A documentary about the life and works of Alan Watts, the charismatic author and speaker who brought Eastern thought into popular culture in the 60’s in the US. The film, directed by his son, Mark Watts, follows his life-journey and philosophy as it emerged and was embraced by the youth of the 60s counter-culture and subsequent generations.
BAFF is honored to recognize Mark Elliott’s contribution to Buddhist film by featuring a retrospective of his 40 years of film-making. His films contain a wealth of insight into the migration of Buddhism from the east to west and offer a first-hand immersion into Buddhist values and wisdom. Mr. Elliott will be present for a discussion and Q&A after the film.
This documentary by Sundance Fellow, Lana Wilson, follows Ittetsu Nemoto, a former punk-turned-Buddhist priest in Japan. He has made a career out of helping suicidal people find reasons to live. But this work has come increasingly at the cost of his own family and health, as he refuses to draw lines between those he counsels and himself. The Departure captures Nemoto at a crossroads, when his growing self-destructive tendencies lead him to confront the same question his patients ask him: what makes life worth living?
Virtual Reality is taking the world by storm. It will revolutionize entertainment and education, but its ultimate potential may rest in its ability to transform our awareness of reality. As an immersive medium unparalleled in history, the essence of VR lies more in art than in technology. Pulling the viewer into an alternate reality, much like the work of the greatest musicians and artists, VR provides a unique opportunity to perceive this reality differently.
The panel, featuring Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, Andrew Holecek, and Jordan Quaglia will explore the promise and peril of VR – the limitations of spectator art; Alternative World Syndrome; art as escapism; cognitive vs. embodied presence; and a host of other near enemies.
"When I write, I am a writer; when I paint, I paint", Kazuaki Tanahashi - artist, zen teacher, writer, calligrapher and peace-activist. His translations of Dogen, the 13th century Japanese philosopher, are honored worldwide by scholars. His exhibitions and workshops gained international acclaim and he created the Foundation ‘A World Without Armies’.
This documentary film, by Babeth VanLoo, sets out to discover the driving force behind Tanahashi’s art and peace work, the relationship with his father, and his teacher Morihei Ueshiba Osensei, the founder of Aikido. We witness exchanges with artists and peacemakers and the birth of his materials, ink and brushes, made by hand. Tanahashi’s art and his life, an eternal flame of peace, are One.
While in the midst of rehearsals for her latest play, Broadway actor Myrtle Gordon (Gena Rowlands) witnesses the accidental death of an adoring young fan, after which she begins to confront the chaos of her own life. John Cassavetes lays bare the drama of a performer who, at great personal cost, makes a part her own.
While on the surface, the film makes no reference to Buddhism, it is one of the greatest metaphors for identity driven ego ever seen on film. The kindness expressed towards Rowlands’ tremendous suffering perfectly expresses the central core of Buddhism, echoing His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s famous remark, “My religion is kindness.”
Bold, complex, unparalleled and powerful - our relationship with our mother is at its least fodder for conversation and growth. These short films from Brooklyn to China, depict the complex nature of this universal relationship.
An experiential workshop in which festival attendees are taught to tell the stories of their mothers. In this workshop, you will be introduced to Narativ's method for excavating, crafting and telling a story of your mother. Developed over the past 25 years and taught to thousands of individuals across the globe, this method is centered in the practices of listening, self-reflection and remembering. Through listening and telling mother stories, we can all learn to deepen our understanding and appreciation of mothers and motherhood, one story at a time. Workshop capacity is 116 people.
Twenty-five-year-old Burmese punk musician Kyaw Kyaw is on a mission. Director Andreas Hartmann show him and his band, The Rebel Riot, traveling Myanmar playing music and organizing demonstrations to raise awareness about the persecution of the country’s ethnic minorities. The band’s unique blend of ideals—one part Buddhist compassion, two parts punk rock rebellion—fuels their quest for equality and freedom for all in contemporary Myanmar.
In 1959 a dramatic ten month escape from Tibet through the Himalayas would change the course of his life - and the lives of many thousands of people around the world. In this, the first ever documentary film about the inspirational life of Chöje Akong Tulku Rinpoche, directed by Chico Dall'Inha, we see his powerful message of loving-kindness and compassion and his humanitarian work around the world. Akong Rinpoche has benefitted the lives of countless people, and this film aims to make his inspirational life story available to future generations.
