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. 

FEBRUARY 20-21, 2020

A Special pre-festival creative retreat: Re-Writing Your Life, with acclaimed author Kathleen Norris, Irish storyteller & peace activist Gareth Higgins, and writer Jasmin Pittman Morrell

A rare opportunity... An intimate workshop... A step on the path to a better world... With a small group of fellow travelers, guided by writers, artists, teachers and activists... 

When a caterpillar is in chrysalis, the not-yet-butterfly cells are called imaginal cells. This workshop is an opportunity to spend time with your imaginal self. Transformation requires imagination. Re-writing Your Life is a space in which we imagine a different outcome, a different self, a different world. 

In the presence of fellow travelers, with the leadership of poets, activists, spiritual directors, and distinguished figures in the world of creativity and justice, personal and group transformation, this retreat offers medicine to the soul, tools for change, and a community of hope. Re-writing Your Life is led by Irish storyteller and peace activist Gareth Higgins, with special guest Kathleen Norris, and writer and organizer Jasmin Pittman Morrell.

It is not a performance but a participative event where you’ll have opportunities for self-reflection, small group work, silence and conversation. You don’t need to be an expert in anything - all we ask is an open heart. This workshop is offered alongside the Movies & Meaning Experience, happening the same weekend in downtown Asheville, NC. 

See for more information - you can register on this site for both Re-writing Your Life and Movies & Meaning, or just one of the two events. There is special pricing to register for both events.

Workshop Schedule


7pm: Reception followed by a reading from Kathleen Norris, storytelling from Gareth Higgins, hosted by Jasmin Pittman Morrell


10-11am: Opening Session - How to Change the Story You’re Living In - Finding Shelter and Courage in Anxious Times, with Gareth Higgins

11.15: Choice of Breakout Session with Kathleen Norris, Gareth Higgins, Jasmin Pittman Morrell (repeated in afternoon)

12.30-1.30pm: Lunch

1.30-2.30pm: Choice of Breakout Session with Kathleen Norris, Gareth Higgins, Jasmin Pittman Morrell (repeated from this morning)

2.30-3.30pm: Closing Session - Writing the Next Chapter - with Kathleen Norris, Gareth Higgins, and You.


What is the schedule? A full schedule will be posted soon, but there will be a mix of onstage conversations or talks from our friends including Kathleen Norris, Gareth Higgins, Jasmin Pittman Morrell and others, along with opportunities for individual self-care and group discussion. It will be an informal experience with an emphasis on participation, not just spectating. We invite you to participate in any or all of the sessions as you feel most interested, and also to enjoy the lovely surroundings of the creative and welcoming city of Asheville, set amidst the mountains of Western North Carolina. 

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event? We recommend a minimum age of 16 to participate.   

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event? Parking is widely available nearby.

What should I bring the event? A notebook and writing instrument and an open heart. (You might want to bring comfortable shoes for walking, as there may be an optional walk on one of the campus trails.)   

What's the refund policy? We are unable to offer refunds, but you can transfer your registration to someone else if you are unable to attend. Just contact us and we’ll be happy to arrange it.  

What about lunch & dinner? Lunch & dinner are available for purchase nearby. 

Do you offer scholarships or discount rates for students or anyone else in financial need? Yes - contact us to discuss your needs. We offer volunteer opportunities to help offset the cost of attending.

Can I contribute to the scholarship fund? Yes! And we're grateful if you can do that - click here to contribute. Any amount is welcome, and will be used to help ensure that no one is turned away for financial reasons. Thank you for your support.