Movies & Meaning

Storytelling • Healing • Art • Justice

http://youtu.be/NiSnAMzFFt4

Announcing something hugely exciting: the Movies and Meaning Festival will take place from May 28th-31st, 2015, in Albuquerque, NM. Magical cinema, extraordinary guests, inclusive community, meaningful conversation, beautiful landscape and dance parties! Only 300 spaces will be available for this amazing experience. Get tickets here.

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Cinema has been around for over a century, which means there are thousands of magnificent masterpieces that elevate the mind and soul, and also that the art form is just getting started. In a world of infinite content, often dominated by blockbuster superficiality, Movies and Meaning helps you find the best films to watch, talk about, and be inspired by. We recommend three movies each week - one for the multiplex, one at the art house, and one to watch at home.

ABOUT

The Movies and Meaning newsletter is published weekly, and emailed directly to our subscribers, who include some of the most discerning film viewers in the US. Our curators use their discerning eyes to discover the very best movies out there, and send you their recommendations, along with links to the best film writing around.

Learn more by reading a sample newsletter.

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Image credit: The Thin Red Line (1998, dir. Terrence Malick) We love it and you can buy it here

2015 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

(Looking for the 2016 Festival Schedule? Click here!)

triptych

Movies & Meaning: A Dream Space is not a typical film festival. It's an experiment in something new. You don’t have to like festivals, or know anything about cinema to be welcome and have a transformative experience there. We are dedicated to imagining a new way to interact with stories and light. So there will be extraordinary films projected on a huge screen, but we’re building community, so there will be no red carpet. The sounds and landscapes in the screening space will be carefully thought out, and the lights won’t come up until after the credits have rolled. We’ll be creating a gathering of people who want to nurture ways of telling stories that push the boundaries of artistic innovation, get us laughing and crying in good measure, and make everyone’s lives better.

We're inviting everyone to enter with open minds, and to engage at a deeper level. Movies & Meaning will screen some of the greatest films ever made, some lesser-known masterpieces, and some brand new works of brilliant imagination. The festival will be bookended by screenings of two of the most transcendent works of cinema we’ve ever seen. On our huge screen, they will look like miracles. There will be conversations with the internationally renowned contemplative activist, Richard Rohr, about how to watch movies with a beginner’s mind - to “see as the mystics see”. Unlike a traditional film festival where participants may be passive consumers, those who join us at Movies & Meaning will help shape the experience through active participation and reflection on how archetypal themes in these amazing films relate to the world we are creating together. We will create a community space in which people come together to explore the images, feelings, and dreams that are inspired by the films we watch. There will be opportunities to hear from local storytellers, to take in the exquisite New Mexico landscape, eat amazing food, dance, find yourself, make new friends, and lots more besides. 
 

SCHEDULE 

Welcome to Movies & Meaning! This schedule outlines the program for our long weekend together. There are three kinds of films at Movies & Meaning - Icons (transcendent works from the past that shimmer in big-screen outings), Overlooked and Very Special (movies that we feel were not seen enough on their initial release, and which we’re delighted to bring to you now), and New Films (including a U.S. premiere, a wonderful new documentary, and an exclusive preview screening). There will also be conversations, workshops, a poetry performance, and maybe even invitations to dance! 

A note on the screenings: We want to create an environment for cinema that allows for deeper personal experiences, and honors the creativity on display. So we invite quiet in the theater ten minutes before screenings begin, and that we remain quietly in our seats until after the end credits have finished rolling. The lights will not come up until after the credits are over. In this way, we hope you will experience films as they were meant to be seen: as complete works, with room to breathe. 

Thank you.

THURSDAY MAY 28TH

 

7PM: ICONS: THE RED BALLOON (ALBERT LAMORISSE, FRANCE, 1956, 34 minutes)

“"The Red Balloon" is a beautiful little meditation on childhood, on imagination literally taking flight. The story of Pascal and his balloon represents the longings of the young - and the not so young - to escape the mundane business of daily life, and find a way to transcend, transcend.’ - Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer 

WELCOME - GARETH HIGGINS 

SEEING AS THE MYSTICS SEE - RICHARD ROHR

A conversation on how to discover hidden magic in cinema and storytelling through the eyes of the heart. 

ICONS: 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (STANLEY KUBRICK, U.S./U.K., 1968, 161 minutes)

“It may be only mild hyperbole to state that 2001: A Space Odyssey is, like The Jazz Singer and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Citizen Kane, one of the true monoliths of all cinema, a guiding and transformative force for the future.’ - Josh Spiegel, Movie Mezzanine

FRIDAY MAY 29TH 

 

9.15amICONS: MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (LEO MCCAREY, U.S., 1937, 92 minutes)

“That’s the saddest picture ever made. It would make a stone cry!” - Orson Welles

RICHARD ROHR ON FALLING UPWARD - Only those who have fallen down, can understand what it is to get up again. Richard will help us explore the two halves of life, and how it is possible for things to get better in the period when the culture suggests only the end is near. 

11.15amOVERLOOKED & VERY SPECIAL: LOVE IS STRANGE (IRA SACHS, U.S., 2014, 99 minutes)

“An absolutely beautiful, quietly intense, moving love story about love and marriage that is nothing short of a small masterpiece. John Lithgow and Alfred Molina are sublime, and so is this poignant, tender film. A pure must-see.” - Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress

1PMLUNCH & COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS (FOOD TRUCKS)

2.30PM: ALBUQUERQUE POET LAUREATE JESSICA HELEN LOPEZ 

3.30PM: OVERLOOKED & VERY SPECIAL: LOUDER THAN A BOMB (1h 39m) with JESSICA HELEN LOPEZ

"[This] film left me wondering why American television must be so gutless and shallow. If these kids and others like them were programmed against "America Idol" or "Dancing With the Stars," the shabbiness of those shows would be placed in dramatic contrast. Here are real performers with real feelings and important things to say." - Roger Ebert

5.30PM: DINNER BREAK [FOOD TRUCKS ON SITE]

7.15PM: GARETH HIGGINS ON STORYTELLING, VIOLENCE, AND PEACE

Evidence shows that violence has declined, that humans are becoming kinder; but the way we tell the story of the world seems to suggest the opposite. Gareth leads us in a conversation about how to tell the story in a way that honors today’s challenging headlines without denying the long-term hopeful trendlines, and the potential for cinema and all the arts to play a world-changing role. In short, we’ll explore how conscious storytelling can make life better for everyone.

8.30PMNEW FILMS: LIFE MAY BE (MARK COUSINS & MANIA AKBARI, U.K., 2014, 80 minutes)

 The overall impression is of eavesdropping into the lives of two cinephile cineastes, both of them engagingly erudite and perceptive, while flicking through a generously illustrated scrapbook of their intensely-experienced inner lives.” Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter 

SATURDAY MAY 30TH

 

9.30AM: RICHARD ROHR ON THE BEGINNER'S MIND Richard says, “The beginner’s mind is a posture of eagerness, of spiritual hunger. It knows it needs something. To acknowledge oneself as a beginner is to be open to transformation.” 

10AMOVERLOOKED & VERY SPECIAL: PRIDE (MATTHEW WARCHUS, U.K., 2014, 120 minutes)

“It's impossible to single out one performance. Family feeling animates the whole cast and as the fight against bigotry intensifies, so does the spirit of mutual affection. It's the real thing.” - Sandra Hall, Sydney Morning Herald

FOLLOWED BY DISCUSSION WITH ACTIVISTS AND PIONEERS HOLLY ROACH & BRIAN AMMONS 

12.30PM: LUNCH 

1.30PMOPTIONAL CONTEMPLATIVE FILM (A three hour session of ‘Visio Divina’)

OR 

2.00PM-3.15PMWORKSHOP OPTIONS: 

HOLLY ROACH ON THE ECOLOGY OF HEALTHY SOCIAL MOVEMENTS 

DG HOLLUMS ON ART AS CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICE 

GARETH HIGGINS ON TELLING A NEW STORY FOR A NEW WORLD: WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF THE NEW MYTH 

3.30PM-4.45PM: WORKSHOP OPTIONS:

HOLLY ROACH ON THE ECOLOGY OF HEALTHY SOCIAL MOVEMENTS 

DG HOLLUMS ON ART AS CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICE

GARETH HIGGINS ON TELLING A NEW STORY FOR A NEW WORLD: WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF THE NEW MYTH

4:45PM: NEW FILMS: TOCANDO LA LUZ (JENNIFER REDFEARN, U.S., 2015, 72m)

“An exquisite observational film about three women in Cuba living with blindness. Moving, funny, and beautiful, an insight into a particular struggle in a particular place with universal resonance for anyone who wants to be more human.” - Gareth Higgins, Movies & Meaning

6.30PMDINNER

8.00PM: SURPRISE FILM - LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT (RODRIGO GARCIA, 2015, 98 minutes)

Our surprise film at the first MOVIES AND MEANING festival was LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT, starring Ewan McGregor. Writer-director Rodrigo Garcia joined us for a conversation after this exclusive screening. Our deep thanks of course to the filmmakers, production company, and everyone involved in bringing it to Movies & Meaning.

SUNDAY MAY 31ST


9.30AMRICHARD ROHR ON IMMORTAL DIAMOND

As Movies & Meaning draws to a close, Richard explores the deepest questions of identity, spirituality, and meaning. Rohr likens the True Self to a diamond, buried within us, formed under the intense pressure of our lives, that must be searched for, uncovered, separated from all the debris of ego that surrounds it. In a sense the True Self must be resurrected, and that process is not resuscitation but transformation.

ICONS: THE TREE OF LIFE (TERRENCE MALICK, U.S., 2011, 139 minutes)

“A contemplative odyssey that taps into the universal need to make sense of memories that flood our consciousness. A shape-shifting film, it resembles a poem. At other moments, it is closer to a symphony. Most often, it approximates a fervent prayer.” - Claudia Puig, USA Today

CLOSING THOUGHTS FROM RICHARD ROHR AND GARETH HIGGINS

FESTIVAL ENDS AT 1pm

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Your festival pass gets you access to all films, conversations, presentations and special events listed here. There are only 275 tickets, as we want Movies and Meaning to be a more intimate event. Our venue is exquisite, the screening facility magnificent, the films transformational, and the guests highly distinguished. Movies and Meaning is something new, and this first experience will be totally unique and unrepeatable. We hope you can join us - get your tickets here, before they’re gone! 

*Program is subject to change, surprises, and reinvention!