International Buddhist Film Festival Showcase 2010

Presented by Buddhist Film Foundation and California Film Institute Presenting premieres and rarities, along with special guests, this weeklong festival highlights the global diversity of Buddhist culture and experience, and offers a singular opportunity to catch some rare gems of filmmaking.

Berkeley-based Buddhist Film Foundation is the world's leading resource for Buddhist-themed and Buddhist-inspired cinema, serving audiences, educators and filmmakers. For more information visit

Ticket prices for each program: $12 general, $10 seniors, $8 CFI members.

Please note that Rafael passes and matinee prices are not applicable for these programs.

I Am
In Person: Marc Ian Barasch and Filmmaker Tom Shadyac
Thursday, December 2, 7:30

Erstwhile comedy director Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Bruce Almighty) documents his personal journey to understand compassion and meaning after a life-changing accident. Marc Ian Barasch, author of Field Notes on the Compassionate Life, is featured in the film. Film 78 min. plus discussion. SNEAK PREVIEW

Seeing Searching Being
Friday, December 3, 6:30

Director Ken Burns collaborated on this unique trilogy of short films with William Segal- philosopher, publisher, writer and painter- who was a student of G.I. Gurdjieff and D.T. Suzuki and a close friend of Paul Reps (Zen Flesh, Zen Bones). 73 min. WEST COAST PREMIERE

In Person: Filmmaker Gesar Mukpo
Friday, December 3, 8:15

In Tibetan Buddhist tradition, a tulku is a new incarnation of a deceased master. Director Gesar Mukpo, a son of the renowned Tibetan lama Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (himself a tulku), was born in the US and was identified as the tulku of a famous lama of the 19th century. Here he tells his own life story and explores what it might mean to be considered a tulku. 76 min. plus discussion. WEST COAST PREMIERE

Monkey King at Spider Cave / Walking with Kukai / Alms
In Person: Filmmakers Larry Reed & Edward Burger
Saturday, December 4, 2:00
Larry Reed's
Monkey King at Spider Cave (WORLD PREMIERE) is an innovative work of shadow theater, depicting a Buddhist priest and his animal disciples in their quest to bring scriptures to China. Patrick van Boeckel's Walking with Kukai (US PREMIERE) follows a centuries-old tradition, the 1,100-kilometer pilgrimage through 88 temples of the Shingon school of Buddhism on Japan's Shikoku Island. Edward Burger's Alms (WORLD PREMIERE) is a cinematic visit to a remote mountain Chan (Zen) Buddhist monastery in southern China, guided by the community's Head Cook. Films approximately 101 min. plus discussion.

Brilliant Moon &
The Devotion of Matthieu Ricard

Saturday, December 4, 4:45

In Brilliant Moon (BAY AREA PREMIERE), narrated by Richard Gere and Lou Reed, director Neten Chokling (Milarepa) skillfully mixes animation and location filming to profile the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, considered one of the great Tibetan Buddhist masters of the 20th century. George Schouten and Babeth M. VanLoo's The Devotion of Matthieu Ricard (US PREMIERE) is an intimate portrait of the Frenchman who is a Tibetan Buddhist monk, bestselling author, photographer, translator for the Dalai Lama and researcher on the effects of meditation on the brain. Films approximately 123 min.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
In Person: Wes "Scoop" Nisker
Saturday, December 4, 7:30

Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's strange and dreamlike drama woven around the recollections of an old man has deep roots in Thai popular culture and the human unconscious. Beautifully performed, this haunting film immerses us in the confusion, wonder and curiosity of a spiritual seeker. In Thai with English subtitles. 114 min. plus introduction by author and meditation teacher Wes "Scoop" Nisker. WEST COAST PREMIERE

Sky Dancer &
In the Shadow of the Buddha
In Person: Filmmaker Heather Kessinger
Sunday, December 5, 2:00
Jody Kemmerer
's Sky Dancer (WEST COAST PREMIERE) is a portrait of Kunzang Wangmo, matriarch and spiritual leader of a remote area on the Tibetan plateau, who is honored with the title Khandroma (sky dancer), the female embodiment of enlightened energy. Heather Kessinger's In the Shadow of the Buddha (WEST COAST PREMIERE) takes us to the seldom seen world of Tibetan Buddhist nuns in northern India and explores the paradox that being a woman within Tibetan Buddhism represents. Films approximately 92 min. plus discussion.

