It’s 9:00 AM on a wonderful, crazy kind of October Saturday. I stood in the lobby of the local Yelm Cinemas multi-complex, and watched in absolute amazement as over 600 people arrived to attend a special showing of the new documentary WAKE UP! The theater manager, equally surprised, opened four theaters to accommodate the unexpectedly large crowd. What could possibly bring out so many people so early on a weekend?
WAKE UP! is the story of Jonas Elrod, an unassuming, ordinary man who one day, “out of the blue,” spontaneously awakened to be able to visually perceive phenomena that is usually invisible to the human eye. He saw and continues to see “spirits”, angels, and colorful, morphing energies everywhere around him, and it never turns off.
He’s delusional, correct? Not according to the teams of Cornell neurological and psychological physicians who examined him extensively. Then he must be one of those “woo-woo, new-agey airheads,” right? Hardly.
WAKE UP! documents the multi-year journey Jonas underwent in an attempt to understand and come to terms with his ability to see “spiritual realities,” and he did not “go gently into that good night.” He resisted, whined, complained, and pretty much dragged his feet, kicking and screaming, all the way into acceptance. Eventually, he surrendered to his instructions, “Expose what is happening. Share it with the world.”
Talented director/cinematographer Chloe Crespi joined forces with producer Steven Hutensky and together with Jonas, who also directed, embarked on an incredible filmmaking experience. Steve and Jonas spoke with SuperConsciousness about how the film unfolded organically – each step of the journey connecting to the next, streamof- consciousness style. Ultimately they captured and edited over 400 hours of footage before they locked the final 1.5- hour documentary.
Jonas humbly admits that the film honestly depicts the discomfort of his early, inner confusion, but also admits he would have never been able to remain objective had he taken on the project alone.
Those hundreds of hours included interviews with an extraordinary pool of people who didn’t make the cut: Over forty-two well known researchers, teachers, authors, and entertainers including Larry and Barbara Dossey, Dean Radin, William Tiller, Klaus Heinemann, Sheryl Crow, Sting, Greg Braden, and Neale Donald Walsch. And even though WAKE UP! was not a big-budget production, they attracted top documentary professionals, and scored permission to utilize recognizable songs for the film’s soundtrack from musical luminaries Sting, Radiohead, and Brian Eno.
In addition to Jonas’ family, friends, his family’s pastor, and the medical doctors who gave him a clean bill of health, WAKE UP! features New York author and healer Abdi Assadi, Italian psychic Umberto Di Grazia, trends predictor Stephen Schwartz, Sufi Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Zen Buddhist Joan Halifax, and parapsychology researchers Gary Schwartz and Roger Nelson. And, from Washington State: JZ Knight and teachers from Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, as well as Skokomish Nation hereditary leader Mark Colson and other local Native American tribal members.
The film effectively captures Jonas’ intimate moments of realization. With Assadi, he realizes that being able to see phenomena doesn’t make a person special. Parapsychologist Gary Schwartz gives Jonas a hands-on demonstration of interconnectedness with an EEG cap connected to a computer. At Ramtha’s School, Jonas begins to confront his anger at God and his resistance to all things “spiritual.” And in a poignant vision quest experience deep in the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest, Jonas finally lets go, surrenders, and allows himself to begin to connect his experiences into a new understanding of wholeness.
Those who have seen the film say that the impact of WAKE UP! has had great significance for them. For some the film has given them permission to finally, openly admit that the phenomenon of perceiving spiritual realities exists for them also. Jonas says he has been inundated since the film’s release by emails from people who have been inspired to confidently come out of the closet and claim, “This has been happening to me for years, also.”
And even though the subject matter of the film addresses the edgy subject of paranormal phenomenon, Jonas is adamant that the film’s intent doesn’t rest there. He has come to realize that awaking is all about personal maturity and spiritual growth – and not about psychic phantasm.
Regardless of a person’s religion or belief system, WAKE UP! informs, inspires, and provides an extraordinary opportunity to connect with the minds of others who are also waking up.
For more information about scheduling a showing near you, and to purchase or download the DVD, go to: www.wakeupthefilm.com
Last night we watched this doco on television. Seems no doubt of its
accuracy. It is one of the best political conspiracy reports we have ever seen.
It unfolds more like a fictional drama than an actual event. Very exciting.
It is very well presented, and shows very clearly how we let unscrupulous
(and psychopathic?) people govern us. It includes lots of live footage of
actual events, speeches, and recorded phone conversations. Almost
Nixon to Kissinger about North Korea, something like: "Would it bother you
if we nuke these silly little people? I am not at all bothered about
Two million of them - plus countless injured. And the war was started with
a lie. Sound familiar?
