Knocking (film)

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Knocking is a 2006 documentary film directed by Joel Engardio [1] and Tom Shepard that focuses on the civil liberties fought for by Jehovah's Witnesses. It focuses primarily on the stories of three Jehovah's Witnesses, and how their lives demonstrate three fundamental Witness teachings that have affected society in general: Conscientious objection, and rejection of blood transfusions and saluting the flag.

Knocking won the jury award for best documentary at the 2006 USA Film Festival in Dallas and the audience award for best documentary at the 2006 Indianapolis International Film Festival. It has been shown at film festivals in Trenton, New Jersey; Flint, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; Reno, Nevada; East Lansing, Michigan.

Knocking was first televised on the PBS series Independent Lens on May 22, 2007. It was also broadcast on the Australian television program Compass on May 18, 2008. The documentary is also available on DVD.

Main characters[edit]

Lillian Gobitas
As a girl in Pennsylvania, she and thousands of other Witness children's refusal to salute the flag of the United States initiated controversy that led to a pivotal U.S. Supreme Court ruling on freedom of religion.
Joseph Kempler
Born a Jew, he converted to the Jehovah's Witness faith after observing their integrity alongside Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. After converting, Kempler remained distant from his daughter who had been raised by Jewish relatives. To draw his family closer together, Kempler took them on a trip to Europe to see his home country and visit the Melk and Auschwitz concentration camps.
Seth Thomas
A 23-year-old Witness who, despite the risk and opposition from non-Witness relatives, refused blood transfusions with his liver transplant operation. While initially refused treatment by the Baylor University Medical Center of Texas, surgeons with the University of Southern California University Hospital in Los Angeles agreed to perform the operation, believing that research in bloodless surgery is necessary and should be explored.

DVD lecture series[edit]

The DVD includes a series of lectures pertaining to Jehovah's Witnesses in which lawyers, doctors, historians and Witness elders discuss various topics including blood transfusions, Witness legal rights and their legal history, Witnesses during Nazi Germany and the Holocaust and internal matters within congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Film Festival awards[edit]

  • Best Documentary, Jury Award, 2006 USA Film Festival (Dallas)
  • Best Documentary, Jury Award, 2006 Trenton Film Festival (New Jersey)
  • Best Documentary, Audience Award, 2006 Indianapolis International Film Festival
  • Best First Film, Jury Award, 2006 Long Island International Film Expo (New York)
  • Official Selection, 2006 Cleveland International Film Festival

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Miller, Lisa, Newsweek, May 28, 2007, Belief Watch: Witness,

External links[edit]