Documentary “Bridging Divides: Sharing Heartbeats” to Come to National TV and Streaming

Director, producer and best-selling poet Susan Polis Schutz sees the constant conflicts being fomented as a sign of dangerous times. So in her latest film, Bridging Divides: Sharing Heartbeats, she brings viewers to hotspots around the world where groups known for historic conflicts are boldly breaking down barriers to create human understanding. The documentary will premiere on WORLD on Wednesday, April 17 at 9 p.m. Eastern (8 p.m. Central) and begin streaming April 1 on and the PBS App. The film is presented by KPBS San Diego.

American Public Television (APT) is distributing Bridging Divides: Sharing Heartbeats to public television stations nationwide and will make the film available for local market broadcast beginning April 1 (check local listings). APT Worldwide will distribute the film to other countries.

One of the groups Schutz features in the documentary even works across barriers, the grassroots organization Fandango Fronterizo, which uses music to link Mexicans and Americans through a San Diego border wall. The Jerusalem Youth Chorus brings its Palestinian and Israeli youth members together to sing and to understand and respect each other. PeacePlayers connects 2,500 Protestant and Catholic children on basketball courts across Northern Ireland, forging new friendships as it bridges old and bitter divides. Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom in Sacramento and communities across the U.S. is a women’s group of Muslim and Jewish women working to build alliances and understanding. Leaders of the Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha, Nebraska, a campus with a synagogue, church, mosque and interfaith center, unify members of the Abrahamic religions. Uniting Voices Chicago, a 5,000 student strong choir fosters understanding between young people of all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, gender identities and sexual orientations.

“With news headlines constantly blaring hatred and vitriol, it was clear to me that we had better find a way to counteract the hate — and fast! The groups in Bridging Divides: Sharing Heartbeats are doing the hard work of bringing diverse people together through shared activities and discussions,” said Schutz, who serves as director and executive producer for the film. “In the process, they have found that what they look like, where they live or what their beliefs are were no longer a source of conflict, but something to celebrate along with their shared humanity.”

She is the cofounder with her husband, Stephen Schutz, of Blue Mountain Arts, a popular publisher known for its distinctive greeting cards, gifts and poetry books and a prolific director. Her poetry, which has been featured in 435 million greeting cards worldwide, has brought individuals together since the company’s founding in 1970. Now she is setting her sights on bringing together groups around the globe that have had epic battles across the ages.

Schutz’s eight other films have explored anxiety, active nonagenarians, depression, resilience and former white supremacists now helping others to leave the movement. Her first film, Anyone and Everyone, about LGBT kids coming out, was inspired by her son, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, the first openly gay governor. In 2019, her documentary, The Homeless Chorus Speaks, was awarded The Christopher Award, an honor founded by Father James Keller to salute media that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.”

“Susan’s films always find their way to the heart of her subjects, literally and metaphorically. This film provides hope and optimism at a time when we need it most,” said John Decker, senior director of content and development of KPBS San Diego. “And not just in platitudes, we see hope in people who are actually working together to solve complex social problems. We can learn a great deal from the examples of others.”

“We look forward to sharing this remarkable film with our audiences,” said Ron Bachman, senior director of programming for GBH and WORLD. “In a period when there is so much discord and division, a film highlighting people coming together to form bonds across cultural, religious, racial and other differences is exactly what is needed to help more of us realize the power we all have to create positive change in our communities and beyond.”

Bridging Divides: Sharing Heartbeats is produced by Jillian Frost and edited by Mark Taras. Stephen Schutz served as consultant. David Emrich was post-production supervisor and advisor.

Encore presentations of Bridging Divides: Sharing Heartbeats on WORLD will air on Thursday, April 18 at 2 a.m. and 10 a.m. ET, Saturday, April 20 at 5 a.m. ET and Wednesday, April 24 at 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. ET. To find your WORLD station, visit

For more information on the film, visit IronZeal Films at and follow @BridgingDividesSharingHeartbeats and @SusanPolisShutzPublic on Facebook.

About IronZeal Films

Founded by director, entrepreneur, poet and author Susan Polis Schutz, IronZeal Films makes documentaries that make a difference. Titles include Anyone and Everyone (2007), Following Dreams (2009), Misunderstood Epidemic: Depression (2010), Over 90 & Loving It (2011), Seeds of Resiliency (2012), It’s Just Anxiety (2017), The Homeless Chorus Speaks (2018), Love Wins Over Hate (2020) and Bridging Divides: Sharing Heartbeats (2024).