Holding Up The Sky
Following their successful summit of Mt. Everest in 2008, a team of seven Nepali women set out to climb the celebrated 7 Summits – the highest peak on each of the seven continents.
"Holding Up the Sky" documents the inspiring tale about how and why these 7 Nepali women and 3 African "sisters" climbed Kilimanjaro on International Women's Day in 2013. Their mission was to call attention to the challenges girls and young women face growing up in traditional patriarchal societies of the developing world. The physical challenges of the Kilimanjaro climb parallel the individual stories each woman relates about overcoming "gender obstacles" growing up.
Winner: Best Documentary Arusha Film Festival 2014. 46 minutes
The Tibetan Research of Herbert Benson MD
A 7 minute trailer for a 30 minute documentary on the 1980s research of Dr. Herbert Benson into the physiology of a secret ritual Tibetan meditation called tum-mo, the meditation of inner fire. Today Dr. Benson is the Director Emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Mind Body Medicine Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Dr Benson is one of the first Western physicians to bring the healing aspects of spirituality into medicine. Throughout his 40+ year career, Dr. Benson has worked to build awareness of Mind Body Medicine, to validate it through research, and to bridge the gap between Western and Eastern medical practices.
Burundi Rwanda Refugee Camps
This video was filmed in 1994 in the refugee camps of Tanzania and Zaire; camps spawned by inter-ethnic conflict between Hutu and Tutsi.
The hostilities exploded initially in Burundi in October 1993, coinciding exactly with our move to Bujumbura. The Burundi violence of October 1993 foreshadowed the Rwanda genocide of April 1994. Astonishingly Rwanda has largely recovered while Burundi continues to flirt with a return to all out violent conflict.
Healing Invisible Wounds
Refugees and the internally displaced are just one measure of how the vicious conflict impacted Hutu and Tutsi communities.
Another, quite separate measure of the social destructiveness of this civil war was the explosion in the number of unaccompanied children and orphans. With its program “Assistance aux Enfants Non Accompagnés” or AENA, Unicef took up the challenge to reunite unaccompanied children with their families. In the case of orphans, Unicef sought to place them with surviving close relatives. "Healing Invisible Wounds" is a film about that process. This is an English cover of the original French version.
By international standards the film itself is of poor technical quality. Nevertheless, I am quite proud of it given the difficult circumstances under which we had to work. I teamed up with a film crew from “Education pour la Santé”, a branch of the Ministry of Health. All we had access to was low-end poorly maintained industrial quality video equipment. Because of sporadic outbreaks of violence throughout the country it took us 6 months to complete the film. I had budgeted only 6 weeks! Despite the odds, we got it done.
They Call Themselves Huaorani
In 1993 Maxus, an American oil company, won the drilling rights to a pristine section of the Ecuadorian Amazon which is also home to the Huaorani, an indigenous group many anthropologists at the time considered the most violent humans on earth. I was asked by Maxus to help train its oil rig crews how to work safely among the Huaorani. Maxus pledged to do jungle drilling differently. Maxus claimed a sincere commitment to protecting the Amazon and the Huaorani way of life. I believed them and accepted the assignment. Was I just an accomplice to malevolent capitalism? Looking back on the film today it's alarming to see that the conflicting issues of 25 years ago are still clashing priorities today. For instance, how can everyone involved – of course including the indigenous populations themselves – benefit fairly from economic development? Can economic development of sensitive environmental areas ever really be accomplished without causing irreparable harm? Does development always have to mean the end to aboriginal cultures? While conservation of the Amazon is vitally important, is it right to deny indigenous peoples access to prosperity and the benefits of the 21st century? The debate about the rights and wrongs of this project, and about development versus conservation in general, rages on.