Awakened World International Film Festival and Retreat


The “Awakened World Film Festival Retreat” is a spiritually and socially responsible film festival taking place for the first time in Santa Barbara, CA from October 27-30 this year. The unique feature of AWIFF is that it is wrapped around a RETREAT combining films and interactive workshops that will guide participants from inspiration into enlightened action in the program streams of SPIRIT * SOCIETY * SELF.

The Association for Global New Thought (AGNT) a non-profit organization with international outreach, is inaugurating the festival as an annual destination for conscious film enthusiasts. The event is supported in part by Title Sponsor, The Science of Mind Foundation, and by the Community Events & Festivals Grant Program using funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, many other organizations, and me.

Of particular interest to me is the movie Slomo. A short documentary about a gentleman who found divinity by hooking up to gravity (just like we do in Awareness Through Movement lessons). I’ll be interviewing the filmmaker Josh Izenberg afterward, and then we’ll discuss how you can find divinity, too.  I hope you can attend, but if not, you can watch it on the internet.

Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges will appear at the festival to conduct a workshop on, “A PLACE AT THE TABLE,” a film in which he is featured for his work on hunger. Michael Imperioli of The Sopranos fame will represent the original feature narrative, “THE HUNGRY GHOSTS,” which he wrote and directed. The new-culture film, “WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW?” premiered in the Fall of 2004, a dynamic new catalyst for consciousness in media. A decade later, ”What the Bleep” creator and director, William Arntz, will celebrate its worldwide 10th anniversary at the fest with members of cast and crew Fred Alan Wolf, Betsy Chasse, and Mark Vicente. Barnet Bain heads a celeb panel on Conscious Media. Beloved spiritual teacher, Ram Das, will join the audience by live stream from Maui for Gay Dillingham’s film, “Dying to Know,” a story about his lifelong friendship with Timothy Leary.

Over four nights and three days, attendees will enjoy gala evening presentations, celebrity panels, and live New Thought music in Santa Barbara’s landmark Lobero Theater. Daytimes, attendees will select from a daily menu of films and workshops taking place at three downtown viewing venues: the Lobero, Center Stage Theater, and Unity Auditorium. Each session will begin with a brief contemplative practice guided by teachers from a diverse variety of spiritual traditions. After each film, a Q&A panel with filmmakers, actors, renowned teachers, directors or producers will take place followed by a facilitated workshop in which the entire audience engages in dialogue shaped by the film’s core concepts that inspire and transform us.

“Film, at its best, touches, moves and inspires us to be our best selves – This festival expresses the voice of a spiritually mature and socially responsible movement that is committed to changing the world for the better,” said Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder of Agape International and president of AGNT. “We intend to dazzle and entertain, but also to evoke an inner response that not only transforms the consciousness of attendees, but inspires action.”