ILLUMINATE 2017 Lineup

Best of Conscious Shorts

Blind Vaysha
Sedona Premiere
Director: Theodore Ushev * Short
Canada *2016* 8 minutes


In this Oscar-nominated animated short, Vaysha is not like other young girls. She was born with one green eye and one brown eye. But her odd eyes aren't the only thing that's special about her gaze. Her left eye sees only the past while her right sees only the future, and so she is unable to live in the present. The film incorporates music from Bulgarian musician and composer Kottarashky.


Finding Buddha
Southwest Premiere
Director: Zilong Liu * Short
China, USA *2016* 30 minutes


In this short romantic drama, we follow an American "average Joe" as he leaves his life behind to head to a Chinese monastery to "find Buddha" before his 45th birthday. Along the way, he befriends his young tour guide, who seems just as lost as he is. They set off on another kind of adventure to find inner peace.


The Invisible World
Sedona Premiere
Director: Jen Fineran * Short
USA *2015* 14 minutes


Searching the spiritual realm for undiscovered images, a dogged artist travels to an otherworldly dimension filled with angels and demons as he embarks on a mystical transformation. The Invisible World follows the painter Mark Weiss through nearly 40 years of mystical, often painful visions, and the 10,000 scrapes, strokes, and mistakes needed to capture a single work.


A Q&A with director Jen Fineran and artist Mark Weiss follows.


Southwest Premiere
Director: Linda Booker * Short
USA *2017* 32 minutes


Used once and tossed, billions of plastic straws wind up in landfills and streets finding their way to oceans. A viral video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw in its nose has now sparked anti-straw campaigns globally. Actor/Director Tim Robbins narrates this compelling documentary with marine researchers, citizen activists, and business owners discussing how it's possible to make a sea of change, one straw at a time.

The Girl from the Song
North American Premiere

The Girl from the Song is a frenetic and surprising love story packed with adventure, dreams, risk, and all the music and magic that permeates one of the most special events in the world: Burning Man, the world's most experimental gathering.

Shadows of Paradise
Southwest Premiere

This film documents the Transcendental Meditation (TM) Movement with intimate access to two of TM's leaders — iconic filmmaker David Lynch and dedicated disciple Bobby Roth. The film documents the movement's metamorphosis following the death of founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Having grown up within TM, Director Sebastian Lange approaches his subject through an introspective lens, seeking to reconcile the present-day incarnation with the teachings and practices that have shaped his worldview.

A Q&A and meditation with Bob Roth follows.

The Vervet Forest
Arizona Premiere

This compelling documentary tells the story of five orphaned monkeys rescued by the Vervet Monkey Foundation in South Africa, shedding light on the human activity that destroyed their habitat. The film follows the monkeys' arrival as infants and follows their growth into intelligent juveniles who are eventually adopted by foster mother monkeys and integrated into troops in the wild. The film explores how understanding the connection between ourselves and our environment can inspire positive action.

A Q&A with director Kyle Salazar follows.

Magic Pills
World Premiere

After being framed by the media, filmmaker and homeopath Ananda More crisscrosses the world to meet with scientists, practitioners, and patients to learn whether homeopathy is science-based or is an elaborate placebo that cons millions and endangers lives.

A Q&A with director Ananda More and cast member Mr. Tapas Raha follows.

The Last Dalai Lama?
Southwest Premiere

Director Mickey Lemle (Ram Dass Fierce Grace) brings to the big screen a very powerful and intimate portrait of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Lemle filmed extensively with the Dalai Lama with an intimacy only made possible by their 30-year relationship.

A Q&A with director Mickey Lemle follows.

World Premiere

As artificial intelligence rapidly blurs the boundaries between man and machine, we face an astonishing question: are we witnessing the rise of a new human species? SuperSapiens enters a new millennial world where the concept of a collective consciousness created through technology is widely embraced. It foreshadows the end of Homo sapiens and heralds the rise of the mind, bringing with it the birth of a species, Super sapiens.

Q&A with director Markus Mooslechner follows.

The Man Who Built Peace
World Premiere

This film captures the life and legacy of a man you may have never heard of, who changed the world. Following an experience of personal suffering and transformation, Frank Buchman's course was set to pass that on to the world and helped shape the course of history. Watch how Frank helped unite the bitterest enemies of World War II and discover how to apply this yourself in today's politically charged climate.

A Q&A with director/producer Imad Karam, producer Kelly Burks and cast member Jay Stinnett follows.

Arizona Premiere

Lucky follows the spiritual journey of a 90-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off-the-map desert town. Having outlived and out smoked all of his contemporaries, the fiercely independent Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self-exploration leading toward that which is so often unattainable: enlightenment. At once a love letter to the life and career of Harry Dean Stanton, who plays Lucky, the film is also a meditation on mortality, loneliness, spirituality and human connection. Starring Ed Bigley Jr, David Lynch, and Ron Livingston.

A Q&A with Producer and Co-Writer Logan Sparks

What the Health
Sedona Premiere

What is the largest health cover-up of our time, and why don't the nation's leading health organizations want us to know about it? The film follows filmmaker Kip Andersen (Cowspiracy) as he uncovers the secret to preventing and even reversing chronic diseases. With the help of medical doctors, researchers, and consumer advocates, Anderson exposes the collusion and corruption in government and big business that is costing us trillions of healthcare dollars — and keeping us sick.

A Q&A with director Keegan Kuhn and Co-Executive Producer Sailesh Rao follows.