fiercelight1.jpgInspirational Film Offered in Homes and on Mobile in Nationwide Launch from Alive Mind at

NEW YORK (MAY 4, 2009) - Beginning today, millions of people across the United States will be able to access the transformational documentary that captures the wave of Spiritual Activism exploding around the planet, and the powerful personalities who are igniting it on Video On Demand (VOD). Not yet available on DVD, Fierce Light is now accessible to viewers from the comfort of their homes or on the go at Available to all U.S households or mobile devices with a high-speed Internet connection, Fierce Light inspires viewers to embrace the transformational power of what Martin Luther King called "Love in Action," and what Gandhi called "Soul Force." Filmmaker Velcrow Ripper calls this uncompromisingly non-violent phenomenon Fierce Light-and attests that it is this very spirit that swept Barack Obama into the White House.

Velcrow Ripper, visionary filmmaker of Fierce Light said, "The philosophy that guides my work is the transformation of our world one person at a time. Fierce Light was created to empower people, to continue the change that is sweeping the world from Africa to Washington, from Mexico to Sri Lanka to South Central Los Angeles. By making my film available on demand, I hope to tap into the digital revolution that helped sweep Barack Obama into office."

When viewers purchase a ticket to watch Fierce Light On Demand at, the price of the ticket ($4.95) will be applicable to the purchase of the DVD when released later in 2009 by Alive Mind. Fierce Light will also be available at select theaters and community screenings across America before the DVD release.

About Fierce Light

Fierce Light reveals the power of what Alice Walker calls the 'Human Sunrise." This film reveals what is possible when human beings, faced with a world in crisis, rise to their absolute best. The film features such luminaries as Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Alice Walker; Buddhist peace-activist monk Thich Nhat Hanh; famed tree-sitter Julia Butterfly Hill; Hollywood celebrity turned spiritual activist Daryl Hannah; dharma punk, Noah Levine, and many more. Fierce Light shows how small changes made by individuals have the power to transform our world. When billions of people make small changes, this results in enormous change. This exciting transformation begins in the heart, when one person dares to care. Each and every person has a role to play in this profound shift in consciousness, a shift from the small 'me' to the great 'we.' This is the evolution of activism, and the evolution of spirituality - a revolution of the heart.

To read Velcrow Ripper's blog or to watch Fierce Light, visit

About Alive Mind:

Alive Mind releases high quality documentaries in the areas of enlightened consciousness, secular spirituality and cultural change. Alive Mind's recent DVD releases include FlicKeR, about the Beatnik artist and inventor of the Dreamachine; Tibetan Book of the Dead, narrated by Leonard Cohen; HAIR: Let the Sun Shine In about the generation-changing musical; and Through the Eastern Gate, a soul-provoking look into the deeper meaning of life.

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By Chris Knight, National Post

You might expect the director of programming at Toronto’s Hot Docs film festival to have a fixed notion of what is and isn’t a documentary, but Sean Farnel, now in his fourth year in the job, says it’s a moving target.

“I’m becoming less of a purist about the form as I see filmmakers doing impressive things,” Farnel says. “This is a case where the term ‘non-fiction’ is better than ‘reality’ — whatever that is. Documentary as a non-fiction form has become very fluid in the last 10 years ... You see docs consistently pushing the form in new directions.”

Two popular, form-pushing films released last year illustrate his point. Waltz with Bashir, by Ari Folman, recreates the Israeli filmmaker’s memories of the 1982 war with Lebanon through animation. Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg was part monologue, part travelogue and partly made up, though clearly even the imaginary parts of Manitoba’s capital are close to Maddin’s heart.

This year’s festival, which opens next Thursday with a screening of Jennifer Baichwal’s Act of God, includes a number of what Farnel calls “creative documentaries.”
Cooking History, about soldiers’ food during wartime, uses tableaux and elaborate reconstructions. Antoine, a Canadian film by Laura Bari, immerses the viewer in the universe of a blind five-year-old boy. Big River Man, which Farnel calls a “demi-documentary” in the festival’s program notes, “might be another example of walking the line between fiction and non-fiction to achieve what Werner Herzog would call poetic truth.”