In this documentary by Arun Bhattarai and Dorottya Zurbó, brother and sister Gyembo and Tashi are normal teenagers. They love soccer and their phones. In their Himalayan village, their father oversees a Buddhist temple that has been in the family for generations. He hopes his son will one day take over his duties. He would prefer that Gyembo leave his modern English-language school in favor of a monk school. In this thoughtful and tender portrait of a Bhutanese family, the generation gap is as large as their love for one another.
In this short film directed by and starring Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, he demonstrates the art of oriental design, calligraphy, flower arrangement, and object placement in preparing an environmental art exhibit at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art in 1981.
The film will be followed directly by live ikebana performance art by Sensei, Alexandra Shenpen. Canadian born, Alexandra has been studying ikebana/kado through Kalapa Ikebana & Sogetsu School for over 25 years. In 2012 she was awarded the highest rank of teacher in the Sogetsu School of ikebana, known as Riji, indicating mastery. Shenpen Sensei was appointed a Master Instructor for Kalapa Ikebana (founded by Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche emphasizing a contemplative approach of nonaggression in the creative process), and an Artist to the Kalapa Court by Sakyong Mipham, Rinpoche.
From age 3, Hiroko Akima began to drink matcha tea with her rather unusual family in a Buddhist temple in Shimane prefecture. She learned manners with her parents, being in harmony with her father (Omotosenke tea) and her mother (Urasenke tea). She began her formal study of tea at 14 years old, continuing chanoyu (hot water and tea) throughout her university education in chemistry.
In 1986, Akima-san received teaching certification. She moved to the U.S. in 1989 and began teaching and demonstrating Chado (the way of tea), receiving her master's diploma in 2010. She teaches both adults and children, is an accomplished oil painter, ikebana artist, and loves making her own wagashi (japanese tea sweets!)
The practice of Buddhism is just as multi-faceted as the films presented here. From seven distinct filmmakers we see pink and orange robed nuns in Myanmar, the poetic call to action against self-immolation, a simple demonstration of our planet's insignificance, the freedom aspect of creativity demonstrated by artist and teacher Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, the beauty of impermanence, and a topsy-turny bear narrated by Alan Watts.
Due to an unforeseen and unfortunate injury, Patricia will be unable to attend the festival in person, yet has generously offered to record an introduction to haiku and will be laying the groundwork for haiku awareness practice along with the 7 key principles to writing Haiku. Her recorded presentation will be shown at the workshop. In addition, we have the great honor and privilege to host Reed Bye who will be appearing on stage as a co-presenter. Reed has taught creative writing and poetics at Naropa University over the past twenty years and will lead participants through haiku exercises, including some discussion and feedback. We are delighted to have both talented writers joining the BAFF line-up.
FREE ENTRY, NO TICKET REQUIRED!
One Continuous Gesture will be a participatory exercise with Cynthia Moku. The group will be using brush, ink and paper - the three sacred elements of Asian calligraphy. These exquisite time-honored tools provide a flawless lens through which we can explore the possibilities of a seamless presence moving through our lives. She uses elements of formality, natural beauty, coded meaning, wilderness and ceremony to ensure an environment that inspires and stimulates, directly calling forth the muse in us all.
This event is un-ticketed and open to the public. Please meet at 10:45am in the lobby of the Dairy Arts Center to take part.
Golden Kingdom directly by Brian Perkins, is about four orphan boys, novice monks living in a Buddhist monastery in a remote part of Northeast Myanmar. The head monk departs on a long journey from which he may never return, leaving the boys alone in the middle of the forest. Once the boys are on their own, strange, magical occurrences begin to pass. One young monk, Witazara realizes he must protect the three other boys throughout this series of bizarre events, which threaten to unravel the fabric of the young monks' reality.
In this, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche's newest film, there is a gathering every twelve years somewhere deep in a forest of Bhutan, of men and women chosen by the Old Man to enjoy a few days of anonymity. Masked silhouettes participate in rituals, performances and dances. Faceless, the men and the women allow themselves to be lascivious, playful and daring. One man attends this event for the first time and enters the experience like a new born. He stumbles clumsily through the first days, but quickly adapts, and when he spots Red Wrathful, he becomes totally intoxicated with her. But his desire will lead him down a dangerous path.