Reviews and Festivals
"Recommended. This is a thoughtful, contemplative film. It illuminates the experience of Chinese students at American universities, and some of the challenges and isolation they face. It also raises questions about evangelistic techniques and individual autonomy...This film is a valuable contribution that handles its subject matter well."
— Educational Media Reviews Online
"Confronts provocative issues with intelligence and complexity. While Hao is aware of the Chinese students’ vulnerability and wary of the Christian community’s intentions, he doesn’t pass judgment. Gimme a Faith is also an impressive debut from a college filmmaker who confronts his own conflicted issues over the course of the documentary through introspective narration."
— Video Librarian
"The topic is novel and fascinating. The treatment is even better: Zhang satisfyingly explores the tension between the Chinese/Chinese American recruiters' exploration of these students' homesickness & their desire to provide a real community to emotionally struggling individuals. In doing so, he also questions his own relationship to the Chinese Christians, and to what extent it's one of mutual exploitation, and if that's OK...Highly recommend it."
— Inkoo Kang, Slate
"In four seasons of stellar southern storytelling, this film is a standout for reasons that speak to personal exploration, cultural representation, and shifting filmmaking ethos. Zhang has created a film of American magnitude and of community that could be told best only through his lens. Zhang's exploration of isolation is an important theme for this film and a timely one."
— Reel South
"Self-consciously mirroring Zhang's own expat journey, Gimme a Faith ponders the importance of maintaining a sense of identity and purpose in a foreign land."
— New Orleans Film Society
"Weaving through the complex relationships forged between Wong, his fellow converts and their more hesitant counterparts, this film follows various new studnets as they balance the pressures of religion, community, and belonging."
— Atlanta Film Festival
"Capturing the American peculiarities of malls, frozen food, and even a public shooting through the eyes of a newcomer, Gimme a Faith is a sensitively told take on the contemporary immigrant experience. Over the course of the film, Hao complements his images with his own feelings of isolation as a recent immigrant to this county. Evenhanded with those who choose to hew close to the church, Hao encounters the profound, comforting power that community can hold, even when forged around a foreign and dogmatic religion."
— Slant Magazine
"Gimme a Faith follows a class of Chinese freshmen at the University of North Carolina on their quest for belonging. Perhaps a requiem for Zhang's own lonely experiences as an international student, he befriends a group of roommates and profiles them as they find a community in a local chapter of Evangelical Christians."
"Introspective film about freedoms to choose one's own path despite strong opposition from peers."
— Anthonly Lee Fontayne, Solar Specialist, Sunrun
New Orleans Film Festival
Atlanta Film Festival
Riverrun Film Festival
Indie Grits Film Festival