Theatrical run for Olshefski’s QUEST starts Friday in Phila.

Theatrical run for Olshefski’s QUEST starts Friday in Phila.


QUEST, an award-winning documentary by Associate Professor Jonathan Olshefski in Rowan’s Department of Radio, Television & Film (College of Communication & Creative Arts) will begin its theatrical run Friday at Landmark’s Ritz at the Bourse in Philadelphia followed by openings in New York Dec. 8 and Los Angeles Dec. 15 with a wider national rollout to follow.

The film, which has swept top documentary awards at festivals across the country since it premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, including the Grand Jury prize at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, chronicles a ten-year span in the life of a close knit African-American family living in North Philadelphia.

Filmed with vérité intimacy for almost a decade, QUEST begins at the dawn of the Obama presidency and follows the Raineys: father Christopher “Quest” Rainey, who juggles various jobs to support his family; Christine’a “Ma Quest,” who works at a women’s shelter; Christine’a’s son William, who is undergoing cancer treatment while caring for his baby son; and PJ, Quest and Christine’a’s young daughter.

In a neighborhood besieged by inequality and neglect, the family nurtures a community of hip hop artists in their home music studio, a safe space where all are welcome, but this creative sanctuary can't always shield them from the strife that grips their community. Epic in scope, QUEST is an illumination of race and class in America, a testament to love, healing and hope.

Writing in Variety, Guy Lodge called QUEST “[a] superb film. A living, breathing, stunning documentary study of an African-American family in North Philadelphia weathering a tumultuous decade.”

Alissa Wilkinson of Vox called it “by far, one of the most moving documentaries I’ve ever seen, and vital viewing that somehow captures the past 10 years of the American experience better than the family or director Olshefski could have ever imagined.”

Theater Appearances: Director Olshefski, producer Sabrina Schmidt Gordon and the Rainey family will appear for a Friday 7:00 pm post-screening Q&A and 9:45 pm pre-screening introduction; Sat., Dec. 2 7:00 pm post-screening Q&A and 9:45 pm pre-screening introduction; and the Sun., Dec. 3 1:10 pm post-screening Q&A at Landmark’s Ritz at the Bourse (400 Ranstead St., by 4th St.). 

See the trailer:

Press materials are available here: