Since 1990 Dr. Francis Lu and Brother David Steindl-Rast have led annual 5- or 7-day film seminars at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.  Films on a particular spiritual theme (such as Healing Through Gratefulness) are shown and discussed, focusing on the participants’ personal experiences. “Films Envisioning a Hopeful Future” was the theme in 2011.

DVD cover of "Departures"

The future has been imagined for the film audience by screenwriters, directors, and actors/actresses since the beginning of movies. This seminar will focus on films from the silent era to the present that have envisioned with hope what’s ahead for the world and individuals, widening the possibilities of humankind. The films that have been chosen will evoke, through their characters, scenarios, and their bold cinematography and music, the qualities needed to carry hope forward and make it a reality through courage, passion, and imagination. 16 feature films from several countries will be shown during this seven-day seminar.


Film order:

Modern Times
A Matter of Life and Death
The Day the Earth Stood Still
2001: A Space Odyssey
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
E.T.: The Extra-terrestrial
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
I Know Where I’m Going!
Groundhog Day
Cherry Blossoms
Wings of Desire
El Sistema: Music to Change Life