Aruna Vasudev on Buddhist films and spirituality

27DMC_ARUNA_VASUDE_2221708eThe Hindu
Aruna Vasudev, the director of the Inner Path Festival on Buddhist film, art and philosophy talks on the fest. Excerpts from the interview:

On response to this festival of Buddhist film, art and philosophy

The response this year has been very gratifying. Perhaps it’s the venue – Alliance Francaise which is centrally located and easy to get to. Perhaps it’s because the message has gone around.

When you start something new, it does take time to raise awareness.

I believe Buddhist films, art and philosophy have all made ripples around the world. Enlighten me with some of the works that are being showcased

There are Buddhist Film Festivals all around the world – from San Francisco, Mexico, London to Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong…. But there had never been anything in India until we started The Inner Path in 2012 as an annual event.

Yes, some films that have been shown in other festivals are included, but we also have some that are showing in a festival for the first time. Films like the three documentaries by John Bush from New York. His films, Vajra Sky Over Tiber, Dharma River and Prajna Earth have been shown in various places but I don’t think they have been in any Buddhist Film Festival as such. Avalokiteshwara from China and On the Road from Korea have been shown successfully.

There are films like Khandro, A Woman’s Path of Peace (by Dutch filmmaker Babeth VanLoo) which has been recently completed and stays with you. So is the case with the wonderful film Monk with a Camera about Nicholas Vreeland, grandson of the legendary Diana Vreeland, who has been a monk and is now Abbot, of a monastery in Karnataka, the only non-Tibetan monk to be an Abbot of a Tibetan monastery

On showing
Don’t you think it would be better to play Buddhist films along with other Indian films in IFFI so that they have wider reach?

Whether IFFI wants to do that or not is up to IFFI. Maybe it is better to have the Buddhist festival as a separate entity because at a big international event it could get lost. And what we do is not just films but along with them we have art and photography exhibitions.

On having the festival in Bihar and Chhattisgarh Buddhist film, art and philosophy fests there?

Yes indeed, it would be great to take the festival to Bihar, Chhattisgarh etc but we have to find sponsors.

How do you recount the success story of this festival which offers a niche spiritual awakening in the Capital?

As I said earlier, it takes a little time for people to get to know about it, find the time in the hectic cultural schedule in Delhi, to come to it but once they do, they keep coming back. It takes a while for the word to spread, for people to talk to others about what they have seen and responded to and I must say the audience has really grown –– in numbers and in enthusiasm.

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