Special Events

Mind Reels 2019

Special Guest Speakers to be announced soon!
Optional Lunch by Farm House Local!

Sponsored by the Acacia Foundation.

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A Bold Peace

Released: 2016  Length: 1hr, 42min

A Bold Peace

A Bold Peace

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Tue, Oct 15 12:00pm Buy Tickets
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Over 70 years ago, Costa Rica became one of the only nations in the world to disband their military and to redirect national resources towards education, health, and the environment. Since then, Costa Rica has earned the number one spot in the Happy Planet Index, a ranking of countries based on measures of environmental protection and the happiness and health of its citizens. And the World Database of Happiness, with data on 149 nations compiled by a Dutch sociologist, lists Costa Rica as number one in self-reported happiness and number one in happy life years.

A Bold Peace juxtaposes the national policy of demilitarization (since 1948-49) with their investment in education, health, and the environment. Pointed parallels and contrasts are made with recent U.S. debates over the national debt, healthcare, the environment and the escalating cost of U.S. militarism. The film features former presidents, Costa Rican government officials, as well as scholars, journalists and citizens of Costa Rica.

Guest Speakers to be announced soon!
MICHAEL DREILING, Co-Director & Producer


Michael DreilingMICHAEL DREILING

Michael Dreiling is Department Head and Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon where he specializes in political and environmental sociology. He is author of two books, numerous research articles, and is presently working on two books and a documentary film series. With Matthew Eddy, Michael produced and co-directed the award-winning feature documentary on Costa Rica’s happy, healthy and demilitarized social democratic society – A Bold Peace, available at Bullfrog Films. Over 70 years ago, Costa Rica became one of the only nations in the world to disband their military and to redirect national resources towards education, health, and the environment. The film has won over a dozen awards at over 200 theatrical screenings on four continents. It is now available in three languages and distributed internationally. Our first major broadcast contract is with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, scheduled for cable broadcast in Canada in late 2019. In May-June 2019, he began filming in Japan for the second feature film in a documentary film series examining comparative paths to peace, disarmament and democracy.

JULIAN D. MUNOZ

Julian_MunozJULIAN D. MUNOZ
Julian Munoz has maintained an evangelistic attitude to all things “Costa Rica” for all of his life. Born to Costa Rican parents and with family heritage dating back over two hundred years in the country, he has dedicated himself to many and varied causes and endeavors supporting Costa Rica. He served as a diplomat for the country in San Francisco, appointed by Dr. Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate during his first presidential term. He has remained a colleague of Dr. Arias since the mid-1980’s and is the US representative for the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Rights. As a UC Berkeley graduate, Julian also served as president of a local architecture and planning firm and later was co-founder of a software technology company with offices worldwide. For Costa Rica, he is also an Olympic Athlete, having represented the country in Alpine Skiing at the 1988 Calgary and 1992 Albertville Olympic Games.

STEPHEN OLSSON, Host

Stephen OlssonSTEPHEN OLSSON
Stephen Olsson returns as our series host. Stephen has produced and directed award-winning documentary films and television series throughout the world for US and European broadcasters, including the BBC, PBS (Frontline, POV, Nova), CNN, Arte, Canal+ and National Geographic. He has worked with diverse personalities including HH.the Dalai Lama, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky, Ben Kingsley, John Cleese, Carlos Santana, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Willy Nelson and others. His films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, The Lincoln Center, Mill Valley and at film festivals worldwide and have received the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award. Stephen is president of the Sausalito-based non-profit media group Cultural & Educational Media CEMproductions.org and has recently released Season Two of CEM’s Global Spirit series on PBS stations nation-wide. (www.GlobalSpirit.tv)

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Obit

Released: 2016  Length: 1hr, 33min

Obit

Obit

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Tue, Oct 22 12:00pm Buy Tickets
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Every morning a small staff at The New York Times deposits the details of three or four extraordinary lives into the cultural memory – each life’s story spun amid the daily beat of war, politics, and football scores. It’s amazing what goes on in the obits.

