Grand Canyon Adventure
National Parks Adventure
The Last Animals
Tibetan Illusion Destroyer
BHUTAN: Taking the Middle Road to Happiness
Malama Ko Aloha
Sea of Life
Last Rush of the Wild West
Gray Wolves of the Southwest
Journey to the seemingly idyllic world of Native Hawaiians, where communities are surrounded by experimental test sites and pesticides sprayed upwind of their neighborhoods. Poisoning Paradise details the ongoing struggle to advance bold new legislation governing the fate of their island home.
In an attempt to diversify an economy that was overly reliant on tourism, policymakers in both Hawaii and Washington, D.C. encouraged the world’s largest biotech companies to utilize Kauai’s favorable climate and fertile soil to test genetically engineered seeds and crops. Corporations including Syngenta, Pioneer DuPont, BASF, and Dow Agrosciences have since applied hundreds of tons of Restricted Use (RU) pesticides on thousands of acres across the Garden Island’s West Side, the traditional homeland of an indigenous and disenfranchised population.
Interviews with local residents, scientists, and healthcare professionals reveal the hardships and ecological dangers of intensive and continuous pesticide applications and the environmental injustice thrust upon people living in one of the most sacred, biologically unique and diverse locations on earth. Award-winning investigative journalist Paul Kolberstein describes Kauai as “one of the most toxic agricultural environments in all of American agriculture.”
As champions of a grassroots movement to make Kauai County Bill 2491 law, local activists battle political corruption, corporate bullying, and systematic concealment by the agrichemical industry.
Although Kauai’s plight might seem like a local issue, this debate is in fact raging around the world as country after country is becoming concerned about pesticides, the future of food, and sustainable farming practices.
GRAND CANYON ADVENTURE: RIVER AT RISK 3D Brings Whitewater Excitement To The Giant IMAX Screen And Calls Attention to Global Water Issues
MacGillivray Freeman Films, producers of the blockbuster giant-screen hit Everest, will make a splash with their new 3D film for IMAX Theatres, Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk 3D, premiering on March 14 in anticipation of World Water Day (March 22). Narrated by Robert Redford, the giant screen film combines exhilarating river-rafting action on America’s most iconic river with the first-ever IMAX 3D images of the Grand Canyon to tell an important story of how ordinary people can make a difference for our parched planet – one that is running out of clean, fresh water so fast that the U.N. estimates that 40% of the world could face life-threatening shortages by the year 2050.
Leading this important river expedition are two environmental heroes: world-renowned river advocate
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and celebrated author/anthropologist/explorer Wade Davis, accompanied by their daughters—Kick Kennedy and Tara Davis—for whom this journey will become a moving rite of passage. They are guided by Shana Watahomigie, a member of the Havasupai tribe and the first Native American to become a National Park Ranger and river guide. A stirring score featuring songs and music from the Grammy Award-winning Dave Matthews Band sets the mood for this adventure that explores the issues, presents real solutions, and delivers an uplifting message of hope for future generations.
National Parks Adventure
Narrated by Academy Award® winner Robert Redford, National Parks Adventure takes audiences on the ultimate off-trail adventure into the nation’s awe-inspiring great outdoors and untamed wilderness. Immersive IMAX® 3D cinematography takes viewers soaring over red rock canyons, hurtling up craggy mountain peaks and into other-worldly realms found within America’s most legendary outdoor playgrounds, including Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier National Park, Redwood National Park, the Everglades and Arches. Celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the national parks with world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker, adventure photographer Max Lowe and artist Rachel Pohl as they hike, climb and explore their way across America’s majestic parks in what is both an action-packed expedition and a souful reflection on what wilderness means to us all.
National Parks Adventure is a MacGillivray Freeman film produced in association with Brand USA and presented globally by Expedia, Inc. and Subaru of America, Inc. with major support provided by the Giant Dome Theater Consortium.
National Parks Adventure was filmed with 15per/65mm IMAX® 3D cameras and is directed by Greg MacGillivray (The Living Sea, Dolphins, Everest) and produced by Shaun MacGillivray (To The Arctic, Humpback Whales). The film is written by Stephen Judson (Everest, To The Arctic) and Tim Cahill (Everest) with a musical score by Steve Wood (Journey to the South Pacific, Humpback Whales).
