PRESENTED BY THE BUDDHIST FILM FOUNDATION AND THE CALIFORNIA FILM INSTITUTE  |  APRIL 10-16

The Buddhist Film Foundation celebrates its 15th year and partners with California Film Institute to present more than a dozen new films from ten countries- great cinema with a Buddhist touch- and several special guests. A special strand, indicated by (BIA), explores aspects of Buddhism in America.

Tickets per program:  $12 general  |  $10 Seniors  |  $8 CFI members.

Please note that Rafael passes and matinee prices are not valid for these programs. Tickets available at the Rafael box office or online at rafaelfilm.org

SATURDAY, APRIL 11

DHARMA RISING
1:00 PM  |  LIVE VIA SKYPE: DIRECTOR DAVID CHERNIACK

This documentary addresses Buddhism in the West, taking us on an international road trip of sorts, featuring Alan Wallace, Bernie Glassman, Jack Kornfield, Matthieu Ricard, Jan Willis, Norman Fischer, Robert Thurman, Stephen Batchelor, Blanche Hartman, Mel Weitzman and others. (Canada 2014) 84 min. plus discussion. (BIA) WORLD PREMIERE

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A GESAR BARD’S TALE
3:30 PM  |  SPECIAL GUEST: DIRECTOR DONAGH COLEMAN

The Tibetan tale of King Gesar, the world’s longest epic, has been passed on orally, generation to generation, since at least the 12th century. Filmed on location in China, this documentary focuses on Dawa, an illiterate nomad who, at age 13, experienced visions that resulted in the life-changing gift of becoming a Gesar bard. In Tibetan and Mandarin with English subtitles. (Finland/Ireland 2014) 83 min. plus discussion. Directed by Donagh Coleman and Lharigtso. WEST COAST PREMIERE

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PAINTING PEACE
6:00 PM  |  SPECIAL GUEST: DIRECTOR BABETH VANLOO

Berkeley-based Kazuaki Tanahashi is a Japanese Zen teacher, translator, artist and peace activist, known for his extraordinary calligraphy works as well as his masterful translations of 13th century Zen innovator Dogen. This insightful film follows him to Europe and Japan and into his home and family life. In Japanese with English subtitles and in English. (Netherlands 2014) 90 min. plus discussion. (BIA) WORLD PREMIERE

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HERMITS
8:30 PM  |  SPECIAL GUEST: DIRECTOR ZHOU CHENGYU

25 years ago, American translator Bill Porter journeyed among the hermit monks and nuns practicing in the Zhongnan Mountains of China and wrote Road to Heaven about them. This beautiful documentary follows him on his recent return- a total immersion in a hidden world, with insightful conversations with the hermits. Encouraging words, intimate and inspiring; imagine the Sierra dotted with solitary meditators! In Chinese with English subtitles and in English. Directors: He Shiping, Fu Peng and Zhou Chengyu (China 2014) 91 min. plus discussion. WORLD PREMIERE

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SUNDAY, APRIL 12

BARDSONGS
12:30 PM  |  LIVE VIA SKYPE: DIRECTOR SANDER FRANKEN

Like the classic Latcho Drom, this is a joyous music-based film, beautifully photographed and recorded: three folk tales from different cultures put to music by musical celebrities from those regions and interpreted by local actors. The film revels in the similarities among totally different worlds. Filmed on location in Rajasthan, Mali and Ladakh. (Netherlands 2010) 94 min. plus discussion. BAY AREA PREMIERE

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AMERICAN RIMPOCHE & KHANDRO: A WOMAN’S PATH OF PEACE
2:30 PM  |  SPECIAL GUESTS: FILMMAKERS  NIKKI APPINO & BABETH VANLOO

AMERICAN RIMPOCHE Documentary:  Gelek Rimpoche was born in Tibet, trained as a Buddhist monk and forced into exile at an early age. Now an American citizen, he has lived an extraordinary life, no longer a monk but a teacher and scholar linking the traditional and contemporary. Students have included Allen Ginsberg and Philip Glass, who composed the music for this incisive film. Director: Nikki Appino. (US 2014) (BIA)

KHANDRO: A WOMAN’S PATH OF PEACE Documentary:  Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche is the eldest daughter of Kyabje Mindrolling Trichen Gyurme Künzang Wangyal, an important Tibetan teacher in the Nyingma school, and is the latest in a unique lineage of female masters known as the Jetsünma line. Director: Babeth VanLoo. (US 2014) (BIA) Total running time 2 hours plus discussion.

