About this project
SUCCESS!!! Thanks for all of the generous support! Seeking Heartwood can now finish it's final phase of filming and enter post-production! The Kickstarter campaign is over, but if you'd like to continue to help the film get made, you can contribute at http://seekingheartwood.com/donate/
ABOUT THE FILM
At the end of 2010, I took my savings, left my life behind, and set out to understand and film a subject that has made an impression on me I’ve never been able to shake off: Buddhism.
I've been driving all over America in my old Honda, going from meditation center to meditation center, monastery to monastery, and teacher to teacher. For the past 21 months I've spent my waking life interacting with American Buddhists, studying the ancient texts, meditating, and filming. All to uncover the core of what the Buddha actually accomplished, how he taught, and ultimately, how relevant his teaching are to today's modern life.
Buddhism in America is a living, breathing movement of people becoming independent in their understanding of these teachings and utilizing them to make a positive impact in our society – a wealthy society with opportunities for happiness that seem only to be rivaled by its frustration and malaise. This is the very problem that the Buddha’s teachings address.
WHY I'M DOING THIS
Unfortunately, their curiosity, like mine, can be greeted by a confounding overabundance of books, wildly different meditation techniques, and confusing cultural traditions. After a 21 month road trip seeking out the best Buddhist teachers in America, I’ve found that it is exceedingly possible to make a film that transcends this confusion.
Additionally, the last couple of decades has seen an upsurge in the use of Buddhist-based mindfulness practices in our modern health care system, including the fields of psychology, medicine, and neuroscience. In fact, meditation is now taught more in the medical field than by Buddhist teachers!
There couldn't be a better time to provide a history and context for these teachings from lifetime practitioners and teachers; people neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson refers to as, “Olympic athletes” of the mind.
I've always wanted to make this world a better place, and this film is the best way I’ve found for me to do just that. Small, wholesome changes in the minds of many can tip this world in a better direction.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The project has been completely self-financed so far. Since I felt it was important to take the time to do this project carefully, I chose to exhaust all of my personal savings before requesting any financial support from the community at large.
I've done this on an absolute shoe string budget: no apartment, no hotels, just me on the road: camping, couch surfing, sleeping in my car, not eating enough, and working odd jobs – whatever it takes. I'm a one man, self-educated documentary crew. I do everything myself – research, interviewing, camera operation, audio, editing, marketing, you name it.
I basically have everything I need already: camera gear, lights, editing laptop, footage storage, and now a cheap apartment to start editing.
I need your help so I can focus everything I've learned into knocking out the last of my interviews over the next 5 months. I have at least two dozen interviews and shoots lined up in Texas, Minnesota, Ohio, New York, Florida, Alabama, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Missouri, Massachusettes, Washington DC, California, and one flight to France to interview someone who isn't American, yet has had one of the largest impacts on how Americans relate to Buddhism. I'll keep to the shoestring budget, weighing cheap flights versus driving, never wasting a penny, and maximizing my time with the help of your contributions to accomplish what I would be unable to do on my own.
From there, your rest of your funding will allow me to enter into a lengthy and expensive post production phase. It will take me a long time to put this together in a professional way. The more money I have, the higher quality it will be. I already have 350 hours of footage to go through and 5 more months of intensive filming to accomplish! Going through all that will be an arduous task of transcribing, cutting and cutting and cutting, then audio mixing, color correcting, mastering and finally distributing. But with your assistance, I'll be able to finalize the project by the end of 2013.
There is a lot more to do and Seeking Heartwood still needs your support. Even though the Kickstarter campaign has ended, you can still donate at: http://seekingheartwood.com/donate/
*note: For international backers, additional shipping costs for rewards may be necessary.
TO LEARN MORE AND SEE THE JOURNEY
Please visit my website!
There you'll find a blog of my travels, photography from all over the country.
Additionally, for those of you who are really ambitious, I recently did a one hour interview with the Secular Buddhist Podcast. I go into much more detail about my history and the project:
or check out the recent interview with the Long Beach Post:
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