MacGillivray Freeman Films is the world’s leading independent producer and distributor of giant-screen 70mm films with 38 films for IMAX theatres to its credit. Throughout the company’s 50-year history, its films have won numerous international awards including two Academy Award nominations and three films inducted into the IMAX Hall of Fame. National Parks Adventure follows in the company’s long tradition of films known for their artistry and celebration of the natural world.
Tibetan Illusion Destroyer
Narrated by: Richard Gere
Written and Directed by: Richard Kohn
Produced by: Franz-Christophe Giercke and Barbara Becker
Filmed: on location in Nepal
What the Critics have to say:
“Jewel of a documentary.” –Boston Globe
“Pulsating with color, movement, music and…faith.” –San Francisco Chronicle
Unprecedented access and intimate knowledge inform this richly detailed and beautifully filmed portrait of a secret Tibetan Buddhist ritual, the Mani Rimdu festival, and the remarkable spiritual teacher, Trulshik Rinpoche, who leads and preserves this centuries-old tradition.
Richard Gere narrates with the clarity and resonant depth of an insider. This is a very special chance to witness a private sacred realm as if you were there.
Just as coronation transforms ordinary men into kings, tantric empowerment transforms men into Buddhas. Hundreds of initiates gather once a year at Thubten Chöling Monastery to learn to become Garwang Tojay-chenpo, Lord of the Dance. He is called this because his infinite creativity is symbolized by dance. He personifies the compassion of all the Buddhas.
“If your mind is pure, everyone is a Buddha.
If your mind is impure, everyone is ordinary.” –Trulshik Rinpoche XI
Lord of the Dance is the deity of Mani-Rimdu, the major sacred festival of the Everest region. Each autumn, Trulshik Rinpoche, the spiritual leader of the region, goes from his home in Thubten Chöling to Chiwong Monastery to preside over the festival. His name means “destroyer of illusion.” In Destroyer of Illusion we meet the men who undertake these tasks. We see the world through their eyes—a world where the mountains are filled with gods, and a human being’s potential is limited only by his imagination and his will.
THE LAST ANIMALS
About the Film
Conflict photographer Kate Brooks turns her lens from the war zones she is used to covering to a new kind of genocide- the killing of African Elephants and Rhinos- in this sweeping and sobering expose of an underreported crisis. As the single-digit population of Northern White Rhinoceros ticks closer to zero, Brooks outlines the myriad factors contributing to the current epidemic of highly effective poaching and trafficking syndicates, drawing startling connections between the illegal wildlife trade and international terrorism and border security. But all is not yet lost- at the same time, Brooks documents the heroic efforts of conservationists, park rangers, and scientists to protect these animals on the verge of extinction in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. The result is a potent plea for worldwide attention and action to combat the permanent loss of these majestic creatures.
– DEBORAH RUDOLPH
The Last Animals follows the conservationists, scientists and activists battling poachers and criminal networks to save elephants and rhinos from the edge of extinction.
The Last Animals is a story about an extraordinary group of people who go to incredible lengths to save the planet’s last animals. The documentary follows the conservationists, scientists and activists battling poachers and transnational trafficking syndicates to protect elephants and rhinos from extinction. From Africa’s front lines to behind the scenes of Asian markets to the United States, the film takes an intense look at the global response to this slaughter and the desperate measures to genetically rescue the Northern White rhinos who are on the edge of extinction.
For three years, war photographer and first-time director Kate Brooks documented the plight of the Northern White Rhinoceros in the midst of a global wildlife trafficking crisis. When she started filming, there were just seven left in the world. Today there are only three.
The Northern White Rhino’s last wild population was poached out of existence a decade ago at Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Garamba is now ground zero for one of the last viable elephant populations in central Africa. Poachers and park rangers are at war due to the ivory trade.
The film looks at the industrial scale illegal wildlife trade from a global perspective, from Africa to the Far East and the United States. Despite international trade bans, the contraband is openly sold and easy to find in both legal and unregulated domestic markets.
Meanwhile, scientists across the globe use cutting-edge technology to apprehend criminals and save threatened species. In Europe and San Diego, geneticists race to reproduce the Northern Whites using IVF and stem cell technology. In Seattle, a forensic expert uses DNA-testing to trace seized ivory back to the killing fields and the criminal networks behind the trade. And in Kenya, an ivory kingpin is finally put on trial—but will he be brought to justice?
