The Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival last weekend recorded its largest attendance since it began five years ago.
Unlike in other years, this year's festival took place in one location at the Sun Valley Opera House. In addition, the festival added more speakers who were related to the film industry or to the business of promoting spiritual health and awareness.
"I think we did the best ever," said festival Executive Director Mary Gervase. "People who attended the festival had phenomenal comments. They said it was the strongest programming so far, and they enjoyed being all together."
Gervase said the festival receives in-kind donations, such as that from Tom Nickle, owner of the Roosevelt Grille, who provided dinners, but this is the first year the festival is being considered for cash contributions.
Gervase said that when she did her introductions at the opening party, she "almost fell over" when Spiritual Cinema Circle owner Stephen Simon said he wanted his business to be involved as a sponsor.
"We are breaking ground," she said.
Other potential festival supporters were guest speaker Jim Walsh, founder of the Human Energy System Alliance Institute.
"I am so relieved there will be some help," Gervase said. "If you stick with a business plan of five years, it will work."
Gervase said the ultimate mission of the festival is education. The festival took place in an environment in which dialogue was free flowing among attendees, filmmakers and special guests. Also, DVDs and books were available for purchase for further education.
At a panel discussion, "Hollywood is Dead: What's Next?" Peter Shia, founder and chief executive officer of Orb Media Group, said he works in the trenches of Hollywood and believes spirituality is the driving mega-trend of our generation.
"Hollywood is dying and something new needs to replace it," he said. "We need the Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival more than ever."
Sabina Dana Plasse: firstname.lastname@example.org