There are only a handful of editorial obituary writers in the world, and none are better than at The Times, where obits have become some of the best writing in journalism. Documentary storytelling in print. First drafts of contemporary history. Mirrors of life’s great variety, humor and pathos. Neatly framed vignettes of worlds that will vanish along with their notable stars.

OBIT is the first documentary to look into the world of editorial obituaries, via the legendary obit desk at The Times. The film invites some of the most essential questions we ask ourselves about life, memory and the inevitable passage of time. What do we choose to remember? What never dies?

Guest Speakers to be announced soon!
STEPHEN OLSSON, Host

Stephen OlssonSTEPHEN OLSSON
Stephen Olsson returns as our series host. Stephen has produced and directed award-winning documentary films and television series throughout the world for US and European broadcasters, including the BBC, PBS (Frontline, POV, Nova), CNN, Arte, Canal+ and National Geographic. He has worked with diverse personalities including HH.the Dalai Lama, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky, Ben Kingsley, John Cleese, Carlos Santana, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Willy Nelson and others. His films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, The Lincoln Center, Mill Valley and at film festivals worldwide and have received the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award. Stephen is president of the Sausalito-based non-profit media group Cultural & Educational Media CEMproductions.org and has recently released Season Two of CEM’s Global Spirit series on PBS stations nation-wide. (www.GlobalSpirit.tv)

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Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey

Released: 2018  Length: 1hr, 27min

Olompali

Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey

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Tue, Oct 29 12:00pm Buy Tickets
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Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey is the story an ordinary man caught up in extraordinary times, whose life is forever changed by the social upheaval going on around him.

Embracing the spirit of the counterculture revolution during the Summer of Love, wealthy businessman Don McCoy starts a hippie commune at Rancho Olompali, a storied estate in Marin County, California. Calling themselves the “Chosen Family,” the eclectic group of friends and family form their own school, bake bread, experiment with pot and LSD, and throw parties attended by the Grateful Dead, Hells Angels, and Diggers. But the family’s quest for nirvana is short-lived, and their blissful first year is followed by unforeseeable tragedies that turn McCoy’s utopian dreams to ashes. Narrated by Peter Coyote and featuring classic songs from the era, “Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey” reflects the idealism of the hippie movement and its enduring message of peace and love.

MAURA McCOY, Filmmaker

Maura McCoyMAURA McCOY
A native of Marin County, Maura McCoy moved to Southern California to attend San Diego State University, where she received a Bachelors Degree in film. Her interest in the industry brought her to Los Angeles and led to a career in the production of television commercials, providing her with the opportunity to work on scores of national commercials and ad campaigns with top directors and cinematographers. Producing her documentary “Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey” fulfills her lifelong dream to chronicle her father’s life and her own experiences at his commune at Olompali.

NOELLE OLOMPALI BARTON

Noelle Olompali BartonNOELLE OLOMPALI BARTON
Noelle Olompali Barton was born in Hollywood to show biz parents. She was raised on the road until they finally settled down in Mill Valley in 1960. In 1967, Noelle was 16, her mother and their close friends moved onto the Olompali estate where they lived for almost two years. To the outside world Olompali was a Hippie commune, but to the members of the Chosen Family it was our Home.
Noelle, a resident of Sebastopol, is an archivist, storyteller, and the author of the memoir Love Mom and Dad.

