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Mindful filmmaker

John Halpern
june 14 - 16
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Giving artists and filmmakers contemplative tools to navigate film/video and story-telling projects

I'm honored by the opportunity to lead a Mindful Filmmaker Retreat at

Shantigar this coming June and thrilled about Jean-Claude’s invitation!

—John DiLeva-Halpern



     This weekend immersive retreat at Shantigar is designed to support filmmakers, artists, writers and photographers nurture their aesthetic and cognitive sensibilities and apply storytelling and narrative skills at any level or stage of film, picture or content making.


     Shantigar’s rural setting offers a unique opportunity to totally inhabit and explore our motivations for making cultural products through enhancing our contemplative and creative practices. Participants will explore immersive individual and interactive exercises for awakening, focusing and sustaining artistic intent on-demand during project development. Through meditative and contemplative training, group exercises, and collaboration, we will explore methods for more focused, creative, effective, mindful and intentional story telling—in all media. 


     The program will include film screenings, contemplative seeing and appreciation, intuitive shooting exercises, cognitive movement techniques (yoga, sightless walking, etc.), breath, meditation, and dream practices. Some of our clips, script excerpts, photographs, and sketches, produced during the retreat, will be shared in group workshops. 


     Private project development and contemplative sessions are an integral part of the weekend. 


    One of the hallmarks of mastering meditative and contemplative practices is the benefit of freeing ourselves from conditioned physical and mental ideas, contexts and habits. With an invigorated, more relaxed and spacious feeling we can better determine how we want to create and the contributions we want to offer our world with greater impact and grace.


If we are attached or addicted to sensations of any sort, we are limited to sensations,

rather than awakened by them. By becoming alert to the sensations evoked through

meditation, we can use them, cognitively, as a way of interfacing with an

awakening body/mind experience and producing fresh, cognitive artwork.

—John DiLeva-Halpern


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Workshop starts promptly at 3:00 PM on Friday, June 14 and ends at 1:00 PM on Sunday, June 16.

$333 for weekend.
Organic meals included.

Some onsite lodging available, and free tenting.

      John has made extensive documentaries on international artist Joseph Beuys, the Dalai Lama, Tibet House, Fluxus and much more. John brings a wealth of info as a world traveler, award-winning international performance artist, filmmaker and Buddhist teacher and presents unique perspectives on life and film-making.

—Coleen Fitzgibbon, Artist/Filmmaker, Film-Makers Coop Board Member

     The workshop created an envelope of awareness that is more akin to an extended retreat than a craft-based workshop. If any part of you wishes to explore the quieter facts that form the foundation of aesthetic experience, the facts that make you a human underneath the projections of the
day to day, Halpern will draw that urge out of you and blow it wide open. 

—Dante Frontani, Writer/Filmmaker

     The course, The Mindful Filmmaker: Awake Cinematic Engagement, taught by filmmaker, John Halpern, was AMAZING and LIFE CHANGING. I hadn't shot in years due to circumstances and what I shot for class could have only come out of the processes of mindfulness that John was guiding us to engage. John taught in such a way that there was no need for posturing or defensiveness. The class structure and its flexibility allowed for each one of us to slowly step forward and bring our work to the forefront. This process and focus is specifically for visual work, but I would urge cross-discipline participation.
This would help anyone in an art/expression field.

—Claire Olivia Moed, Writer/Filmmaker

For additional information, please contact John Halpern, MDS Productions:
 or 917-991-9279.

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John DiLeva-Halpern is a theatrically released independent filmmaker with over 45 years of experience. His films likeRefugeandTalking With The Dalai Lama , and Waking Buddha focus on Western Meditation, while Joseph Beuys/Transformer and his current work-in-progress, Robert Filliou/Touch The Sky, are unique film portraits of renowned, avant-garde artists. He is also an award-winning, international artist, known for his large-scale, interactive, public art through his works such as New Consume, Bridging, Fresh Air and Breathsculpture . 
John has trained in meditation and the healing arts since 1977 and has been leading meditation classes and retreats since 2009. He has studied yoga, meditation, eastern  medicine and healing arts since 1976. He received Third-Level Reiki Certification from Reverends Beth and John Gray in 1980. John trained in Iyengar Yoga with Maestro Radames Silvestri in Venice, Italy, 1980-83. He began Tibetan Buddhist training with His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, Khenchen Palden Sherab and Khenchen Tsewang Dongyal in 1982. He continued these studies with H.H. Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche. John began leading meditation instruction at Yeshe Nyingpo, the Dudjom Buddhist Temple in New York, ten years ago.

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