Bodhisattva preceded by
Arising Light: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and the Birth of a New Era in India
In Person: Filmmaker Mark Elliott and Activist Alan Senauke
Sunday, December 5, 4:30
Mark Elliott's
Bodhisattva (US PREMIERE) is a portrait of the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, widely seen as a likely Tibetan Buddhist leader in the event of the retirement or death of the 14th Dalai Lama. Bodhissatva interweaves footage shot on his historic tour of the US, with background footage of his childhood in Tibet, sequences in Dharamsala, India, and rare archival footage of the previous, Sixteenth, Karmapa. Filmmaker David Blundell profiles Dr. Ambedkar, one of the founding fathers of independent India, who was a Hindu dalit ("untouchable") and in 1956 led hundreds of thousands of other dalits in a public mass conversion to Buddhism in India. Films 86 min. plus discussion. BAY AREA PREMIERE

Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie
In Person: Wavy Gravy & Filmmaker Michelle Esrick
Sunday, December 5, 7:00
Michelle Esrick
's joyful portrait of countercultural icon and humanitarian Wavy Gravy journeys from the hills of California to the Himalayan mountains. Once described by Paul Krassner as the "illegitimate son of Harpo Marx and Mother Theresa," Wavy is an inspiration that we can change the world and have fun doing it. With appearances by The Grateful Dead, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. Larry Brilliant, Ram Dass, Jackson Browne, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Patch Adams, Odetta and many more! 86 min. plus discussion.

Shugendo Now
In Person: Filmmakers Mark Patrick McGuire & Jean-Marc Abela
Monday, December 6, 7:00

Shugendo is a blend of Shinto, Daoism and Buddhism. Followers practice arduous rituals in mountain wildernesses and are committed to protecting the natural environment. This film is a poetic journey into a rarely seen world between the developed and the wild, between the present and the infinite. 91 min. plus discussion. US PREMIERE

Silent Holy Stones
Tuesday, December 7, 7:00

The feature directorial debut of Pema Tseden, a Tibetan graduate of the Beijing Film Academy, this intimate look at life in a Tibetan village (the filmmaker's own) follows a young lama assigned as attendant to a seven-year-old "Living Buddha" of a mountain monastery. 102 min.

The Buddha
In Person: Jane Hirshfield and Filmmaker David Grubin
Wednesday, December 8, 7:00

Narrated by Richard Gere, this ambitious and imaginative telling of the story of Buddha by veteran documentary filmmaker David Grubin uses contemporary voices, including poets Jane Hirshfield and W.S. Merwin and Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman, as well as animation to explore the life and meaning of the prince who became a great spiritual teacher. 112 min. plus discussion.

In Person: Kaz Tanahashi / Invited Guest: Peter Coyote
Thursday, December 9, 7:00

Impressively filmed on Japanese locations, director Banmei Takahashi's Zen is a poignant, reverent and moving drama about Dogen, the 13th century Japanese Buddhist master who studied in China and established a monastic practice that emphasizes sitting meditation. He is regarded as the founder of the Soto school of Zen. The screening will be introduced and discussed by Kaz Tanahashi, artist and translator of The True Dharma Eye, the Shobo Genzo of Dogen. 127 min. plus discussion. BAY AREA PREMIERE

Playing at the Rafael Film Center
Dec 5 2010
Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
1118 Fourth Street, San Rafael CA 94901
T 415 454 1222 E