While there’s never any shortage of good documentaries or appreciative audiences, Farnel believes Hot Docs offerings can appeal even to the multiplex crowd. “We have movies that are as funny as any broad comedy and as dramatic as any mainstream drama,” he says. “The reason our audiences have doubled in the last three years is that audiences that take that chance get hooked fast.”

Ultimately, he says, what he, his fellow programmers and attending filmmakers are looking for is the unexpected hit.

“It’s easy to see where films like The Cove and Burma VJ that have won awards and are coming to the festival with a lot of momentum — it’s easy to see where they’re going to have a very good festival,” he says. “But I’m excited to see which of the films that we haven’t seen a lot of bubble up and cause conversation.” Farnel is shy about picking favourites, but when asked for some possible dark horses at this year’s festival, he rattles off some unusual fare that fascinated him: Outrage, Defamation, About Face, The Sound of Insects and The Way We Get By.

Still, he admits public reaction can startle him. “I was surprised that Taking Root won the audience award last year,” he says, referring to Lisa Merton and Alan Dater’s story of Kenyan political activist Wangari Maathai. “Not that it didn’t deserve to win, but it was such a small, modest film.”
As with so many of Toronto’s film festivals, viewers are a vital component to ultimate success. “These are all in a sense word-of-mouth films,” says Farnel. “These films are such great conversation starters and are such a social experience. I’m excited about what the audiences tell me.”


Read the rest of the article here.

UserpicFLicKeR to Premier in New York City!
Posted by Elizabeth

Yes, it is true, Nik Sheehan and FLicKeR are coming to New York city to the Anthology Film Archive, June 13th.

See you there.

1 comment 1 comment ( 1832 views )

UserpicFilmthreat Gives Nollywood Babylon Three Stars
Posted by Elizabeth

The enthusiasm of Nollywood Babylon is infectious. Focusing on the widely unknown (in the U.S., at least) Nigerian film industry, this documentary speeds its way through seventeen years of their film history. Starting in 1992, the video market in Lagos has provided financial opportunities for hundreds of actors and directors making thousands of films. Clocking in at about 2500 films a year, Nigeria has the third largest film industry (the first and second being the U.S. and India, respectively). Seeing the passion that these artists share for films showing the real experiences of Nigerians, and the love of Nollywood itself, is inspiring for independent filmmakers everywhere, struggling to get their little pictures made.

The star of the film, the Nollywoood director Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen (known as "Da Guv'nor in Lagos), had made 157 movies when "Nollywood Babylon" started filming. By now I'm sure that number has increased drastically as he directs two more during the four-month period the documentary crew was filming. Lancelot is a quirky, very serious, loveable character. Watching him scream at his grip in one scene and then comfort his actress after an emotionally draining performance, you can see just how much he cares about this business.

I only wish the film made an effort to slow down a bit more than its star. The directors, Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal estimated some 9000 cuts, and that seems to exclude the cuts made within the Nollywood film clips themselves. This MTV-style editing makes watching the film a little bit like wiping out under a giant wave. The new information hits you full speed, and you're left with a mouth full of sand and an unsatisfying feeling of accomplishment. Each Nollywood poster shown in a split second has a wealth of information just beyond our grasp and the effect is a bit nauseating. The style matches the subject, but in this case a moment of silence, or even a single extra second spent on each shot would be very much appreciated. Perhaps the responsibility is placed on the audience to sit up, pay attention, and do our own research later.

Read the original article by by Whitney Borup here. Sign-up for the Alive Mind newsletter to receive information about upcoming releases, screenings near you and special promotions.

UserpicThe Gates Receives Peabody
Posted by Elizabeth

The Gates posterFrom the April 1, 2009 press release announcing the Peabody Awards:

The Gates (HBO)
Maysles Films in association with HBO Documentary Films and CVJ

Filmmakers explored how the now-celebrated Central Park installation by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude came to be in this memoir of a creative process that survived a 24-year odyssey of bureaucratic hoop-jumping.

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