Dalai Lama Renaissance at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Greg M. Schwartz


Producer/Director Khashyar Darvich says it's just a coincidental accident that his acclaimed documentary Dalai Lama Renaissance is playing here in San Antonio in the same week as the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising, but those who believe in the Buddhist concept of karma may be more inclined to call it synchronicity.

The 80-minute film, which follows 40 of the West's most innovative thinkers to a conference with the Dalai Lama in India to discuss the world's problems and how to solve them, premiered last May and has played in over 80 cities since. It screens at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Alamo Westlakes) tonight at 7:30 p.m, and tomorrow at 8 p.m.

“The thing audiences are really responding to is the `character` arc and the inner journey of the characters in the film,” said Darvich on the phone today. “The characters experience an inner journey from `being centered in` ego to an understanding that ego isn't a way of solving the world's problems. The real way of solving them is working on the self and changing ourselves.”

Darvich is f o u n d e r a n d p r e s i d e n t o f t h e W a k a n F o u n d a t i o n f o r t h e A r t s , a nonprofit with a m i s s i o n o f “ s e r v i n g a n d u p l i f t i n g h u m a n i t y t h r o u g h t h e a r t s .” He says all of those involved told him the experience with the Dalai Lama impacted them in a very real and profound way. Those characters include physicist Fred Alan Wolf, author and talk show host Thom Hartmann, nuclear physicist Amit Goswami and social scientist Jean Houston.

The film is narrated by actor Harrison Ford, who had previously spoken to Congress regarding the political situation between Tibet and China.

” I n a r r a t e d D a l a i L a m a R e n a i s s a n c e b e c a u s e I b e l i e v e H i s H o l i n e s s i s m a k i n g a p o s i t i v e i n f l u e n c e i n o u r w o r l d ,” says Ford at the film's web site. “F o r m e , t h e f i l m r e p r e s e n t e d a n o p p o r t u n i t y t o c o n t i n u e a s s i s t i n g t h e o p t i m i s t i c e f f o r t s o f a n e x t r a o r d i n a r y i n d i v i d u a l .”

“He was so gracious at the recording session,” said Darvych. “Our plan at first was to have him just read each line three times, then he ended up reading each line ten times. He still said รข??I can read it again if you want.'”

Darvych also noted how Ford refused “star treatment,” rejecting the offer of a chauffered limo to the sessions and driving his own Toyota Prius hybrid instead.

“I feel really fortunate that audiences have expressed that `the film` has impacted them,” said Darvych. “As an artist, that's really the most satisfying thing I can ask for.”