High spirits in Tel Aviv

Hermits, hideaways and higher consciousness feature at the 9th Spirit Film Festival.

JOHANNA LUNN’S ‘An Uncommon King.’ (photo credit: Courtesy)
JOHANNA LUNN’S ‘An Uncommon King.’
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate time for the 9th Spirit Film Festival, which will take place from October 22-24 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.
It features 15 contemporary films, including feature films, documentaries and short films that aim to enlighten viewers about the spiritual side of life.
There will be workshops, discussions and a new-age fair, and many of the films will be preceded or followed by a talk by an expert on the subject.
The opening night film will be Paul Coelho’s Best Story (aka The Pilgrim), directed by Daniel Augusto. The film is a fictionalized biography of the celebrated author, who started out as a rebellious, suicidal teenager in a bourgeois family in Rio de Janeiro. After traveling the world and dabbling in drugs, political movements and the occult, he returned to Brazil and found his voice as a writer.
Coelho is one of the interviewees in The Power of the Heart by Drew Heriot, who also directed The Secret. A group of writers, artists and others, among them Maya Angelou, Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle discuss how they got through stressful times in their life.
Suzanne Crocker’s acclaimed documentary All the Time in the World tells the story of how the director took her family off the grid to spend the winter in a cabin in the Yukon with no electricity, running water, access to roads or even clocks, and shows how they not only survived but thrived.
Renata Heinen and Rolf Winters’ documentary Down to Earth documents another family journey, this one in which a family visits six continents armed with only a single camera and a backpack each, and consults community and spiritual leaders who talk about the future of the earth. It was inspired by the proverb, “We don’t inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children.”
John Rowe’s Omo Child: The River and the Bush has won 10 awards at film festivals around the world. It looks at how a tribe in Ethiopia has had a custom for years of killing children its members believed to be cursed. When one man from the tribe grew up and got an education, he chose to return to the village to try to convince the villagers to stop these killings, and learned that he had had two older sisters who were killed.
Johanna Lunn’s An Uncommon King is about a Tibetan spiritual leader, Mipham Rinpoche, as he takes over from his unconventional, charismatic father, Trungpa Rinpoche, to bring ancient wisdom to the modern world. The movie was shot over 17 years in 12 countries including Tibet, India, China, Europe and North America.
Bardsongs, directed by Sandor Francken, dramatizes three songs about spiritual journeys, set amid some of the most spectacular landscapes in Asia.
Israeli director Zviki Eshet recorded his quest to find a new home, both physical and spiritual, in New Zealand in the documentary Shooting Heaven.
Kara Rhodes’ Bridgewalkers is a documentary about international spiritual leaders gathering in Greenland to discuss how the world will survive the melting of the polar ice caps and climate change, which many of them see as the fulfillment of ancient prophecy.
Hermits, directed by Shipig He and Chengyu Zhou, tells the story of writer Bill Porter’s journeys, over a period of three decades, to search for modern Chinese hermits in rural China.
Inside Peace, by Cynthia Fitzpatrick, is a look at violent criminals who start to find peace while in prison, and then continue their spiritual journeys once they are released.
Painting Peace is Babeth M. Vanloo’s portrait of a Zen Buddhist teacher and calligrapher.
Guy Reid’s Planetary uses interviews with astronauts, environmentalists and physicists to explore the ways in which the entire world is connected.
The festival was created by the Spirit Group, which was established by Lev Tahor organization and D’plus Productions House to allow Israelis to be exposed to an alternative spiritual culture.
For more information and to order tickets, visit www.spiritfestival.co.il.