STEPHEN OLSSON, Host

Stephen OlssonSTEPHEN OLSSON
Stephen Olsson returns as our series host. Stephen has produced and directed award-winning documentary films and television series throughout the world for US and European broadcasters, including the BBC, PBS (Frontline, POV, Nova), CNN, Arte, Canal+ and National Geographic. He has worked with diverse personalities including HH.the Dalai Lama, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky, Ben Kingsley, John Cleese, Carlos Santana, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Willy Nelson and others. His films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, The Lincoln Center, Mill Valley and at film festivals worldwide and have received the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award. Stephen is president of the Sausalito-based non-profit media group Cultural & Educational Media CEMproductions.org and has recently released Season Two of CEM’s Global Spirit series on PBS stations nation-wide. (www.GlobalSpirit.tv)

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Twelve Pianos

Released: 2017  Length: 1hr, 4min

Twelve Pianos

Twelve Pianos

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Tue, Nov 5 12:00pm Buy Tickets
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Half Moon Bay, California. Mauro ffortissimo, an artist and musician, drags an old grand piano onto the bluffs near his home by the sea. He plays it every evening at sunset for the migrating whales passing just offshore. The internet catches on, the news cameras arrive, crowds swell to hundreds of people. And the city orders it to stop. Mauro responds with an installation of twelve pianos at select locations along the San Mateo coast. In the misty early morning hours, pianos are hauled up mountains, onto beaches, and into cypress groves. For twelve days, world-class musicians, enthusiasts, and novices come to play in the exquisite natural surroundings. And again, he is ordered to stop the music.

With no choice but to bring the pianos to the streets of San Francisco, twelve grand pianos on wheeled platforms roll through the worst parts of town, where the homeless and neglected enjoy an unexpected treat of music. The pianos are stored in a crumbling, condemned building, which soon hosts underground concerts by the city’s finest musicians. San Francisco’s rebellious artist’s soul stirs once again. But why must art have to work so hard to find a place in our world? Twelve Pianos showcases everyday superstars who walk among us, with a deep passion for the arts that will not fit neatly into a box. Filmmaker Dean Mermell and a small, dedicated crew capture the incredible sights and sounds of this unusual passion project that has given birth to the extraordinary annual Flower Piano event in the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park.

DEAN MERMELL, Director/Producer


Dean MermellDEAN MERMELL

Born in Toronto, Canada and raised in Los Angeles, Dean Mermell has been active in the San Francisco media arts since 1996. His films span a unique range, from contemporary silent narratives to documentaries about outsider artists and fringe characters. His short silent films have won numerous awards from festivals such as San Francisco International, Moondance, and the California Independent Film Festival, and have also screened at the Mill Valley film festival and SF IndieFest.

His documentary film, Twelve Pianos, is about Mauro ffortissimo, an artist and musician who dragged an old piano onto the bluffs near his home on the California Coast, and started a kind of cultural revolution in the process.

Dean’s previous documentary feature, The Eye of Rudra, profiles the late artist Pepe Ozan, and the mad opera he produced at the Burning Man festival. In the words of festival founder, the late Larry Harvey, it is “probably the best documentary ever about Burning Man.”

MAURO FFORTISSIMO, Multi-disciplinary artist


Mauro ffortissimoMAURO FFORTISSIMO

Mauro ffortisimo grew up in Argentina, where interest in art and music lead him to study classical piano and visual arts. Emigrated to California in 1981 to further his artistic explorations, taking classes in print making, sculpture and painting in numerous academies: San Mateo College, Art Institute, and Berkeley Extension. Founding member of “849 Folsom Music” a 13 member music and spoken word performance troop that brought vital energy to the San Francisco “South Market” artist underground scene in the pre-dot com years of the late 80’s.

Founding member of the Enso Art Collective and the Miles Davis Memorial Hall, Mauro has been investigating sounds with the deconstruction of pianos, becoming more able to expand the 12-tone scale. He does not subscribe to the romantic notion of a solitary artist, a suffering individual, hidden in a state of despair, creating work that only few can appreciate, instead Mauro travels the world, looking to the mundane, the sacred and the original with the same eyes, and listening to the music of diverse cultures, bringing it all home to work with it’s particular way of assimilation making art and music available to the community.

