The 2016 Illuminate Film Festival, Sedona – Special Report: Part 2 of 2

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If you’re looking for your soul to be revitalized, according to The Huffington Post, the Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona, Arizona is one of the top 24 places in 2016 to get it done.

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Now in its third year, the 2016 Illuminate Film Festival, which runs June 1-5, is the only film festival of its kind.  It opens June 1 with a pre-Festival Launch Party and a free outdoor screening of work-in-progress BE MORE, a documentary film narrated by Joaquin Phoenix.

The opening film on June 2 is MAYA ANGELOU AND STILL I RISE.  The closing film event will be a Sneak Peek of MANTRA: SOUNDS INTO SILENCE, a film about the inner peace of Kirtan, or practicing Bhakti Yoga, the ancient spiritual tradition of chanting with music and dancing.  A Q&A and a live concert will follow.  Filmmaker Georgia Wyss will be in attendance.

With 25 films, 17 panels and workshops, 75 filmmakers and industry guests and a range of immersive opportunities to enjoy, seeing everything within those five days at Illuminate is impossible, but with careful planning and a study of the festival’s excellent on-line guide and schedule, you can maximize your viewing and enjoy as much as you can before the showing of the closing film.

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In this second of two special reports from Sedona (to read Part One: CLICK HERE) we take a closer look at two more films for you to consider, both documentaries that not only carry the festival’s theme of what conscious cinema is but perfectly illustrate two life changing events.  One explores a life that has changed, while the second may literally change a life.

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Forward posterHow come I wasn’t born a girl?” That’s the question posed by artist Trisha Shattuck at the beginning of the new documentary From This Day Forward, directed and co-written by Trisha’s daughter, Sharon Shattuck.  “I don’t know why,” the artist continues as she looks back on earlier times, “But I really wished my name was Trisha.”

Running at a brisk-paced 77 minutes, the film is an exploration of filmmaker Sharon’s family and how it coped with the transformation of Sharon’s transgender artist father from Michael into Trisha.  “People imagine that when you’re transgender, you’re attracted to men, but that’s not always the case,” explains Trisha.

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Told with clips of home movies and pictures from the family album, the documentary does a remarkable job of illustrating the problems and issues created when the most personal of transformations occur within and how that family stays together, particularly when faced with the difficulties of being surrounded with the social norm.  It can never be easy.  The film explains how one Christmas morning during their childhood, Sharon’s sister Laura, after finding pictures of her father in feminine clothes, asked, “Why is dad dressed like grandma?”  And how in later years when Laura was at high-school, her teacher told her, “I know what your dad is doing and I don’t approve.”

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The strength of From This Day Forward is the film’s ability to present the LGBT world and what it means to be transgender in a way that many may never have before considered.  Naturally, the transformation would be difficult – as the film explains, it’s an on-going conversation – but with love at the center of everything, there’s nothing that can’t be worked through.   As physician Marcia Shattuck, Sharon and Laura’s mother and wife to Trisha states, “If you love someone, you have to let them be who they are.”

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Following the film’s performance will be a Q&A with both Trisha and Marcia Shattuck, plus there’s an opportunity to purchase original artwork from Trisha during the festival’s live auction.

 CLICK HERE for details of times, dates and screenings for From This Day Forward.

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Filmmaker and producer Meghan O’Hara was on a roll.  Having produced three successful Michael Moore documentaries, Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine and Sicko, Meghan was enjoying the best years of her life.  Then she gets the news.  She has cancer.

In the 89 minute documentary, The C Word, Meghan presents a picture of cancer that is guaranteed to surprise.  In the way that publicity for a documentary is often hyped as being life-changing, it’s a real possibility that after watching one of the two screenings of The C Word your way life may very well be changed, literally.  And that’s not the hyperbole of an entertainment publicist.

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Narrated by Morgan Freeman, with glimpses of old TV commercials, movie clips, animation and a lot of good humor, Meghan O’Hara’s outstanding documentary is not only a personal account of her journey from cancer patient to cancer patient survivor but a positive and instructional account on what we can all do to help prevent the disease.

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Were you ever told by a doctor to exercise, lose weight and remove salt and sugar from your diet?  And have you discovered how difficult it is to find the right foods?  Go to any supermarket and take a look at the ingredients on the can or the package.  From the listing, the high percentages of sugar and sodium added and the names of ingredients you don’t understand, you’d swear the food industry was trying to kill us all.

It’s simple.  As the documentary illustrates, both diet and life style are everything, and those artificial additives masquerading as food on supermarket shelves to make us addicted to the taste and to want to buy more, courtesy of the disgraced tobacco companies who bought the food companies, really are killing us.  For example, within twenty-five years, Japan went from one of the lowest sufferers of cancer to the highest.  How?  For the past few decades it has adapted a western style of life and diet.  Cut to shots of Japanese families eating burgers.  And here in America, when a colon cancer patient is given the first meal after the operation, what does the hospital serve?  Sloppy Joe’s.

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When you’re told that 1 out of 2 people will get cancer and that we all have cancer cells in our body, you need to listen.  When you’re also told that the World Health Organization predicts that incidence of cancer will rise by 57% over the next 20 years, you pay further attention.  And when you learn, as The C Word explains, that up to 70% of cancers are preventable, then you need to do something about it.  We all do.  And now.  This documentary shows you how.  No joke, The C Word may well be the most important documentary you’ll ever see.  It can’t be ignored.  It will change and maybe even save your life.

 CLICK HERE for details of times, dates and screenings for The C Word.

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The 2016 Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona offers more than can be covered in these 2 special reports.  Find out for yourself what conscious cinema is all about and how the films and documentaries presented not only entertain but help you see much from a new and rewarding perspective.

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 To find out more, CLICK HERE and explore the 2016 Illuminate Film Festival website and HERE for the festival’s interactive schedule.

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