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a young man wearing a backpack smiles as he walks along a beach shore.

Doc Stories

The Mission

Directed by Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss

3 Nov
Fri, Nov 3, 2023 at 8:30 pm PT

Guests Expected

Directors Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss are expected to attend.


“God has an adventure out there for me,” teenager John Chau writes in his journal. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest with a dedication to survival and adventure stories, Chau’s Christian fundamentalist ideology leads him on a very curious quest. Reading about the Sentinelese, a small tribe of people who live on the remote Andaman Islands and whose territory is off limits to visitors, John develops a plan to bring religion to their community. Featuring readings from John’s journal and animated renderings of some of the events of his life, this even-handed and empathetic documentary also profiles historians and former missionaries who comment on the complexities and pitfalls of missionary work. A poignant letter from John’s father (read by an actor) to the filmmakers comments on the difficulties of raising a child who one disagrees with but seeks to understand. And this seeking nature is the essence of what Moss and McBaine undertake in this dramatic and thoughtful film.

Director Amanda McBaine

Director and producer Amanda McBaine is a Sundance Award-winning filmmaker who made her feature directing debut with Boys State (2020). Co-directed with Jesse Moss, this prize-winning film was slated to be the Opening Night title of the canceled 2020 SFFILM Festival. As a producer, her films include Ghosts of Attica (2001), Speedo (2004), and The Overnighters (Festival 2014). Along with her husband and creative partner Jesse Moss, she is a partner in Mile End Films, a San Francisco-based production company.

Director Jesse Moss

Jesse Moss is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker. His films include Full Battle Rattle (2008), The Overnighters (Festival 2014), The Bandit (Festival 2016 Closing Night), and Boys State (2020). His collaborations with Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions include work on two series for Netflix, the “Payday” episode of Dirty Money (2018-20), and The Family (2019), a five-part series about an influential Christian organization. He frequently works with his wife and co-conspirator Amanda McBaine.

Film Details

Language English

Premiere Bay Area

Country USA, India

Director Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss

Executive Producer Carolyn Bernstein, Doug Bock Clark

Producer Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine, Jonathan Chinn, Simon Chinn, Will Cohen

Editor Aaron Wickenden

Cinematographer Thorsten Thielow

Music Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans