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March 23, 13

RETREAT, the feature length documentary, is available for pr-order at our store at Deliveries to start April 5, 2013


February 3, 13

RETREAT, the feature length documentary, world premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to an audience of a thousand people.

RETREAT follows thirty-five Westerners as they attempt an intense, eight-week, silent, meditation retreat in Thailand led by the American Buddhist teacher, B. Alan Wallace. Some of them are experienced mediators, some are just beginners. The practice they're working on is shamatha, or calm abiding, stilling the mind with sustained, one-pointed, concentration...simple enough sounding, but extremely difficult to master and considered to be an essential step on the path to full enlightenment. Alan Wallace teaches it through a Buddhist understanding of the nature of consciousness and draws contrasts with the prevailing materialist paradigm of modern neuroscience. The film follows the retreat from start to finish. At various times we see it through the eyes of four of the retreatants recorded on video diaries. Problems arise when one retreatant has a sustained psychotic episode and the retreat threatens to fall apart. Afterward it comes together in a new and touching way.

B. Alan Wallace, PhD, is a long time Buddhist practitioner, a former Tibetan monk, a scholar, and a scientist based in Santa Barbara, CA where he founded the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies. He has spent over 40,000 hours in meditation, much of it in solitary retreat in the Sierras and in India. He has written and translated over thirty books. In the film his explanation of the Buddhist understanding of consciousness provides a comprehensive framework for the eight week retreat.
For details about his background, writings, and work visit and

A David Cherniack film
Duration: 108 minutes
Soundtrack: 5.1 Surround
© Dharma West Ltd. 2013



August 13, 11

Editing has been completed on Dharma Rising and The Conscious Universe. (see Filmography for descriptions). These films took me right around the world on a four month shoot. (It seems there's something about four month shoots that appeals to me but I don't have a clue what!) The locations were California, Colorado, NY, Connecticut, Vermont, Germany, England, Wales, the Netherlands, France, and Thailand.


August 7, 09

Transcripts for a batch of interviews from UFOs: The Secret History added.

Sixty-odd interviews were conducted during a 4 month, 18,000 mile,
RV odyssey of a shoot around North America, and on 3 additional jalopy jaunts from Toronto.

Today's batch includes Michael Swords, Jerry Clark, Stanton
Friedman, Eddie Bullard, Mark Rodeghier, Richard Dolan, and
Al Harrison.


August 5, 09

Explore the extensive DVD menus for the UFOs: The Secret History.

A link to the interactive Flash file has been added to the UFOs: The Secret History DVD page in the shop. Click on the link, then on Play Scene, then on the forward and backward arrow keys to explore the content of the DVD.

To come: the same for the two addenda DVDs.

July 21, 09

Welcome to the new world of internet narrowcasting.

This web site replaces the text-based site I did up in 1996 when the web was still very much in its infancy. Today the web is poised to lift off and become a world wide broadcasting medium, freeing filmmakers and content providers of all stripes from the shackles of conventional broadcasting. It would be presumptuous to pronounce the traditional broadcasting media dead, and the fact is they'll be around for a long time to come...but...a new dawn is arriving as we speak and this site is intended to explore the kinds of possibilities presently becoming available.

The fact is we can now stream High Definition content to most high speed internet connections anywhere in the world. For content providers this is wonderfully liberating as it opens up distribution possibilities that never existed before and ways to free content from the requirements of conventional broadcasters to put eyeballs in front of commercials....a need that with the 500 channel universe has caused them to chase viewers by producing sensationalistic, salacious, lowest-common-denominator, can-it-possibly-sink-any-lower?-Yes-by-Christopher-it-can, programming.

My intent here is not to tar all conventional broadcasting with the same feathers. Some of them do manage to create programming that rises above the swamp bottom, and in the last dozen years the pay-per-view networks have produced dramatic series that have elevated that art form to new heights. Nevertheless the general trend has been downward as ad revenue has become more fractured. Documentaries produced for broadcast have suffered the most.

The production of documentaries has never been inexpensive. And their viewer numbers, and corresponding ad revenues, have never been as high as entertainment oriented programming. Canada has always been in the forefront of documentary production for broadcast with support from the government and the cable industry. Today, however, the broadcasters are passing on traditional one-off documentaries, preferring to use shrinking funds to produce 'reality' series that are manipulated for dramatic effect and greater numbers of eyeballs. The numbers of real documentaries being produced is declining rapidly. Enter the new web...sort of.

While it's true that the internet now provides an equal quality of distribution to traditional broadcasting, it doesn't provide an equal level of production funding, at least not at present. Nevertheless the intent of this web-site is to experiment with possibilities. Initially, aside from offering DVDs, we'll be offering video-on-demand at low costs...quick payment via Paypal and instant viewing at up to High Definition quality on the user's computer screen. And as flat panel televisions become internet-capable, something already underway, the viewing experience will move from computer screen to living room wall.

While this kind of revenue stream can't be expected to provide adequate funding for new documentaries, even the low cost All-in-One kind that we've been producing, the future would appear to be rife with possibilities if a potential world-wide audience for this kind of programming can be reached.

The term 'narrowcasting' was used above in the very first sentence. Narrowcasting is what internet delivery can accomplish. Broadcasters have to create programming that looks for the widest possible audience within a limited geography. We can establish an audience from people of similar interests around the globe. As a filmmaker working with subjects that do not exactly have wide appeal this is truly exciting.

So if the films here interest you please create a user profile and leave comments, write reviews on the films, and participate in the forum discussions.