STEPHEN OLSSON, Host

Stephen OlssonSTEPHEN OLSSON
Stephen Olsson returns as our series host. Stephen has produced and directed award-winning documentary films and television series throughout the world for US and European broadcasters, including the BBC, PBS (Frontline, POV, Nova), CNN, Arte, Canal+ and National Geographic. He has worked with diverse personalities including HH.the Dalai Lama, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky, Ben Kingsley, John Cleese, Carlos Santana, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Willy Nelson and others. His films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, The Lincoln Center, Mill Valley and at film festivals worldwide and have received the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award. Stephen is president of the Sausalito-based non-profit media group Cultural & Educational Media CEMproductions.org and has recently released Season Two of CEM’s Global Spirit series on PBS stations nation-wide. (www.GlobalSpirit.tv)

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Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

Rating: R   Released: 2019  Length: 1hr, 42min

Marianne and Leonard

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

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Tue, Nov 12 12:00pm Buy Tickets
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Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love is renowned filmmaker Nick Broomfield’s most personal and romantic film of his storied career. The documentary starts on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960, where Leonard Cohen, then a struggling and unknown fiction writer, and Marianne Ihlen, a single mother with a young son, became part of community of expat artists, writers and musicians. Never-before-seen footage shot by Broomfield and legendary documentarian D.A. Pennebaker make for a unique portrait of an idyllic 1960’s bohemia. It was a time that left a lasting imprint on both Marianne and Leonard, whose friendship would last another fifty years before their deaths in 2016.

Additional Guest Speakers to be announced soon!
SYLVIE SIMMONS, Author

Sylvie SimmonsSYLVIE SIMMONS
Sylvie Simmons is an award-winning writer, the author of fiction and non-fiction books, and a leading rock music journalist since the late 1970s, when she left her native London, England for California. One of very few women included among the predominantly male rock writing elite, she was the subject of a BBC documentary, The Rock Chick.

Her books include biographies of Neil Young, Serge Gainsbourg, and the highly acclaimed I’m Your Man: The Life Of Leonard Cohen (2012). Sylvie’s Cohen biography, based on interviews with more than a hundred key people throughout Cohen’s life, had Cohen’s support and participation. A New York Times (and international) best-seller, it has been published in 26 languages. Sylvie is also a singer-songwriter and recording artist. Her unorthodox Cohen book tour took her around the world with a ukulele, singing Cohen’s songs. Her own songs have appeared in a number of movies.

When not on tour, Sylvie lives in San Francisco.

JEFFREY D. BROWN

Jeffrey BrownJEFFREY D. BROWN
Jeffrey D. Brown, is an Emmy and Academy Award-winning director, writer and producer. He Cowrote and Produced two features with Finn Taylor, Pontiac Moon and Dream with the Fishes. He is a member of the Global Sustainability Network, the UNODC Artists Ending Human Trafficking. His latest film and his feature film directing debut, SOLD won seven awards at international film festivals. It was shown in over 30 countries with the IOM, at the Trust Women Conference and the Nobel Peace Summit and was released theatrically across the USA in 2014. SOLD built 86 schools in Nepal after the Earth Quake, helped build several safe houses in India, and raised funds to train 50 survivors in PTSD healing. Jeffrey first met Leonard when he was seven-years-old on the Greek Island of Hydra. Marianne’s son Axel was his best friend growing up.
https://www.soldthemovie.com  

STEPHEN OLSSON, Host

Stephen OlssonSTEPHEN OLSSON
Stephen Olsson returns as our series host. Stephen has produced and directed award-winning documentary films and television series throughout the world for US and European broadcasters, including the BBC, PBS (Frontline, POV, Nova), CNN, Arte, Canal+ and National Geographic. He has worked with diverse personalities including HH.the Dalai Lama, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky, Ben Kingsley, John Cleese, Carlos Santana, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Willy Nelson and others. His films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, The Lincoln Center, Mill Valley and at film festivals worldwide and have received the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award. Stephen is president of the Sausalito-based non-profit media group Cultural & Educational Media CEMproductions.org and has recently released Season Two of CEM’s Global Spirit series on PBS stations nation-wide. (www.GlobalSpirit.tv)