Across The King's RiverThe Vision
There are moments when we must ask ourselves, “Who am I? Why am I here?” Times when we feel driven to seek and to fulfill our life’s purpose.
Across The King’s River is a feature length, documentary that follows writer James Weeks and his law student daughter, Tulani, on such a journey of wisdom and healing in African spiritual traditions.
But following one's calling comes with a price.
For James, that meant leaving the security of a corporate job behind and surrendering to the guidance of the ancestors and Ifa.
James is a conflicted man; he's a spiritual counselor, an Ifa diviner struggling to balance the expectations and the worldview of his elders in Africa with the realities of everyday life in the West.
Meanwhile, Tulani, a professional dancer, is waging a battle of her own. She's on the verge of becoming an attorney but wonders how she can affect change and advocate for clients while working within the confines of laws designed to protect some but not others.
After traveling to St. Croix and Puerto Rico to receive support from their ancestors, James and Tulani head to Nigeria and Senegal to work with masters of the Ifa tradition and other healers who help align them with their destinies.
According to African spiritual traditions, all of us chose our own destinies before we were even born. But how do we honor these choices when faced with confusion, distractions, and adversity?
In essence, Across the King’s River is about overcoming obstacles and finding your light again.
The heroes of this film are the African healers and diviners that befriend father and daughter and take them under their wing. These extraordinary souls are engaged in a relentless battle to keep their rich, ancient traditions alive despite overwhelming odds.
These elders have a role to play in the healing of the earth and the healing of our hearts...
And now, with your help, we can bring their powerful medicine and messages forward.
Our goal in this campaign is to raise at least $45,000 or more to keep us going until our investors raise the rest of the money needed for this film.
During the last few years we've been working on this project - a few of our elders have passed and we can lo longer sit and wait for conventional film funding because it takes too long.
For six long years we have been striving to make this happen.
That is why we're reaching out to our international fan base for support...
The film we envision is elixir for the soul - a masterpiece of cinematic magic on the way from the Spirit World.
Help us bring it here!
To be directed by Emmy-Award winning filmmaker, Stanley Nelson...
And featuring the exquisite, sacred music of legendary Cuban composer, Omar Sosa, this film also weaves together poignant interviews with scholars, scientists and doctors who reveal intriguing, sometimes surprising links between African spiritual traditions and science.
Across the King’s River will capture hearts and minds by drawing viewers into an intimate and riveting story that will have a significant impact on the way we see our world.
All praises to the ancestors and to the four corners of the earth - a powerful vision is here!
Why This Film and Why Now?
Given the tension and rising sense of global crisis and gloom that pervades our world every day, there has never been a time when we have needed upliftment and the healing wisdom of our ancestors more urgently than we do right now.
We need your help to preserve the voices and knowledge of our elders before they are lost forever.
Many indigenous cultures are eroding and vanishing altogether - this is a global trend. Even though Ifa, for example, is a rapidly growing philosophy with more than 100 million practitioners and believers worldwide, many of the elders who preserve and transmit these ancient traditions in their purest form are dying off.
"The legacy of many generations of knowledge is dying out in a single generation with the passing of the great Ifa diviners. This documentary is critically important and is sure to receive critical acclaim," says Dr. Robert Voeks, PhD, author, Sacred Leaves of Candomble.
Across the King’s River provides a rare glimpse into the lives of an elite team of healers and diviners from two cultures: The Yorubas of Southwest Nigeria and the Lebu people of Senegal.
In Nigeria, we meet Aseda, one of the 16 major Ifa diviners in the world and his team. In Senegal we visit some of the disciples of the late, great healer Madam Fatou-Seck.
What This Film Will Do For You
Our mission is not only to uplift, educate and entertain, our deepest prayer is that the spirit of this film will bring healing to you while inspiring you to walk in harmony with your visions.
Scholars and Visionaries
In addition to exploring themes of healing, purpose and spirituality, this film also reveals the provocative story of how the roots of computer technology can be traced back to the binary code used in African divination systems.
Some brief bios of the world-class visionaries and scholars participating in this project:
Dr Marta Moreno Vega: President and founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute. She is the author of The Altar of My Soul: The Living Traditions of Santeria. Her films include: When the Spirits Dance Mambo and Let The Spirit Move You.
Malidoma Somé: A leading voice on African spirituality in the West, Malidoma is the author of the best-sellers, Of Water and The Spirit, The Healing Wisdom of Africa, and Ritual: Power, Healing and Community. He is an initiated elder of the Dagara people of West Africa.
Charles Finch, M.D: An emergency room physician and an authority on African history and healing systems. Dr. Finch is the author of Star of Deep Beginning: Genesis of African Science and Technology and The African Background to Medical Science.
