Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Expand Your Knowledge With These Impactful Films

Relish the power of film. The artform often goes beyond just “entertainment” to guide us through challenging times. As 2020 continues to offer its set of ongoing challenges, we turned to Esalen Inspirational Film Festival (EIFF) Co-founder Corinne Bourdeau who curated a stellar watch list to consider during this historic time. The following films make for great viewing—right now—and offer a powerful trifecta: they are uplifting, inspiring and educational.

I Am Not Your Negro

Directed by Raoul Peck, this powerful documentary is based on James Baldwin's last unfinished manuscript Remember This House. Anchored in a powerful narration by Samuel Jackson, the film offers an in-depth exploration of racism in the United States. It was nominated for best documentary feature at the 89th Academy Awards in 2017 and rightfully so. It is extraordinary on every level.

Selma

Powerfully directed by Ava DuVernay, Selma is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Alabama voting rights marches initiated and directed by James Bevel and led by Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams and John Lewis. The film's top-notch cast includes stars David Oyelowo (as King), Tom Wilkinson (as President Lyndon B. Johnson), Tim Roth (as George Wallace) and Common (as Bevel). This powerful film stays with you long after viewing.

13th

EIFF Artistic Director Trina Wyatt highly recommends Ava DuVernay's film, 13th. Billed as a criminal justice outing, 13th shines the spotlight on the prison system and also offers a powerful exploration of race in America. This is, perhaps, one of the most powerful and educational films to come out in the last decade. Trina says all of DuVernay’s films are sublime and 13th is truly "of the moment" right now.

Rebuilding Paradise

Staying true to its title, this documentary shows the destruction and rebuilding of the town of Paradise, Calif., after a devastating fire in 2018. Beautifully shot by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, the film boasts edge-of-your-seat footage and offers inspiration on how to rebuild—and reimagine—a new future. This is timely as many of us consider rebuilding our own lives.

The Biggest Little Farm

In these uncertain times, we may have heard several people ponder moving to a farm. Biggest Little Farm showcases the journey of an idealistic young couple, John and Molly Chester, as they decide to leave behind the fast-paced L.A. lifestyle to pursue their dream of starting a farm that integrates permaculture principles. The film is beautifully shot and explores both the challenges and joys of farm living.

Wonderstruck

Based on the best-selling book by Brian Selznick, Wonderstuck is poetically shot in black and white and is also silent, which gives the film a magical, timeless effect. Directed by Todd Haynes, the film intertwines the stories of two 11-year-old children who are bound by a mysterious connection even though they live 50 years apart. The New York Times review notes: "Stars glitter and worlds collide in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, a lovely ode to imagination and to the stories that make us who we are."

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Expand Your Knowledge With These Impactful Films

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

Relish the power of film. The artform often goes beyond just “entertainment” to guide us through challenging times. As 2020 continues to offer its set of ongoing challenges, we turned to Esalen Inspirational Film Festival (EIFF) Co-founder Corinne Bourdeau who curated a stellar watch list to consider during this historic time. The following films make for great viewing—right now—and offer a powerful trifecta: they are uplifting, inspiring and educational.

I Am Not Your Negro

Directed by Raoul Peck, this powerful documentary is based on James Baldwin's last unfinished manuscript Remember This House. Anchored in a powerful narration by Samuel Jackson, the film offers an in-depth exploration of racism in the United States. It was nominated for best documentary feature at the 89th Academy Awards in 2017 and rightfully so. It is extraordinary on every level.

Selma

Powerfully directed by Ava DuVernay, Selma is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Alabama voting rights marches initiated and directed by James Bevel and led by Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams and John Lewis. The film's top-notch cast includes stars David Oyelowo (as King), Tom Wilkinson (as President Lyndon B. Johnson), Tim Roth (as George Wallace) and Common (as Bevel). This powerful film stays with you long after viewing.

13th

EIFF Artistic Director Trina Wyatt highly recommends Ava DuVernay's film, 13th. Billed as a criminal justice outing, 13th shines the spotlight on the prison system and also offers a powerful exploration of race in America. This is, perhaps, one of the most powerful and educational films to come out in the last decade. Trina says all of DuVernay’s films are sublime and 13th is truly "of the moment" right now.

Rebuilding Paradise

Staying true to its title, this documentary shows the destruction and rebuilding of the town of Paradise, Calif., after a devastating fire in 2018. Beautifully shot by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, the film boasts edge-of-your-seat footage and offers inspiration on how to rebuild—and reimagine—a new future. This is timely as many of us consider rebuilding our own lives.

The Biggest Little Farm

In these uncertain times, we may have heard several people ponder moving to a farm. Biggest Little Farm showcases the journey of an idealistic young couple, John and Molly Chester, as they decide to leave behind the fast-paced L.A. lifestyle to pursue their dream of starting a farm that integrates permaculture principles. The film is beautifully shot and explores both the challenges and joys of farm living.

Wonderstruck

Based on the best-selling book by Brian Selznick, Wonderstuck is poetically shot in black and white and is also silent, which gives the film a magical, timeless effect. Directed by Todd Haynes, the film intertwines the stories of two 11-year-old children who are bound by a mysterious connection even though they live 50 years apart. The New York Times review notes: "Stars glitter and worlds collide in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, a lovely ode to imagination and to the stories that make us who we are."

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

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