The expansion of conscious media film festivals
by Kate Neligan
In 2014, two new conscious media film festivals launched: the Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona, AZ, and the Awakened World Film Festival in Santa Barbara, CA. There are dozens more, including the recent Awareness Film Festival in Santa Monica, CA, which just celebrated its fifth year.
As a mindful media expert who has followed this space for many years, I can affirm that this market is expanding. In fact, Gaiam put out a whitepaper called “The Explosion of Conscious Media” and acknowledged that the current audience size in the U.S. is over 100 million and will continue to grow for another five years.
It is exciting to see more films produced that illuminate, awaken, and raise awareness. We are often surrounded by the doom and gloom of thrillers, horror movies and adrenaline-packed action flicks, but the films that tug at our heartstrings and help us connect back to our inner selves are also important. It is time for society to see a more positive, healthy mirror.
Films and stories have the potential to heal and improve our lives. This is one of the reasons why I founded my start-up, Synergy TV, which entertains, enlightens and inspires a global audience with curated mindful movies and transformational television. I believe people need to see solutions presented in the media. Our content continues to uplift, evoke awe and restore hope in humanity.
Consciousness-raising film festivals can do the same. They create a temporary home for these films to be discovered, showcased, and celebrated. The audience can watch movies with like-minded individuals and connect with the filmmakers after the screening. New friendships, business relationships and collaborations often occur at festivals like these because everyone is passionate about the vehicle of entertainment as a force for good.
If you are someone who loves to see positive role models, learn something new, and feel your heart open, then these are the types of festivals you want to attend.
In fact, you can often discover some of your favorite films at festivals. Last year at the Awareness Film Festival, I fell in love with the documentary about Father Greg Boyle and Homeboy Industries called G-Dog. This year at AFF, the closing night film was The Starfish Throwers and it was awe-inspiring. It featured three very different people who devote their lives to feeding the hungry. This film is deeply touching and shows us ways we can be of even greater service to humanity. You can see a short clip about one of the men featured in the film here.
The Awakened World Film Festival, the newest addition to this space, launches October 27-30 with inspiring films such as Project Happiness, Walking the Camino, The Invocation, and Money and Life. This festival is woven into a working conference and urban retreat that also features galas, concerts, dialogues and workshops. Produced by the Association for Global New Thought with support from Science of Mind Foundation, the festival will bring together an audience whose values are aligned with spiritual and social responsibility and enlightened action. One special event will be the 10th birthday/anniversary party for the famous documentary What the Bleep?! In honor of this celebration I asked the film’s producer, Betsy Chasse, what she thinks about the expansion of this market.
“I’m grateful to see that conscious people are creating a home for conscious films. For so long we’ve sort of been left out of the mainstream festivals. Although Awake and Song of The New Earth did premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival, it’s few and far between. It’s time that there are festivals that show the quality films that are available in this genre.” – Betsy Chasse
We both agreed that it’s important for visionaries in this space to be honored and rewarded for their heart-centered work to help humanity. The community, which includes you, holds the power to choose which stories we want to see more of and you make a positive difference when you purchase tickets, sponsor, promote, and support conscious media film festivals. The time has come for us to move from a stressed society to one of synergy and mindfulness. The stories we tell in film and media, as well as inside our own heads, can take us there!Tags: Awakened World Film Festival, Awareness Film Festival, Betsy Chasse, Conscious media, Conscious media film festivals, G-Dog (documentary), Hollywood, Illuminate Film Festival, Kate Neligan, Synergy TV, The Starfish Throwers