Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spirits rise high with the Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival

Festival celebrates six years and continues to grow


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

Backcountry skiers in the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia, Canada, are led by ski mountaineer and mountain guide Ruedi Beglinger in the documentary film A Life Ascending, which will screen at the sixth Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival. Courtesy photo

The changing climate of religion in the 21st century has brought about a spiritual awareness and awakening around the world, allowing people to experience life beyond their traditional religious upbringings. In its sixth year, the Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival is a testament to the world's changing spiritual climate, having received over 400 film submissions about spiritual awareness and changing religious ideals and practices.

The Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the exploration of the human spirit through the medium of film and discourse. In the past year, the festival has made a year-round presence in the Wood River Valley with film screenings and discussions.

The festival will kick off at the Sun Valley Pavilion on Thursday, Sept. 16, with Jayanthi Raman's "Shrishti, Creation: Temple Dance Ballet from India." The performance will include a multimedia presentation featuring Jayanthi Raman Dance Company, which includes 11 dancers accompanied by an orchestra of Indian musicians. Raman is the principle dancer and choreographer. The performance will include elaborate stage lighting and will present Bharatha Natyam, a South India dance style. In addition, dancers will also perform Odissi dance style and Manipuri dance with Pung drummer dancers from Manipur who perform folk and tribal dances and martial arts. Original music is by Ganesh Rajagopalan.

"It gets bigger every year," said Executive Director Mary Gervase. "There were so many youth films submitted this year. We added a youth program."

The addition of a youth program will offer children and adults a chance to view films from around the world including animation, documentary and clever dramatic films. The films will be shown in the Sun Valley Resort Boiler Room on Saturday and Sunday.

Gervase said some of the highlights to this year's festival include a late-night showing of the documentary film "A Life Ascending" at the Sun Valley Opera House at 10 p.m. Filmmaker Gordon Quinn will be in attendance to discuss his time with ski mountaineer and mountain guide Ruedi Beglinger. Beglinger, his wife and two young daughters live at a remote site in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia. The film reveals the Beglinger family's unusual mountain life and a story about a massive avalanche that killed seven people.

Other films include a discussion on Eastern religions as seen in the documentary film "The Asian and Abrahamic Religions: A Divine Encounter in America," which will include a panel discussion with David Shaner, Jessi Kaur, Jerry Krell and Adam Krell with moderator the Rev. Wendy Collins.

"It's a perspective one does not normally get anywhere," Gervase said. "I'm so excited because it's not like any other film festival in the world."

Gervase said this year's festival has components beyond the viewing experience, offering to filmmakers and filmgoers media and visual aids including film discussions and film distribution opportunities in the spiritual film market—a growing film business.

Films about Buddhist teachings, journeys to study legendary poets, profiles on modern-day heroes in Mexico, comedies about love, documentaries about demystifying death and slam poets are only a sampling of the many films to watch over the three-day event.

The festival includes several of the filmmakers presenting films as well as the people who are included in the films. A few films with filmmakers who will be in attendance include "Raw Faith," "Sons of Perdition" and "Griefwalker."

Food will be available for purchase outside the Sun Valley Opera House from 5-9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. Sun Valley Resort will have a "reel raffle" at all of its stores. Participants may fill out a ticket at every participating location in the village, including restaurants and the Sun Valley Opera House. A drawing will be announced for multiple prize winners on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m. at the Sun Valley Opera House.

Tickets are $8 per film, event tickets are $15, student tickets are $5 and festival passes are $100. They are available by calling 788-9729 or by visiting www.svspiritualfilmfestival.org.

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Highlights

Thursday, Sept. 16

8-10 p.m. Jayanthi Raman Dance Company will perform "Shrishti: Creation, Temple Dance Ballet of India" at the Sun Valley Pavilion. Gates open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, $27 and $37 available online at www.mySVfun.com or by calling 622-2135. Festival pass holders cocktail reception on Sun Valley Pavilion South Terrace 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 17

8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. "Griefwalker: The Soul of the Well-Lived Life" presented by Stephen Jenkinson in the Sun Valley Inn Limelight Room.

8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. "Movie Making: A Dialogue with the Filmmakers" all-day seminar in the Sun Valley Lodge Dining Room.

3:30-5 p.m. "Brilliant Moon" introduced by Elizabeth Sheldon at the Sun Valley Opera House.

6-8:30 p.m. "Raw Faith" with filmmaker Peter Wiedensmith and the Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell at the Sun Valley Opera House.

9-10:30 p.m. "Sons of Perdition" with filmmaker Jennilyn Merten at the Sun Valley Opera House.

Saturday, Sept. 18

8:30-10:30 a.m. "2012: An Awakening for More Spiritual Media?" Coffee with the filmmakers at the Sun Valley Lodge Dining Room.

10 a.m.-7 p.m. Youth film program in the Sun Valley Resort Boiler Room. Children are free with adult pass holder. General admission ticket $5 children and $8 adults.

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. "The Valley of Dawn" with filmmaker Adrienne Grierson followed by a presentation with textile artist Leslie Rinchen-Wangmo at the Sun Valley Opera House.

1-2 p.m. Wood River Jewish Community Center Yom Kippur meditation hour at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sun Valley.

2:30-5 p.m. "The Asian and Abrahamic Religions: A Divine Encounter in America" with panelists David Shaner, Jessi Kaur, Jerry Krell and Adam Krell with moderator the Rev. Wendy Collins.

5:30-7 p.m. "El Andalon" with filmmakers Consuelo Alba and John Speyer at the Sun Valley Opera House.

10-11:30 p.m. "Inquiring Nuns" and "A Life Ascending" with filmmaker Gordon Quinn at the Sun Valley Opera House.

Sunday, Sept. 19

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Youth film program in the Sun Valley Resort Boiler Room. Children are free with adult pass holder. General admission ticket $5 children and $8 adults.

1:30-3 p.m. "Journey from Zanskar" with filmmaker Frederick Marx at the Sun Valley Opera House.

3 p.m. Cultural Safari with readings by "The Royal Falcon" author Jessi Kaur at the Sun Valley Boiler Room.

3:30-5:30 p.m. "Chalo Hamara Des" with speaker Linda Hess at the Sun Valley Opera House.

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com




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