderful documentary series which will serve so many generations to come.

You can purchase a copy of ‘Hands of the Cause of God’ video series here on 9StarMedia, and it is also available in Spanish on 9StarMedia as well.

Here’s a sample from Volume one of the series in English:

About the Author

Naysan is the editor of Baha'i Blog and he has worked in various avenues of media for two decades. He’s passionate about using the arts and media to support and explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith and he has produced and collaborated on popular music projects like the "DawnBreaker Collective" and the successful Ruhi-inspired sequence of "MANA" albums. His experience as a producer for CNN was invaluable while working on a number of special projects for the Baha’i World Centre, including the "Building Momentum" and "Pilgrimage: A Sacred Experience" videos. If there’s a media-related Baha’i project out there, chances are that Naysan was involved with it somehow!

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