Spiritual Cinema

The Spiritual Cinema Circle (SCC) was the brain child of film producer Stephen Simon and psychologists Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks. Stephen produced several movies with spiritual themes, such as "Somewhere In Time" and "What Dreams May Come, " and presented seminars on the emerging genre of Spiritual Cinema. During that time The Hendricks had created a non-profit foundation dedicated to creating a new consciousness in mass media. The concept came to Gay during meditation one day in 2003. He meditates every day early in the morning, and one day, Stephen got an excited early-morning call from him.

Gay tells what happened: "In meditation that morning I had a flash of insight: I saw exactly how we could create a community of conscious movie-lovers who could change the world. The insight came in a split-second, and after meditation here's what I wrote down:

'There are wonderful, inspiring movies being made by creative filmmakers all over the world, but hardly anybody is getting to see them because Hollywood isn't distributing them. The Hollywood studios don't seem to think there's a market for movies with heart and soul. At the same time there are millions of us around the world who aren't going to the movies much anymore because we're tired of the violence and mindlessness of the typical Hollywood movie. Why don't we scout the film festivals, find the great spiritual-themed movies Hollywood is ignoring, and bring them to people at home on DVD?' We're deeply grateful to our global community of conscious film-lovers, who are indeed helping change the world... one movie at a time (SCC Website, 2018).

In conversation with facilities directors in the East Bay, VITAS Healthcare representative Sara Shafiabady and I (Jason Hotchkiss) observed how seniors need bereavement support during all of their life changes and yet traditional bereavement groups have few attendees.  Then Sara suddenly said "what if we showed a film?"  She did not know that I had led a "spiritual cinema" in the past.  Great idea, Sara!  Reaching the bereavement needs of our community is challenging.

The purpose of Spiritual Cinema is to engage communities with inspiring and inclusive short films on living, grieving, and coping with the challenges of loss and aging. My partner Julie and I choose clips from SCC and other sources that engage the key issues of concern to patients, families and partners. Popcorn and engaging conversations to follow on living fully…until our last breath. Below are some sample categorized, short films and trailers. Drop me an email at jason.hotchkiss@vitas.com, if you are interested in planning a Spiritual Cinema.

Cinema is a mirror by which we often see ourselves.
— Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu