Movies & Meaning

Storytelling • Healing • Art • Justice

This April 26-28, 2018, at the lovely Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville, North Carolina, we will gather and hear from special guests Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color PurpleBrian McLaren, author and theologian; and Gareth Higgins, film critic and Irish peace activist. We’ll screen seven movies, hear seven stories, and participate in seven activities proven to nurture community, restore hope, and build a bridge to the kind of world so many of us seek. We’ll do it in the setting of one of the most beautiful and creative small cities in the world, in a lovely theatre, surrounded by fantastic restaurants, places to stay, and the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. We’ll make new friends, see astonishing big screen art, and pick up fuel for the journey of living more whole in uncertain times. 


PLEASE NOTE: This is last year’s schedule. We hope it helps you get an idea of what to expect! We’ll post the 2018 schedule as soon as our details are finalized.

April 27-30, 2017 | Albuquerque, New Mexico

Below is the draft schedule for the 2017 festival! Please note that the schedule may be tweaked and the final version will be available in print at the festival.

Please also note that you don't have to attend every screening, gathering, or activity to get the most out of Movies & Meaning. (Though we'd love to see you all at everything, we know that some folks require more time to rest and reflect.) Give yourself space to choose what you most want to see or participate in, and enjoy the weekend in whatever way works best for you.

At Movies & Meaning, we experience story and light as the building blocks of community, pairing screenings of iconic, overlooked, and new films with special guest appearances, conversations, connecting with one another, and gaining tools for social change.

We believe festivals are experiments in what life can be like at its best—and this year’s program is an invitation to step into hope in the dark.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

3:00 p.m.  |  Doors open for pre-festival screening

3:30 p.m.  |  Pre-festival screening for early arrivers: Pete's Dragon (2016)

One of the most surprising remakes of recent years, as much for adults as kids, Pete's Dragon is a delightful tale of how we use stories to craft a world. Fear is a story; here's a more powerful one.

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.  |  Doors open: get your wristband, settle in!

6:30 p.m.  |  The Festival Opens with the Short Film The Red Balloon (1956)

A Movies & Meaning favorite, the glorious Oscar-winning classic short film about letting go, being loved, and the magic of the everyday.

7:15 p.m.  |  Opening Keynote with Gareth Higgins

Festival founder Gareth Higgins on embracing practices for living well in the current political and cultural moment.

7:45 p.m.  |  I'll Push You (2016)

A portrait of deep friendship and the bonds of love, this brand-new documentary follows two friends and the community that sprung up around them as they travel the Camino de Santiago.

Friday, April 28, 2017

9:00 a.m.  |  Mary and Max (2009)

For everyone who ever felt like an outsider, this overlooked gem is an invitation to new kinds of friendship and finding your gift in the present moment.

10:45 a.m.  |  Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth (2013)

This beautiful documentary reveals the life of our distinguished guest, Alice Walker.

12:15 p.m.  |  Alice Walker in Conversation

We are honored to be joined by Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award recipient, distinguished explorer of the terrain of the soul, activist, and teacher Alice Walker for a conversation about life, beauty, renewing ourselves for the struggle, and finding joy along the way.

1:00 p.m.  |  Lunch Break
+Optional Discussion Groups: a New Way of Meeting in Community

Step outside of the KiMo Theatre and there are lots of wonderful restaurants nearby!

2:30 p.m.  |  Address by Elder Malidoma Somé:
"Healing in Community, Attending to Ancient Wisdom"

3:00 p.m.  |  Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

A journey into the heart of indigenous wisdom, with a touch of Apocalypse Now and Andrei Rublev. A story of traveling along the Amazon, into history, and within the human being, Embrace of the Serpent has been, for some, a mystical experience. On the KiMo Theatre's real silver screen, it will look astonishing. Malidoma will bookend this screening and provide it an extraordinary context.

5:45 p.m.  |  Dinner Break

Want local restaurants serving up a variety of colorful food? You got it!

7:15 p.m.  |  Meditation Circle Led by Alice Walker

8:00 p.m.  |  In Pursuit of Silence (2015)

A film of breathtaking quiet, a gift to the senses.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

9:30 a.m.  |  Reds (1981)

Warren Beatty's masterpiece: one of the great films about building social movements, taking risks, and being fully alive while doing it. An epic with intimate focus. If Doctor Zhivago met the Women’s March, it might look like Reds

1:00 p.m.  |  Lunch Break
+Optional Discussion Groups: Sustainable Activism for the Common Good

Enjoy a variety of restaurants only steps away of the KiMo.

2:30 p.m.  |  Presentation by Brian McLaren & Gareth Higgins:
"The Seventh Story" & Screening of I Am Belfast (2015)

How do we move beyond living narratives that dominate, consume, divide, or destroy? There’s wisdom in the stories humans have been telling for thousands of years, and inspiration from unlikely places. Join writer-activists Brian McLaren and Gareth Higgins for a presentation of new ideas on telling a better story, making a better world.

Including a screening of I Am Belfast: a film of uncommon beauty and wisdom about how to love a place by remembering its misdeeds.

5:30 p.m.  |  Dinner Break

Walk to one of many local restaurants!

7:00 p.m.  |  The Color Purple (1982)
+An "Embodied Screening" Led by Alice Walker and Malidoma Somé

We'll follow this screening with a unique community experience of lament, healing, and inspiration for the times we live in.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

9:30 a.m.  |  Mona Haydar: "What Do We Do Now?"

Syrian-American poet Mona Haydar has an idea of what we can do to come together amid the dehumanizing noise and aggression that seems so loud right now. It’s brilliant. It’s simple. It might change your life. Come and find out how you can take the spirit of life-giving change with you, wherever you may be.

11:30 a.m.  |  Look and See (2017)

What begins as a portrait of beloved writer, teacher, and farmer Wendell Berry slowly expands into a panorama of a community in Henry County, Kentucky. This yet-unreleased film is a meditation on the interdependence of people and the land, people with one another, our lives and the stories of our lives.

 There is currently no trailer—here's a beautiful little still from the film. Click  here  to read more.

There is currently no trailer—here's a beautiful little still from the film. Click here to read more.

1:15 p.m.  |  Festival closes

Tickets are available on a sliding scale!—regular registration is $299.

Your festival pass gets you access to all films, conversations, presentations and special events listed here. What's more, there are local accommodations for all budgets and styles. Learn more here.

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