That's a Wrap!

A BRAVE HEART: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, Dying to Know Also Honored

DOWN to EARTH, the story of a family who left the beaten path in order to find a new perspective on life, captured the Jury Prize at the second annual ILLUMINATE Film Festival, the world's premier festival for conscious cinema. Directed by Rolf Winters and Renata Heinan, DOWN to EARTH, which had its US Premiere at ILLUMINATE, followed a family over five years across five continents as they sought out tribal sages never filmed or interviewed before. DOWN to EARTH reveals the deep wisdom they found and its power to transform lives.

The Audience Award for Best Feature Film went to A BRAVE HEART: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, directed by Sara Hirsh Bordo. Says lead programmer Sheron Foster, "This triumphant tale of 26-year-old, 58-pound Lizzie, labeled the "world's ugliest woman" proves the transformative power of looking inward for validation and self-love."

Other prize winners were:

  • Audience Award for Best Feature Film Runner Up – Landfill Harmonic, directed by Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley
  • Audience Award for Best Short Film: Automatic Fitness, directed by Alejandra Tomei and Alberto Couceiro
  • Director's Choice Award: Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, directed by Roger Allers, Gaëtan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Joan Gratz, Mohammed Saeed Harib, Tomm Moore, Nina Paley, Bill Plympton, Joann Sfar, Michal Socha
  • Impact Award: Dying to Know, directed by Gay Dillingham

Attendance exceeded 4,000 at the five-day, 22-film festival that also featured Reel Healings incorporating immersive experiences; five Conscious Film Convergence panels with film industry experts; six film projects accelerated at the Conscious Cinema Accelerator; and a think tank conversation about the future of conscious cinema with 30 of the world's key film industry leaders at the Conscious Cinema Summit. Ten screenings sold out.

"We launched ILLUMINATE Film Festival to uplift, inspire and transform," said founder and executive director Danette Wolpert. "The reactions of our audiences, filmmakers and those behind the scenes showed clearly that we achieved that goal on many levels."

Key sponsors of the 2015 ILLUMIINATE Film Festival were Premiere: Wolpert & Associates, P.A., Principal: Pacari Premium Organic Chocolate, Producing: Tequa Festival Marketplace, GAIAM TV, ChocolaTree, Lodge at Sedona and Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen. The 2016 ILLUMINATE Film Festival is scheduled June 1 – 5.