I just attended the Los Angeles Consciousness Life Expo's Spiritual Film Festival and saw "What The Bleep Down The Rabbit Hole" "The Making of Celestine Prophecy" "Unknown White Man" "Revolution" and many more. There is no doubt that something new is happening. These films deal with consciousness and spiritual awakening in a brand new way. The film industry is going through a change as profound as the invention of sound in early cinema history. It's an exciting time to be in the audience and for a filmmaker, it's doubly exciting. The giddy feel of gold rush days is in the air. Treasure everywhere for anyone with eyes to see.
Lisa Garr moderated "Media And Conciseness" in which the question, "Who are we?" led to a robust discussion. Naturally, "Cultural Creatives" came up. Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson coined the term only six years ago. According to them, a Cultural Creative "loves nature and concern about its destruction...cares about psychological and
spiritual development...see spirituality or religion as important...want more equality for women...concerned about violence and the abuse of women and children....unhappy with both the left and the right in politics and want to find a new way..." By Mr. Ray and Ms. Anderson's estimate, there are 50 million in America, plus more than half of the rest of the educated world. The definition seemed to fit every person in the room, comfortably if not exactly. Everyone nodded their approval.
So then the discussion turned to "what should we call the new movies?" Something catchy on par with "Woman's Liberation Movement" or "Independent Cinema" or "Roaring Twenties" or "Art Deco" or even "Nex gen." Should we call them "Spiritual Cinema" (too religious)? Or "Consciousness Raising Films" (too serious) or "Quantum Cinema" (too vague) or "Awaken Media" (not entertaining) or "New Age movies" (too old).... After much head-scratching, the discussion ended with a resounding, "I don't know."
What amazes me is the feeling that it is OKAY to not know. We have become more evolved, haven't we? We are talking to each other, acknowledging the difference between people, seeing each other's view points. The discussion, not the result, is key. Even more encouraging is the fact we are discussing a name for a new and dynamic movement. I have missed so many other movements! I was not old enough or too old or too aloof or too negative to join in and so, missed the boat. This time I am IN. I want my vote to count. Like John Raatz, Visioneering Group/Awaken Media, said, "Who is the audience? I am!" I am the audience who will see the films, buy the books and attend the
conference, because this time is my time!
Saba Moore led an excellent panel discussion of "Spiritualizing Hollywood." You know, how do we "spiritualize" the powerful well greased iron giant? Who doesn't want a "traditional Hollywood roll out"? Open in three thousand plus theaters across the country and (sometimes) around the entire world, and (soon a common practice) on DVD, cable and television on the same day. Plus print media, web presence, sound track album, radio play, mechanizing, etc., etc., all coordinated into one smooth operation.
Currently, three important new spiritually oriented films are not getting the traditional Hollywood roll out.
They are coming-soon-to-a-theater-near-you using new distribution strategies. Stephen Simon, the director of "Conversation With God," created his own distribution system -- the Spiritual Cinema Circle. William Arntz backed "What The Bleep Do We Know" to the tune of millions until it caught fire and lit up the sky with the glow of enthusiastic audiences around the country. Mr. Arntz kept his audience plugged in by running numerous "Bleep Conferences." His audience stay connected until now "Down The Rabbit Hole" is coming out, thus the saga continues. "Celestine Prophecy" is backed by it's own author. James Redfield sold more than 22 million copies of the book and now he backs the movie. Self-distribution is not for the faint-hearted, it's hard, hard, hard, ditch-digging labor. For the above three films, the motive behind working really hard is not money but love. The filmmakers believe in the films' message and want more people to know it. Therein lies the major difference between 80% of Hollywood movies and the new spiritual cinema movement.
Much of mainstream media strives only to entertain, nothing else. Okay, there is nothing wrong with entertainment. Amanda Robinson, president of Institute of Spiritual Entertainment Los Angeles (ISELA), a filmmaker's networking group, puts it nicely, "we still want to see unnecessary sex." But 80-90% of the time? Too much of Hollywood is trying to dumb down the audience, make them couch-potatoes, fearful of the world, wanting what they don't have, basically selling them mental junk food. Open the newspaper, turn on the TV, go to see a major Hollywood movie and lots of times you feel mighty good when you come out but afterwards you end up feeling like you ate something bad or your veins pumped up with drugs. . Your body's well being, your evolution as a spiritual entity, your emotional life, your education, your magical universal self, all ignored!
The new spiritual movies are different -- they're soul food! They are made by people who really want to tell you something new. Lynne McTaggart said in her excellent investigative book into new scientific discoveries, THE FIELD, "We are poised on the brink of a revolution - a revolution as daring and profound as Einstein's discovery of
relativity." Well, yes! The last hundred years have seen new and exciting discoveries in human consciousness evolution and the front runners want you to know about it. That's what the media is created for, not to make money (take that back, to make money too) but more importantly to distribute information. To distribute real information, information worthy of this miraculous distribution system, which we have labored so long and worked so hard to create. To use it just to sell stuff is to miss the miraculous!
The last time Hollywood was shook to the core was the "Indie Movement" in the 70's. Sundance, Francis, Spielberg, Lucas, Scorsese, the Spike Mike Slackers & Dykes, them. Hollywood saw that their films made money and went on to creating "specialty divisions." So Hollywood made a huge change in respond to what the audience wanted. John Raatz said, "To be fair, we haven't given Hollywood too much to worry about." There hasn't been enough films that jolt Hollywood into action. So far, only one film caused Hollywood to think twice, "What The Bleep Do We Know," the rest, well, the movement has just began and there hasn't been enough films. I guess when an avalanche of new spiritual cinema are making loads of money, Hollywood might respond by creating "spiritual divisions." Or better, Hollywood might get involved because there are more ways than one to measure a film's success. Giving the audience soul food is worthy of the effort.