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This feature-length film will explore the human impulse to create, concentrate and discover the mystery of self. Read more

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$6,550
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on May 28, 2012.

This feature-length film will explore the human impulse to create, concentrate and discover the mystery of self.

Recent updates

Patiently, Persistently

Hi Everyone,

It's been a while since the last update, so I just want to let you know what I've been filming recently and what my plans are.

I just finished filming/interviewing folks down at the Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City. It was a great experience! One of the participants (Alfred Rordame) practices Yoga, and our interview session explored the necessity of focus as applied to violin building. He spoke very well about the subtleties that demand hours of work in order to refine. I think this film is very much going to be about "work". You could say, how humans benefit from putting work into things ("work" here meaning nothing but concentrated mental effort).

I also just did some filming with a juggler named Mather, who does amazing stuff! I brought my gear down to the farmers market and found him juggling for money. It blew me away what he was able to do (up to 9 balls at once, for example). You could see the concentration very clearly...

There are many insightful people slowly becoming a part of this film. The main challenge for me is to be patient in allowing production to manifest. It can be understandably difficult to convince working adults with kids to be a part of this. I find that the key is gentle persistence, as with learning anything.

Here are some examples of sequences in planning: an avalanche survivor, an OBGYN doctor, a saxophone player, a piano teacher, a Vipassana meditator and a Yoga instructor. Additionally I am filming random people in the streets (mainly when they aren't aware), taking street photos and I'm about to start editing the rough cut as I go along!

I'd like to thank everyone for being patient, especially with these long stretches in between updates. There are some production stills below - enjoy!

Conor

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Set Backs & Strong Determination

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to update you on what's happening with the film, and thank you again for donating and helping me kick-start this project. It has honestly been so helpful to me.

Unfortunately my camera gear and audio recorder were stolen from my car while I was visiting a friend/participant in Portland recently. We were going to shoot an interview that day, went for a walk, and came back to find that my car had been broken into. I felt responsible, frustrated, and shocked, although I tried to remain equanimous with the sensations. It served as a reminder not to react when things don't go our way - which is bound to happen again and again in life. Since we have no control over external circumstances, the only thing we can do is control our reactions to them.

Moving forward, I am revising a grant with the San Francisco Film Society, and hoping to get accepted into their Fiscal Sponsorship Program. This would assist me in writing a strong grant proposal, and from there I could expand the project overall (rent equipment and studio space, pay additional staff, etc). Whether or not I get accepted into this program, the film is on its way. I ask for your patience in its manifestation.

Thank you kindly for believing in this project.

Yours,

Conor Provenzano

The Beginning of "Serpent Fire"

Hi Everyone!

It's been months since I've updated you all on the progress of the movie, which is getting off the ground slowly but surely. So, what's happening with "The Serpent Fire"?

I just returned from a road trip to Montabello, Quebec - which is almost a week from Salt Lake City by car. In a little town called Montabello, tucked away in the hills, I took a ten day silent meditation course. This was to further my understanding of concentration and meditation at the experiential level. Call it research for the film. During the ten days we could not speak, look anyone in the eyes (except the teacher when asking a question), and we sat in meditation for up to 10 hours a day. It was an intense, valuable experience in which I was to taste just a tiny drop of the mind made concentrated by continuous, gentle, persistent effort in the techniques of Anapana and Vipassana.

After the course I shot my first interview with a very beautiful person - a French man named Pierre-Henri Munier. He was there attending the course and I new I wanted to shoot an interview with him because we had talked before the course began.  He emanated a sincere calmness of mind, and his gaze was very gentle and compassionate.  He seemed very happy.  His walk was slow and secure.  I thought - this is what concentration of mind looks like!  During the course, when I was exhausted from sitting in long hours of meditation, he would always be there - sitting still.  This inspired me to keep working persistently.  After the course I inquired about his experience, then told him about the documentary and asked him if he would like to participate. He agreed. I shot him walking along a serene path in the forrest, then we did a 30 minute audio interview on the themes of "The Serpent Fire". Strangely, the footage looked exactly how I viewed it in my head while I took daily walks in the trees, and what he contributed to the interview was also very valuable. He told me he had taken 4 courses in Vipassana (which is not for the faint of heart, I promise) and it showed.

Driving through Quebec and across the United States I got some valuable footage of people, went to museums and shot sculptures which will add rich imagery for layering in post-production, and also took plenty of 35mm photos for the film. In Quebec the photos I shot were mainly Christian themed: striking cathedrals, grave sites, monuments, and the like. These images and the composition within the frame reminded me of the harmonious quality of Christ-like people - that is, people who have tamed their mind and established real equanimity. These images of Christ reminded me of Pierre-Henri, I guess because he struck me as such a saintly person.

So, after getting returning to Utah and getting established with a new living situation, a new day-job, and clearing some additional work out of the way - my mind is restlessly thinking about "The Serpent Fire" day and night. Day and night...

I am very anxious to start doing more interviews with interesting people, shooting rich imagery for abstract visuals and recording conversations (to be used in the film). I will update you in the next few months with more stories and information on the progress of the film. For now, enjoy these screen-shots from what I have been working on so far.

Thank you all so much!!!

Conor Provenzano

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Thank You

I would like to thank every one of you who supported this film by donating - it really warms my heart to know that people are even interested in what we are trying to create here. To me, the success of this fundraiser proves that there are some people who want to see films about concsiousness, art, spirituality, mind and human developement. I hope that one day this audience grows into a vast crowd. I believe that we need, perhaps now more than ever before, a cinema that remembers its due role in exploring the innermost depths of the human being. That means looking closely at the state of the mind - never attempting to thwart or hide what we see when we observe it, and to somehow portray what is witnessed. It is my personal goal to use film as a medium to explore the divince in a way that is artistic, beautiful, uplifting, sincere, effective, powerful and provocative. There should be absolutely no reason why these standards can not be met. Thank you kindly - I promise to fullfill your rewards - although it is likely to take a few years before the film is completed. I tend to spend a lot of hours concentrating on a film project. Soon we will have a website that will provide updates on the progress of the film, documentation, commentary and many other things. I am very excited to begin immediately. Conor Provenzano

Our Final Push

Hello,

Tomorrow, Monday 05/28, is the deadline for this project.  I am extremely grateful for all the love and support this Kickstarter has received from friends, family and people who I do not personally know.

Please share this project if you haven't already!  Now is the most crucial time and we've raised a significant amount of donations already.

I truly believe the world will benefit greatly from films that explore the mind in depth.  This is one way in which we can learn more about ourselves and inspire each other to do great things!

Thank you,

Conor Provenzano

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