Pirooz Kalayeh’s movie about me, Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen, is done and ready for the world. It was shown for the first time on October 5th, 2013 in Amsterdam at the Buddhist Film Festival of Europe. People there dug it, I am told. I couldn’t attend because that day I was hosting a 5-day Zen retreat at Benediktushof.
Now we’re going on the road with it and we are asking, nay begging, you to help us do it! Pirooz has set up a fund raiser for the tour right here on Indie Go Go. This will be how we’ll pay for us to go to the cities where the movie is playing and host the screening as well as do other interesting stuff.
We have three screenings set up right now for which tickets are currently on sale:
Ojai Playhouse | December 06, 2013 @ 9:30pm $10 http://local-screen.com/hardcore-zen/ojai-ca/
Northwest Film Forum | December 12, 2013 @ 8:00pm $10 http://local-screen.com/hardcore-zen/seattle-wa/
Clinton Street Theater | December 13, 2013 @ 7:00pm $10 http://local-screen.com/hardcore-zen/portland-or/
Folks like you, the readers of this here blog, are the target audience for this movie. So please come out and support it.
I like the film. I remember discussing with a certain other punk Buddhist author about a movie they made about him. He told me he wasn’t as psyched as he’d like to have been about that film. He didn’t go so far as to say he disliked it. But I could tell it wasn’t really what he’d hoped it would be.
I didn’t want a movie about me to be disappointing. But I also didn’t want it to be a fluff piece that just made me look like some kind of god-like spiritual super-being either. I told Pirooz that I wanted it to be his vision of me, not my vision of me.
I gave him access to everything I could think of that might be relevant. I gave him a box of photos and videos from my past. I let him come to any talk he wanted to attend and film it. I sat for dozens of interviews. I gave him all the music I’d ever recorded. It was tons of stuff and it must have been a nightmare to slog through all of it. But he did. I gave him contact info for my friends and family and he interviewed everybody that was willing to be interviewed.
He allowed me to view a number of rough cuts. And while I was uncomfortable with some of the material he used, I decided to concern myself only with factual accuracy. So if he used an old film clip that made me cringe but the caption got the date it was recorded wrong I only gave him the correct date. I didn’t ask him to take it out of the movie.
The opening scene is grueling for me to watch. It’s a scene of me at a highly uncomfortable talk in New York City where I had to deal with a couple of people who my talk had upset greatly. I squirm every time I see that. But it’s real and it’s good that it’s in there.
We really tried to get some of the people who used to frequently leave troll-ish comments on my previous blog to be interviewed on camera, but every one of them refused. We tried to get Grace and Peter Schireson to talk about their objections to the things I say, but they turned us down too. I guess they were concerned that we’d make them look bad or something. But that really wasn’t our intention. We wanted to make this an authentic film and having those voices of opposition in there would have helped do that. Ah well. You can’t always get what you want.
In the end, though, this is a highly unusual film. It’s not really what you’d call avant garde. By that I mean that it doesn’t look all that weird. But nonetheless it is deeply, deeply weird. It’s like no other film that’s ever been made about a spiritual teacher. Because it is absolutely and unapologetically honest. It’s also funny. You won’t find Thich Naht Hanh dressing up in a bunny costume. You won’t see the Dalai Lama trying to push the director of a movie about him’s car out of a snow drift. You’re not gonna find two hot girls and a tiny dog sitting in a pink bedroom talking about their friend Ram Dass. You won’t find DEVO and Randy Blythe from Lamb of God in a movie about D.T. Suzuki. It ain’t gonna happen.
Yet you will see all this and more in Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen!
Please come by and watch it. We can chat about it afterwards!
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