The Illuminate Film Festival Set for This May

The Illuminate Film Festival  Set for This May

The expanding world of conscious cinema where innovative films linked with interactive programs, workshops and experiences activate the senses and create action are the underpinnings of the first U.S. mind-body-spirit film festival, May 29 to June 1, in one of the world's most-talked about spiritual centerpoints.

The Illuminate Film Festival is emerging as the first 'industry' festival for conscious cinema, where key industry players - buyers, filmmakers, platforms, press, and mind-body-spirit thought-leaders - will congregate to usher this scope of cinema forward.

"Now is the time, the tipping point, for the emergence of conscious media. Obstacles which previously held this genre back - poor quality, questioned legitimacy of the subject matter, and a limited audience demographic - have given way to an exploding worldwide conscious living movement, a remarkable improvement in production value, and attention from distributors such as Kino Lorber, Participant Media, Beyond Words, Monterey Media, Gaiam, and First Run Features," said Illuminate Founder and Executive Director Danette Wolpert.

The Illuminate Film Festival will showcase paradigm-busting, consciousness-expanding narratives, documentaries and shorts including inspirational human journey stories and themes related to wellness, self-discovery, consciousness, body-mind science, yoga, meditation, spirituality, organic and plant-based food movements and sustainable living.

"Filmmaker David Christopher Loya-Bojorquez defines conscious films as 'life-affirming works that hold human beings as sacred rather than expendable and encourage the audience to ponder existence more deeply than their day-to-day routines.'" Wolpert said. "This is the crux of our mission, and the impetus for our innovative View and Do principle."

Illuminate's "View and Do" concept, the "Reel Healing Series," will give filmgoers options for specially selected "soul-inspiring movies coupled with an immersive workshop by a skilled practitioner for a deeper integration of the movie's message," Wolpert said. "The combination of consciousness-expanding films with powerful messages and experiential opportunities to enrich the movie-going experience allow audiences to process and act on what they see on screen."

In addition to offering four world premieres, and seven U.S. and Southwest premieres among the 22-film field, the Festival also includes the world's first Conscious Filmmaker Convergence, a half-day series of panels and workshops for mind-body-spirit filmmakers to learn, share and build new models for production, marketing and distributing conscious cinema.

Workshop panelists include:

• Betsey Chasse, co-director of What the Bleep Do We Know?

• Nicole Guillemet, former co-director of the Sundance Film Festival

• Anna Darrah, Director of Acquisitions, Spiritual Cinema Circle, Gaiam, Inc.

• Kate Neligan, Founder/CEO of Synergy TV and former VP at Lionsgate

• Lisa Leeman, Former President of the International Documentary Association and co-director, Awake: The Life of Yogananda

• Paola di Florio, Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Speaking in Strings and co-director, Awake: The Life of Yogananda

• Ward Serrill, director, Song of the New Earth and The Heart of the Game

• Ronna Prince, producer of Sacred Journey of the Heart

Workshop topics include: How to Make a Breakthrough Conscious Film: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Production; Marketing/Promoting Your Conscious Film; and Get Your Conscious Film Seen: Three Options for Distribution.

The Conscious Filmmaker Convergence also includes case studies on films such as What the Bleep Do We Know?, The Secret, Food Matters, Thrive, Forks Over Knives, The Way, and Heaven is Real.

Among films being premiered:

• World: Death Makes Life Possible, presented by executive producer Dr. Deepak Chopra; Dance of Liberation, 24 Peaces (Work-In-Progress), and On Meditation, featuring director David Lynch, actor Giancarlo Esposito and National Book Award winning author Peter Matthiessen.

• US or Southwest: E-Motion, Song of the New Earth and Awake: The Life of Yogananda.

The Festival's "Healing Village" will offer samples and services from the region's best health and wellness practitioners including massage therapists, Reiki specialists, meditation guides, energy workers, astrologers and more.

The film lineup is published online, and all-access passes are now available. The full schedule of films, guests, events and workshop speakers will be announced April 28, and individual tickets will be available May 8. Illuminate Film Festival films will be screened at Sedona's state-of-the-art Mary D Fisher Theater, Creative Life Center and the Sedona Performing Arts Center. Illuminate's Official Industry Lodging Partner is Grace Grove Retreat Center.

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