The Last Animals is a sweeping and sobering film about an extraordinary group of people who go to incredible lengths to save the last animals. The film reveals the tentacles of this illicit and nefarious business, which despite its devastating impact, often seems as elusive as a ghost.
Sea of Life
Sea of Life has won awards at Cinema Verde, Ekotopfilm/Envirofilm, WaterDocs, Impact Docs, Cayfilm, AM Film Festival, Forest City Film Festival, Earth Talks, and Environmental Film Festival Albania.
Believing that people will change the world once they know what it happening Julia Barnes, at 16 years old, bought a camera and set off to make a documentary to raise awareness about the biggest threat facing our planet and inspire audiences to turn things around. Julia is the director, editor, cinematographer, writer and producer of Sea of Life.
Gray Wolves of the Southwest
In the American Southwest, a unique species of wolf unlike any other is making a comeback. Considered extinct nearly 40 years ago, the little known Mexican gray wolf has slowly pulled back from the very brink — against all odds. From a founding population of just seven animals, this species has slowly grown to a current wild population of approximately 100, only to face a new threat from within: its own genetics. As part of a bold recovery mission, one lone wolf is given a chance to offer new hope for the survival of her species. In telling this story, narrated by Chris Morgan, “Gray Area” explores whether there can be a balanced and sustainable future where ranchers, conservationists, locals, and biologists alike can coexist with this apex predator.
BHUTAN: Taking the Middle Road to Happiness
Imagine a country where happiness is the guiding principal of government. Imagine a people who see all life as sacred and the source of their happiness, a place with an abundance of clean and renewable energy, a nation committed to preserving its culture. Imagine a Kingdom where the King lives in a simple wooden cottage and judges his progress by the country’s “Gross National Happiness.” Where is this Shangri-La?
Bhutan. But can a place like Bhutan really exist? Can such ideals be realized? Can this small, geographically isolated country tucked away in the Himalayans truly protect its environment and culture as they open their doors to the West?”
The idea for shooting the documentary started over two years ago when filmmaker Tom Vendetti wrote a letter and proposal to the Royal Government of Bhutan asking if he could make a documentary about the country.
“I was always fascinated by Bhutan,” says Tom Vendetti. “When I was in Nepal in 1983, there was a buzz about this beautiful and isolated country called Bhutan but at that time is was not only expensive to get into the country but very few numbers of outsiders were permitted entry to visit. Many years later when I went to an exhibit of John Wehrheim’s captivating photography of Bhutan at the East-West Center on O’ahu, my interest was rekindled to learn more about this mysterious and intriguing land.”
To his amazement and joy, Tom received a fax six months later. “Your proposal has been accepted by the Bhutan government. When will you and your crew be coming to Bhutan?” With introductions and travel arrangements made by Thinley Choden of Bhutan Tours and Travels, Tom was initially given permission to document the country’s production of clean and sustainable energy with run of the river hydroelectric plants. As the proposal developed it became clear that there was a bigger story to be told, the concept of “Gross National Happiness”. With this in mind, Tom submitted a list of questions to the government that explored “Gross National Happiness” The questions were approved and interviews with the Prime Minister and other government officials scheduled. Some of the questions were political in nature, exploring Bhutan’s readiness to cautiously open its doors to the West.
After the documentary was given approval by the Kingdom of Bhutan, Tom Vendetti consulted extensively with Bhutan’s cultural experts to present Bhutan in an authentic, culturally appropriate manner, and to explore the four pillars or platforms of “Gross National Happiness” proposed by the government: (1) Economic development, (2) Environmental preservation, (3) Cultural promotion, and (4) Good governance.
“As a psychologist, I was fascinated by the concept of ‘Gross National Happiness,’ and I wanted to film in Bhutan because I thought their model to promote happiness could be one for the whole world to follow,” reflects Tom Vendetti. “I also thought it could be a great opportunity to have this message air here in the USA to make more people aware of Bhutan and its dedication to make its people happy.”