Dave Cumes, M.D: Surgeon and an initiated sangoma (healer in the Southern African traditional medicine field). He is committed to bridging Western medicine and African healing traditions. Dr. Cumes is the author of Africa In My Bones and The Spirit of Healing.
Christopher Sangodare Brown: A mathematician, Ifa priest, and scholar of comparative religion currently living in Cairo, Egypt. His life’s quest is to bridge the gap between science and spirituality.
Ron Eglash, PhD, is a professor of science and technology at Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute. Author of African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design, Dr. Eglash is widely known in the field of ethno-mathematics.
“Most of the world is unaware of the African contribution to Western mathematics and digital computing. This film will shed light on an important legacy that has remained invisible for too long,” he says.
Chief Oluwo Obafemi Fayemi: is a priest of Ifa, lecturer and author, based in Houston, Texas. He is the author of Who Is Sambo: A Journey of Lessons.
Chelsea Strayer: A biological and cultural anthropology PhD candidate at Boston University; she is studying the evolution and elicitation of placebo effects in indigenous ritual healing ceremonies.
Our Stellar Production Team
Director: Stanley Nelson is an Emmy winning filmmaker and co-founder and Executive Director of Firelight Media. His latest films include Freedom Riders and Wounded Knee. The MacArthur Foundation has described Nelson as a documentary filmmaker with a “signature style and a distinctive cinematic voice.”
Composer: Omar Sosa is a Grammy-nominated composer, producer, arranger, pianist, percussionist and bandleader. He is one of the most versatile jazz-artists on the scene today. Omar Sosa collaborated on the soundtrack for the PBS documentary, The Judge and the General; and completed the soundtrack for the 2010 film, The Last Flight of the Flamingo. Sosa also contributed a musical excerpt to the 2006 Andy Garcia film,The Lost City.
Director of Photography: Producer/Director Tupac Mauricio Saavedra is a cinematographer, journalist and documentary filmmaker who splits his time between his home in Bolivia and the United States. In 2004 he completed Bolivian Baroque, a 42-minute documentary that aired on European and Bolivian television. His other short documentaries include On The Road With Evo and Prince of the Andes.
Editor/Story Consultant: Karen Everett directed I Shall Not Be Removed: The Life of Marlon Riggs (PBS). A documentary editor and film story specialist, Karen Everett brings two decades of editing experience and a deep understanding of narrative structure to the editing room. She has consulted on several award-winning films for television, theatrical screenings and educational distribution, and cites making transformational documentaries as her greatest joy.
Story Consultant: Keisha-Gaye Anderson: is a writer, producer and editor with nearly 20 years of experience. In addition to working for CBS News Production, Keisha was post-production producer for Flag Wars (Pearl Films) and associate producer for Now With Bill Moyers (PBS).
Story Consultant: David Lawrence Grant is a Twin Cities Minnesota-based screenwriter and playwright. As a screenwriter, he has written drama for Twin Cities Public Television, Russell Simmons’ Def Pictures, HBO New York, Davis Entertainment, and the Showtime Network.
A special thanks to filmmakers Kingsley Irons and Bryan Koch for the footage of Tulani dancing, from their film short, Ebb and Flow, Dances Made to Order. And a very heartfelt thanks to Shimrit Berman and Andrew Sikora for amazing graphic and web support over the years.
Risks and challenges
A film of this ambition and scope, with multiple filming locations, a top-notch director, and an amazing composer (Omar Sosa) is very expensive to produce.
If the Spirit of this project moves you in any way, we would love your support.
We are asking for a modest donation of any amount so we can continue filming until our investment team raises the rest of the funds. After much reflection, we've decided to set the goal for this campaign at $45,000, even though the estimated budget for Across The King's River is more than $500,000.
After we successfully pass the $45,000 goal, our next target for the campaign will be $100,000. Films are often done in stages and any amount you give, big or small, will help us move forward right now.
Professional filmmaking requires extensive planning from beginning to end. Your generous contribution will help cover some of the costs of pre-production and production in Africa, the Caribbean and the United States.
Funds will also be used for air and ground travel, lighting and sound recording equipment, security personnel and salaries for the production team, story consultants, editors, composer and other support staff.
Logistics and Accessibility: Perhaps the greatest challenge in documentary filmmaking is gaining access and earning trust in unique communities. We have great relationships with our elders in Africa; we work as one team.
Unforeseen Obstacles: Documentary filmmaking is full of surprises. Despite meticulous planning, unforeseen events may happen, especially on locations overseas.
We are aware that we may encounter setbacks and delays but we are confident that we will overcome these challenges with the help of our elders who are widely respected and have supported us for more than six years.
Thank you for support and for being a part of this incredible journey.
All Our Love,
Producer, Across The King's River
- (30 days)