What is your film festival’s mission?
ILLUMINATE’s mission is to expand consciousness through film. As the world’s premier film festival for conscious cinema, ILLUMINATE showcases cinematic gems that uplift the human heart and inspire all who see them to live kinder, wiser, more enlightened lives.
What role does your film festival play in supporting your community?
Sedona enjoys a unique reputation as the energetic capital of North America, and is distinguished by its natural beauty, wellness resources and metaphysical appeal. Indeed, statistics show wellness travel is growing at nearly twice the rate of total worldwide tourism, and that Sedona is a top-20 US Traveler’s Choice destination. ILLUMINATE is a natural fit for this community and we recruit local talent each year to run the festival.
What is something people look forward to every year at your film festival?
We’ve pioneered the concept of experiential movie-going, pairing films with sacred sound journeys, emotional healing workshops, hikes, native ceremonies, in-theater meditations, and other immersive experiences. It’s beautiful to give an audience the opportunity to more deeply integrate the movies’ message and see how that message shows up in their lives.
What do you want audiences to take away from your film festival?
Movie-going in the mind-body-spirit genre offers audiences unique and extraordinary benefits—aha moments, profound personal breakthroughs, and the expansion of a global conscious movement.
How long has your film festival been around?
We launched ILLUMINATE in 2014.
How did your film festival come into being?
At 35, sparked by Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, our executive director Danette Wolpert took off on a yearlong round-the-world journey to connect with her soul’s purpose. Though she wanted to be a healer, she realized one afternoon that her calling was not to do the healing, but rather to organize it. She lets the films and practitioners do the tough stuff.
Anything else you’d like to tell the audience about your festival?
Our team believes world peace begins within—with inner peace. Our selections create opportunities for cultivating self-awareness, stillness, and a feeling of Oneness. Our teammate Miguel Montoya put it best when he said, “ILLUMINATE believes in sharing messages of hope, inspiration, and beauty, without any bias for a particular spiritual faith, and yet inclusive of all philosophies so long as they do not suggest one sectarian path as the answer to all the worlds ills…All such artistic or biographical renderings of defining human moments serve one purpose: to remind the haves and the have-nots alike of the beauty of the human soul. Only by this recognition, are we driven to change self-serving behaviors—not by threats, guilt trips, or slick persuasion, but by the personal realization of the beauty within each one of us; a connection to something greater; a purpose in life far more satisfying than chasing money, power, lust, or fame.”
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