Tom immediately called his production crew to accompany him to Bhutan to document this remarkable country: Composers and musicians Paul Horn and Christopher Hedge, photographer John Wehrheim, Bob Stone (who previously edited a number of his documentaries) and Scott Dewar.
He and his crew filmed in Bhutan during the months of October and November, 2004, also filming a concert performed by Paul Horn, Christopher Hedge and Bhutanese musician Jigme Drukpa held on November 11,2004 in honor of the King and his birthday, the Royal Family and people of Bhutan. With over 60 hours of footage shot and stock footage presented to him by the Bhutan Broadcasting System, Tom Venedtti and his group returned to Maui to begin the post-production on the film.
“It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime and inspiring experience,” reflects Tom Vendetti. We were amazed at the joy and optimism of the people and the overwhelming support for their government and its ideals.”
The diverse people that comprise the country of Bhutan, a people never colonized or conquered, are united in a shared vision – a vision that the world is impermanent, fragile yet impenetrable, and that the sacred spirits living in all forms of life are the true source of the world’s wealth.
“Most Bhutanese are Buddhists, regard nature as a living, breathing entity and hold it precious and sacred,” he continues. Damaging nature, therefore, has its consequences. Because of their belief system, they have a very high regard and respect for the land and their environment.” Representative of this for him was their creation of hydroelectric plants in Bhutan. With loans from the government of India, Bhutan has built several mammoth underground hydroelectric plant. The Bhutanese pay less for electricity than any other nation in the world and produce so much power that most of this energy is exported to India financing the bulk of the government’s budget and providing free health care and education to every Bhutanese. All this achieved with run of the river hydro plants, sustainable energy without massive dams, deforestation or displacement of people.
“And what also struck me was the intelligence of the nation’s future, its young people, who are grounded in the Buddhists concepts of living a good, healthy and grounded life – taking the middle path,” he continues.
The concept of taking “the middle road” is one rooted in the Bhutanese view of the world, anchored in Tantric Buddhism and animistic Bon that sees nature as living mysticism. The natural world, mapped in their minds with deities, divinities and spirits, is a living system inseparable from themselves and not a disconnected resource to be plundered for unsustainable consumer goods.
The Buddha shared a simple message: happiness lies in the middle path. Neither overindulging in the world’s pleasures nor rejecting the world’s goodness can lead to enlightenment. Happiness can only be found by taking the middle path – the path that balances the needs of mankind with the powerful spirits of nature.
While Tom and his crew were in Bhutan the government was working towards a transition from kingdom to democracy having looked at over 50 constitutions of democracies around the world, extracting the best of all these constitutions for Bhutan.”
“It’s a lesson for all of us to learn and to model ourselves after,” concludes Tom Vendetti.
Keola Beamer: Mālama Ko Aloha (Keep Your Love)
“The idea of aloha is Hawaii’s greatest gift to the world. But a lot of people don’t know what it is, or how to find it, or how to discover it in our own hearts.” These words, spoken by legendary Hawaiian composer and musician Keola Beamer, provide insight to the multi-cultural musical collaboration featured in the PBS Hawaii production Keola Beamer: Mālama Ko Aloha (Keep Your Love).
Based upon Beamer’s belief that musicians from different backgrounds can remain true to their own cultural heritage while learning and incorporating ideas from others, Mālama Ko Aloha features inspiring and unique musical performances by Beamer and a brilliant ensemble of musicians including Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai and American jazz pianist virtuoso Geoffrey Keezer.
Last Rush of the Wild
About the Film:
Last Rush for the Wild West exposes how impending tar sands and oil shale strip mining would destroy massive, pristine landscapes in Utah and devastate the already imperiled Colorado River watershed. The foreign corporation behind America’s very first tar sands strip mine is gearing up and claiming they will begin to produce fuel in early 2017.
This strip mining would jeopardize drinking water quality and quantity for thirty-six million people downstream. It would increase air pollution in Salt Lake City, where air quality is already the worst in the Nation. It would accelerate climate change. The risks to humanity are staggering.
Yet the State of Utah approved America’s precedent setting commercial tar sands strip mine at PR Spring despite catastrophic impacts to human health caused by tar sands strip mining in Alberta, Canada.