It is very similar to what happened/is happening with the
Shockingly similar.("When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn.")
The differences are that then, the mainstream media defied government
threats to imprison anyone who published the leaked documents, and despite
being abused and imprisoned, millions of people took to the streets in
protest of the war.
Some of you have written to say that things are not getting worse, and
there is no more violence than there ever was.
I have always been interested in figures, and how they can be manipulated.
("100% increase in..." Which could mean - two instead of one.)
As I stated, there is certainly a difference now that we have 24 hour news,
but I have looked into other facts. Violent and aggressive we have always
We are a violent species. Most countries are now occupied by invading
(Get that? Most countries are now occupied by invading countries!)
In my youth we never heard of anyone attacking anyone except with fists.
I am sure some people did get stabbed - but not in my whole area.
Now in that area, stabbings and shooting are daily events.
With few exceptions, the most violent movies at that time were Walt Disney
cartoons! (Ever checked them out that way? Even more so these days.)
Very different from the North Vietnam and Korean wars, these days it
seems, reporters are not allowed to get up close - the government decide
what they can and cannot report. We only learn what is really happening by
the reports of maverick reporters.
And even in the North Vietnam and Korean wars, we did not get the facts.
I was in Hong Kong at that time and spoke to reporters just back from the
front line. They said they could not even send in some of the true footage
or they would get fired.
So what is this to you/us?
Well if it is true that we are all one, connected by unseen frequencies
(as with radio waves, and the land under the oceans) then we are all part
of what is going on - on every level, all the time.
A lot of what we feel moment to moment may not be directly to do with
ourselves, but the collective. And if there is such a thing as Karma, then
we are all responsible.
Again, what to do? Open up. Let everything in. Feel.
And remember to watch for any against-ness.
In a smaller way, most of us, most of the time are doing similar things.
Check it out.
And as always, don't take it too seriously...
The most dangerous man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a leading Vietnam War strategist, concludes that
America¹s role in the war is based on decades of lies. He leaks 7,000 pages
of top-secret documents to The New York Times, a daring act of conscience
that leads directly to Watergate, President Nixon¹s resignation and the end
of the Vietnam War. Ellsberg and a who¹s-who of Vietnam-era movers and
shakers give a riveting account of those world-changing events in POV¹s The
Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers by
award-winning filmmakers Judith Ehrlich (The Good War and Those Who Refused
to Fight It) and Rick Goldsmith (Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and
the American Press). A co-production of ITVS in association with American
Documentary/POV. (90 minutes)
Vietnam War opponent Daniel Ellsberg sees parallels in Afghanistan:
Opens at the Quad theater in New York in April 2011.
Director Clint Eastwood explores what happens after death.
Review by A. O. SCOTT Published: NY TIMES, Arts & Leisure, October 14, 2010
The afterlife is not necessarily where you would expect to find Clint Eastwood,
who at 80 shows no signs of tiring out or settling down. His latest film,
“Hereafter,” is at once recognizably his — in tone and atmosphere — and a
startling departure from his
Death has never been a stranger in Mr. Eastwood’s cinematic universe:
the lone riders and taciturn gunmen that defined his heroic phase as an actor
were frequently pitiless avatars of mortality, and the grave has often been the
horizon toward which both the righteous and the wicked in his movies are drawn.
But like most filmmakers working outside the genres of horror or sudsy religious
comedy, Mr. Eastwood has shown little inclination to point his camera beyond that
Nor is Peter Morgan, who wrote the screenplay for “Hereafter,” known to have
much of a spiritual or supernatural bent. His specialty — marvelously evident in
“The Deal,” “Frost/Nixon,” “The Queen” and “The Damned United” — has been the
prickly interactions of living people in a decidedly secular world. The closest Mr. Morgan
has come to a ghost story may be “The Queen,” but only if you imagine it from the
perspective of the recently departed Diana, Princess of Wales, flitting unseen through
limbo, raising a spectral eyebrow at the consternation she has caused her
mother-in-law by dying in such dramatically inconvenient fashion.
One of the reasons that “Hereafter” works as well as it does — it has the power
to haunt the skeptical, to mystify the credulous and to fascinate everyone in between
— may be that its subject matter is so clearly alien to the sensibilities of its makers.
Communication with the dead is a risky business, principally because once the door to
the beyond opens a tiny crack, all kinds of maudlin nonsense come rushing in.