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GIVING LIFE TO LIFE
6:00 PM 

Zen teacher, activist and anthropologist Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, exemplifies many of the developments in Buddhism in America. She is a leader in working with people in the final phase of life, and this documentary follows her to Holland, Nepal and Germany on teaching and humanitarian trips. In Dutch with English subtitles and in English. Director: Patrick van Boeckel. (Netherlands 2014) 75 min. (BIA) WORLD PREMIERE

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WHY NOT NOW?
8:00 PM  |  SPECIAL GUEST: DIRECTOR MARK WATTS

(BIA) Alan Watts needs no introduction here; his work and spirit are still felt in the Bay Area where he made his home. Known for his seminal books on Zen Buddhism, he was also an observant participant in the psychedelia and psychology explorations of the 60s. His son Mark Watts has fashioned a unique profile of his father. Screened with The Animated Alan Watts: shorts from Matt Stone and Trey Parker (South Park), and excerpts from The Fine Art of Goofing Off. (US 2015) Program approximately 75 min. plus discussion. (BIA) WORLD PREMIERE

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MONDAY, APRIL 13

ON THE ROAD
7:00 PM  |  LIVE VIA SKYPE: DIRECTOR LEE CHANG-JAE

Beautifully filmed over a year on location in and around Backheung-am, a thousand year old rural Korean Buddhist nunnery, this documentary is a rare and revealing study of monastic life today. Fiercely dedicated, passionate, hard working yet prone to mirth, these nuns are sustaining a tradition of obvious vitality. In Korean with English subtitles. (Korea 2013) 104 min. plus discussion. US PREMIERE

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TUESDAY, APRIL 14

PROPHECY
7:00 PM  

This vibrant drama, filmed in remote Bhutan, tells the story of a tertön (one who discovers hidden teachings), from birth to discovery to surprise. A senior monk makes a connection with a young girl from Thimpu, and together they go on a journey of searching and challenge. In Dzongkha with English subtitles. Director: Zuri Rinpoche. (Bhutan 2014) 85 min. US PREMIERE

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15

MYANMAR: NEW VOICES/NEW VISIONS
7:00 PM  |  SPECIAL GUEST: ELLEN BRUNO AND MYANMAR AUTHOR AND COMMENTATOR KENNETH WONG

Myanmar (Burma) is bursting with new possibilities, new creativity. Noted filmmaker (and BFF board member) Ellen Bruno recently spent time with young filmmakers there and will present a program of compelling shorts offering a sense of the vitality and perseverance of the people and the potential of a new Myanmar cinema. A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit the Yangon Film School in Myanmar. Films in Burmese with English subtitles. Approx. 75 min. plus discussion. US PREMIERE

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THURSDAY, APRIL 16

THE THREE MARKS OF EXISTENCE
7:00 PM  |  LIVE VIA SKYPE: DIRECTOR GUNPARWITT PHUWADOLWISID   IN PERSON: WES NISKER, DHARMA TEACHER/AUTHOR/PERFORMER

Humor and charm infuse teachings as M, a young Thai man, goes on the classic Buddhist pilgrimage in India: Lumbini, Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar. He slowly begins to understand the secret of pilgrimage, but beginner’s mind is a wild and beautiful thing… In Thai with English subtitles and in English. (Thailand 2012) 114 min. plus discussion. BAY AREA PREMIERE

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ON MEDITATION   |   EPISODES TO SCREEN WITH SELECTED PROGRAMS

Director Rebecca Dreyfus produced a wonderful series of short, intimate portraits of people who have integrated meditation into their lives, including Peter Matthiessen, Mark Epstein and Arlene Shechet, Giancarlo Esposito, Sharon Salzberg, Congressman Tim Ryan, David Lynch, Venerable Mettayya and others. (US 2014) (BIA) WEST COAST PREMIERE