A funny thing happened after I made the BLEEP -- for a while I found dogma. I found righteousness. I found the right road to heaven replete with the perfectly enlightened pair of yoga pants and incense to burn, I was set and for a while I walked that path... all aglow in the pure light of the crystals that surrounded me until I fell into a deep pit of despair, damn that place was dark. Some would call it a loss of faith, for me it was more like the ultimate butt burn.
It was then that I began to wonder, is it possible any of us holds the bag of truth? Is it possible that anyone here in this crazy reality has any of the answers we seek? My rigidity began to soften as I looked into the faces of those I used to mock for being asleep and realized they were searching just like me and while they searched all they wanted was a safe place to sleep, some food and maybe a laugh or two along the way. I looked deeply into my heart and I saw that what I truly loved was the stories we told and that in each story there was a small bit, a tiny grain of similarity. We were all seeking and all of us wanted to be safe while we dug and prodded and questioned everything we saw, and heard and tasted and you know what all those senses we have do. I found my calling to be a story teller and in the modern sense for me that was being a writer and a filmmaker, the lens and the pen my tools for looking deep into the crevices of the human experience. For a while I played it safe by hanging with my so-called new age tribe, focusing only on people and topics that agreed overtly with my new-found "spirituality".
And then I met a guy named Ben Fama Jr. who made a film called A Virus Called Fear and at first I thought I had found a patriot of the truth (at least my truth). Until I realized that he was an atheist and a skeptic and pretty much despised like with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns despised everything I held dear. Oops...he wasn't my tribe, now what. Well I could either turn around and run like hell back to the safety of my meditation cushion, or, I could do something crazy and cross enemy lines and get to know this enigma, this anti everything being who pushes every button I have so carefully cultivated on my "spiritual path" and so I did...and guess what...what I found is someone just like me, a seeker at heart, a wanderer of this reality looking for any shred of truth we could find. And although we walked on different roads, we asked different questions and maybe sometimes used different lenses at our heart we desired nothing more than to share this quest for answers through film. And with this I found my tribe.
I began to explore others who's love of story telling took them deep into the places forbidden by the faithful, those who asked the questions most wouldn't dare and I found courageous, insightful, intelligent and most importantly loving people who only want to shed some light, share our human experience, ways to make it brighter, happier, ways to change and to expand our world view.
I began working with another filmmaker who made The Principle Movie, a film that questions everything we think we know about our universe...talk about ballsy, a film that (Like BLEEP) that looks at science and spirituality and wonders could they finally get on the same page? It was brave to make this film, the press has not been kind (brutal actually) and as usual their brutality had nothing to do with the actual film, it was aimed directly at the people who made the film. A group of individuals from multiple sides of the fence, some outright religious, some from the new age/new thought world and a few who probably didn't really care either way. A group, that for all intensive purposes should not be playing in the same sand box, and yet they did because they new at their core they had one thing in common a desire to ask questions, a willingness to listen to as many perspectives as possible and the bravery to put them all together in one film.
"I chose to direct The Principle because Rick DeLano came to me and was passionate about the subject of "what is our place in the cosmos?" We chose the route of doing
more radical cosmology questions because we believed that there needed to be more questions asked about recent discoveries that had not hit the mainstream yet," says Ktee Thomas, director of The Principle Movie.
"Filmmaking is not one sided. Filmmaking is starting a conversation. That's really what it is. We always want to start conversations with a film. I do not believe you should answer all the questions in a film. I think you should walk away from a film with questions and be able to sit down and discuss with people, that you never would have thought would come and watch your film. People from all different walks of life." This is from Ktee, but any filmmaker could have said it -- it's our mantra.
Ktee and I went to Sedona to screen The Principle Movie, the mecca of all things New Age and found, oddly enough, time to sit down to dinner with the skeptic and atheist Ben Fama Jr. who happens to live in Sedona (how's that for crossing enemy lines!). There we are -- 3 filmmakers who each made an impactful film exploring multiple ideas, to say that our table was loud is an understatement. We were passionate about many things, but the most important was that we needed to support each other and our films.
"I may not agree with your film, I can sit here and argue most of the science and you know what, I am so grateful I can, this is what films should do, bring people together to explore each others ideas, and when I support your film, I support my own and vice versa," says Ben Fama Jr.
Each of us has found as we screen our films that there is a strong hunger for films that allow an audience to have an opinion, to be presented with ideas without having to have it all wrapped up in a nice bow for them, to leave them room for coffee and a healthy, lively (and hopefully respectful) debate.
This is what the world needs more of. Everyday people willing to walk across the road, sit down with their "enemy" and talk and listen and see for themselves, we're all really the same at heart, just humans, trying to survive while we explore this crazy reality.