But one of Mr. Eastwood’s great and undersung strengths as a director is his ability to
wade into swamps of sentimental hokum and come out perfectly dry. Directed by anyone
else, “The Bridges of Madison County”would most likely have been as unbearable as the
book on which it was based. “Million Dollar Baby,” though derived from much better source
material, walked through a minefield of clichés and emerged as a masterpiece.
“Hereafter” does not land with the clean, devastating force of either of those movies.
Instead, it is quiet, gorgeous and contemplative. Mr. Eastwood’s longtime
cinematographer, Tom Stern, composes a world of rich, deep shadows and heavy,
saturated colors, making you aware of encroaching darkness, but also of the intense,
almost tactile beauty of existence. The inhabitants of this world — ordinary people
whose plans and expectations are knocked off course by intimations of an afterlife
— have a fine-grained individuality that makes you care even if, from time to time,
you have trouble believing.
The film follows three independent story lines, which converge (not quite convincingly)
only at the last moment, and each involves a collision between the living and the dead.
In San Francisco, a man named George Lonegan (Matt Damon) suffers with a gift that
feels, to him, more like a curse. His ability to receive messages from the dead loved ones
of anyone he touches once made him a nice living, but despite the pleas of his
entrepreneurial brother (Jay Mohr), George has chosen a life of obscurity and manual labor.
In London, Marcus, a melancholy young boy, intuits the presence of his twin brother,
Jason, whose violent death has left Marcus adrift in a world where compassion and
indifference are hard to tell apart. (The brothers are played by George and Frankie McLaren.)
And in Paris, Marie Lelay (Cécile de France), a television journalist who survived the 2004
tsunami, is convinced that her near-death experience in that catastrophe showed her a
metaphysical reality that the rest of the world is blindly determined to ignore.
This kind of braided plot, almost unavoidable in the superstitious age of “Babel” and “Crash,”
may be as surprising, coming from Mr. Eastwood, as the large-scale, computer-generated
tsunami sequence that snaps the audience to horrified attention early in the film. At the
same time, there is an austerity in “Hereafter” that keeps the melodramatic possibilities latent
in the script safely at bay. Mr. Eastwood’s stripped-down, highly efficient approach to storytelling
serves as an anchor to the busy narrative and the complicated visuals, and perhaps the most
gratifying thing about “Hereafter” is its patience.
You would not want a movie about death to be in too much of a hurry, and Mr. Eastwood lingers
over scenes and details that curl away from the plot. A meeting in the boardroom of a French
publishing house, at which Marie proposes a book on the life and times of François Mitterrand,
the former president of France, is both perfectly irrelevant and completely engrossing as a
snapshot of Gallic politique.
George, cautiously trying to shake off his gloom and find a social life, enrolls in a cooking class,
where he meets Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard), a young woman who seems as eager to fall
in love with him as he is reluctant to believe it. Their early flirtations, delicate and funny with
a palpable ache of longing, dispel the gloom and portent that linger around George, offering
him a tantalizing peek at what a normal life might look like.
Normal life, in the terms proposed by this film, might be defined as existence pursued in a
state of studied incuriosity about what comes next. What gives “Hereafter” its strange, unsettling
mood and its curious momentum is the growing tension between this relatively happy state and
the sense, shared by Marie, Marcus and George, that what comes next lies at once close at hand
and beyond the reach of any organized system of beliefs.
Persuasion is not really the point, though if anyone could make me believe in ghosts, it would be
Clint Eastwood. And the afterlife itself remains, throughout the film, a vague, conjectural place, a
zone of speculation rather than a freshly discovered and surveyed continent. The fuzzy digital
ghosts that occasionally flutter across the screen are more symbolic placeholders than literal
apparitions. Something seems to be out there, and cinematic technology provides an available
shorthand to indicate its presence.
What does seem new — newly strange, newly beautiful — is what “Hereafter” makes of the
here and now. It is a curious movie in both senses of the word: an unusual experience and an
open-ended inquiry into something nobody can really claim to understand. It leaves you wondering,
which may be the most fitting way of saying that it’s wonderful.
Directed by Clint Eastwood; written by Peter Morgan; director of photography, Tom Stern;
edited by Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach; music by Mr. Eastwood; production design by James J.
Murakami; costumes by Deborah Hopper; produced by Mr. Eastwood, Kathleen Kennedy and Robert
Lorenz; released by Warner Brothers Pictures. Running time: 2 hours 9 minutes. WITH: Matt Damon
(George Lonegan), Cécile de France (Marie Lelay), Frankie and George McLaren (Marcus/Jason), Jay
Mohr (Billy), Bryce Dallas Howard (Melanie), Marthe Keller (Dr. Rousseau), Thierry Neuvic (Didier)
and Derek Jacobi (Himself).