This year the festival is excited to offer a new element to your movie going experience. Onsite at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision we’re creating a calm, comfortable and quiet space for stillness and reflection, where festival goers can come and savour some moments of mindfulness.
We're bringing back one of the films from last years programme called Room to Breathe, and we’re literally providing just that, a Room-to-Breathe. We’re calling it the “Take Notice” Room, after one of the 5 Ways of Wellbeing promoted by the Mental Health Foundation.
To assist you in enjoying some inner stillness, we’ll be offering some simple, accessible, guided mindfulness exercises from the popular app Headspace. These will play 30 minutes before screenings and at 12:30pm Wednesday & Thursday of the festival week. Allow 15 min for this (incl intro).
It is our hope that by providing this space you’ll be able to have a first-hand experience of what it’s like to slow down, become still, and to rest, taking notice of your own moment to moment experience of being - at the festival.
Hi everyone. We're pleased to announce that Stillness, & the Moving Image is back again for 2015 and look forward to seeing you at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision for some of the screenings and talks. Updates to come.
So ... from October 14th through 18th, 2014, in association with additional Core Partners the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and Secular Buddhism Aotearoa New Zealand, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision hosted a festival of films in Wellington titled Stillness, & the Moving Image.
Selecting films with care and asking filmmakers to create and enter short films on the topic of stillness into a competition, our intention as Co-Directors was to encourage people to bring greater stillness into their lives, to be more mindful, awakening to the results that their intentions and their actions are having on others, the planet and all beings on it.
The festival was consciously and deliberately scheduled to run the week after Mental Health Awareness Week. In previous years, the Film Archive (as Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision was formerly known) has run mental health themed programming at this time and Stillness, & The Moving Image was an extension of this; aimed also at people with an interest in mindfulness, meditation and a secular approach to Buddhism and other religious practices.
What resulted was the successful engagement with a wide ranging audience, many of whom were first time visitors to the venue and most of whom were not known to us. Feedback was very positive and the total audience for the eight screenings was 360, giving an average audience of 45. In the context of the average attendance in Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s 100-seat cinema, the festival’s 35–65 attendees per screening is in the top third for the year.
Seeking partnerships, we pulled in support from:
Festival Co-Director Ramsey Margolis circulated information about the festival to a range of blogs and websites and fellow Co-Director Mark Sweeney was interviewed by Radio Active. Word of mouth publicity proved highly effective, leading to a small and repeated audience from the Department of Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, among others.
The short film competition run in the months leading up the festival challenged filmmakers to create a film between 30 seconds and two minutes long on the topic of ‘stillness’. The winner received $300 and a copy of Wallace Chapman’s book Don't Just Do Something, Sit There. The competition attracted more than 30 entries, with filmmakers from Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Spain, UK and USA submitting entries. Most entries were on theme and within the timeframe.
Competition judges were actor Loren Taylor, director and producer Robin Greenberg and festival Co-Director Mark Sweeney. The winning entry and five official selections screened on the opening night, and Kuesti Fraun, the German filmmaker of the winning entry, greeted the opening night audience on Skype. His film drama, Bonjour Liberté, was selected as the winner because of the intriguing way the story unfolded, its gritty black and white tones and character, and the end twist in which the anticipated air travel did not take place. Instead, the protagonist sets up a deckchair at the end of the runway and discovers his personal stillness. The competition brought a participatory dimension to the festival and it was pleasing to connect internationally.
For Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, a first for this festival was the creation of an independent website which gave the festival its own identity and the ability to promote itself outside of the noise of the regular events, screenings and content. It would not have been possible to run the short film competition without it, as this ran for several months prior to the screenings. The festival offered online ticketing through Eventbrite, something Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision has yet to set up. This blog provided background to the theme of the festival, information on the films and updates.
The festival contained a mix of international and New Zealand content and its curation achieved its intended purpose of capturing the theme both in individual films and, strongly, when viewed as an eclectic whole. Considering all the feature content had screened previously, and some of it was available online, the turnout and feedback proved proof of concept. It showed that even in a media-saturated world, in a calendar crowded with film festivals, there is still room for the collective experience of cinema with thought provoking and spiritually nourishing content.
As Co-directors, we wish to thank all the organisations and individuals who partnered the festival, the staff at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision for their hard work, Sue Hobbs for designing the flyer and, of course, the filmmakers and the audience.
Mark Sweeney and Ramsey Margolis, Co-Directors
Buddhists teachers do not charge for the teachings, relying on the generosity of the students who participate in their retreats and workshops. It could be said that other people have given dana – the word in Pali for generosity – that has enabled teachers to be before us. When we in our turn give dana, this enables them to teach others, people we may never meet.
The audience who came to see 'Buddhism Without Beliefs', the 2008 Dutch documentary on the life and work of Stephen Batchelor, very generously left enough dana that with just a little help from the festival we were able to send Stephen and Martine – his wife who also teaches the dharma – 150 Euros, around $250 NZ.
Thank you for your generosity. If you would like to make your own donation to Stephen and Martine you can do so through their website here.
Thanks to the several hundred people who attended the festival, the filmmakers and all the best with getting that Stillness, Beyond The Moving Image.
Great to see so many of you here for the opening night and for Tuesday’s screenings and talk.
Congratulations to Kuiste Fraun for his winning entry, Bonjour Liberté. You can watch his film and others on the Competition Films link on this site.
Tonight at 7pm we have a special showing of Tatarakihi: The Children of Parihaka. The screening coincides with the 100th anniversary of the departure of over 8,000 New Zealand troops for WW1 and is a timely reminder of a story of passive resistance – that there are alternative responses to conflict.
The festival is upon us and onsite ticket sales are now available from the venue – Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision on the corner of Taranaki and Ghuznee Streets.
See you soon.
Thanks everyone from around the world who entered the competition. We're now in the process of selecting a short list from the wonderful array of entries in time for the launch of the festival next week.