This film asserts the risks are not worth it, while refuting claims that tar sands and oil shale strip mining would create better economic conditions and lead our nation toward energy independence. American taxpayers are subsidizing the foreign corporation pursuing the project, with 85 million dollars, mostly public funds, already spent to construct the road to the site. And there is no indication this product would be used in the United States.
Last Rush for the Wild West highlights a resolute contingent of local Utah citizens, and wise indigenous leaders from tar sands impacted communities Canada, as they encourage American taxpayers and voters to stand up with them and reject this impending disaster. Last Rush for the Wild West addresses one of the most under-reported and critical environmental issues of our time. It presents Americans with a rare opportunity to activate before it’s too late!
BEYOND CRISIS is a story of hope for a rapidly changing world: a meditative call to action that explores what it means to be living in this new era of climate change, as told by over fifty diverse voices from across Canada, the U.S. and beyond.
The film is also a unique conversation piece: a grassroots model for what a healthy conversation on climate could look like, inspiring YOU to take the next steps in discussing these issues with your friends, community and loved ones.
The reality of climate change may be frightening, but there is good news. Diving into the dramatic climate and energy story unfolding all around us today, this film paints an inspiring vision of the better world we could be building together – if we find the courage to face our shared global crisis, saying YES to a far safer, more sustainable and more compassionate clean energy future.
Beyond Crisis is a story of truth that bridges both poetry and science, intellect and the human heart – a beacon of hope to all people who are searching for an inspiring path beyond climate change, and a future we can actually believe in.A hand-crafted portrait of a growing social movement united by our shared crisis, this film empowers YOU to continue the world’s tough climate discussions at home, in school and in your community – to build a #SafeClimateFuture for all of us.
Watch, get inspired and start a conversation on climate!
Dalai Lama & Happiness
Shot From Above
Dalai Lama & China
Global Population Speak Out
Rooted in Love
Agua Es Vida
Dalai Lama & Happiness
This film by Maui filmmaker Tom Vendetti documents the Mani Rimdu Festival in Nepal, which originated in Tibet and is still performed in an authentic colorful ceremony in the shadow of Mount Everest. The title refers to the Buddhist concept of destroying man-made illusions that lead to human suffering. Vendetti and renowned Hawaiian musician Keola Beamer were part of a Hawai‘i contingent that journeyed to Nepal to attend the festival. Beamer worked with musicians in Nepal to create the film’s original music.
Shot From Above
I have always been fascinated by flight. For as long as I can remember, I have watched the birds in wonder. What does it feel like to fly through the air? What does our planet look like from up there? I had vivid dreams at night where I would suddenly realize I was dreaming and take flight, soaring above magnificent landscapes and feeling elation at the freedom to fly anywhere I wanted.
In 1999, I had brush with death while skiing at Taos Ski Valley, in New Mexico. I was pushed off of a cliff by a small avalanche and I thought my life was over. As I slowly recovered, I re-evaluated my life. The biggest thing I came away with was that I wanted to live more fully and follow my wildest dreams. I now see that our time here is so brief and precious.
I finally decided to learn to fly. I knew I wanted to be in an open aircraft so I could truly experience and connect with the world around me as fully as possible.
I was most drawn to the weight shift or hang glider wing, and once I got to fly one I knew this was it—my dream flying machine!
I started to experience the world in a completely new way and naturally I wanted to share what I was seeing. Photography became the obvious thing to pursue, and my creative side came to life.
In our modern culture we have been conditioned to think and live in a very disconnected manner. Many of us don’t know where our food comes from, or what it takes to have clean water to drink. We don’t fully comprehend what it takes to bring these basic necessities of life to us. The world is divided up into properties, states and countries with borders, and people are separated by political stance, religion, and economic status, not to mention race and gender.
Through many years of seeing the world from above, my perceptions have changed. I’ve begun to see a great interconnectedness of all things, from huge air masses and weather systems to giant ecosystems that all interact with and need each other to sustain life as we know it on earth.
I feel now it is the time for us to begin to reconnect with each other and our environment and all life forms that inhabit this planet with us if we are to survive, and if our children and future generations are to survive and thrive on this exquisite planet.
With these images of our world I hope to impart this sense of wonder and beauty and interconnectedness that is vital to what we all truly want: a peaceful, abundant and joyful existence where we can all reach our fullest potential as people of the earth together. Enjoy!