STUART & GREGORY´s work is mostly connected to ordinary people and communities who made a decision to do something positive and constructive to make the world a better place. We have been truly inspired by filming and working with people like Thich Nhat Hanh, Sister Chan Khong and the Plum Village Community, Dr. Jane Goodall, James Lawson - USA Civil Rights Movements Chief Strategist and organizer, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Adolfo Perez, Esquivel, Erin Gruwell from the Freedom Writers, “Playing For Change’s” Daryl Simpson & the Omagh Community Youth Choir from wartorn N. Ireland, Annemarie Bekker from the Anne Frank House in the Netherlands, Zlata Filipovich writer of Zlata’s Diary, Bio-Pioneer Werner Lampert and many others as well as the numerous and incredible teachers, students and workshop participants from several countries with whom we have trained using High-Definition film and media as a positive tool for change.
FairSoul and FairSoul Music is a our film and music brand where we have produced a few Music Videos for passionate actvist music artists and work on Commercial projects mostly for start-up companies as we love their passion, and respect their drive and tireless determination to create something from nothing, to be artists and innovators, and to keep going in the face of adversity.
Thich Nhat Hanh and The Plum Village Community
The story of how we started working with Thich Nhat Hanh, Sister Chan Khong and the Plum Village Community begins at DePaul University in 1999 where Gregory Kennedy-Salemi, one of the founding project members, sat reading a copy of Peace is the Way: Writings on Nonviolence from the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a collection of essays and musings from some of the world’s most preeminent leaders of the peace movement, including Alfred Hassler and Thich Nhat Hanh. The book sparked something in Greg that would create in him a lifelong passion for non-violent activism and eventually be realized in our film series Peace is the Way: A Century of Nonviolent Action.
Of course, such a project is rarely attributable to just one person or one single idea. Indeed this story is laced with an incredible array of kind, devoted, and enlightened individuals, without all of whom this story and this film might never have happened. Fast-forward several years to the meeting of Greg and one such individual, Laura Hassler, the daughter of Alfred Hassler. Laura and Greg developed a strong friendship, and through the sharing of many hours, stories and photos Laura brought to life the memory of her father, described by Thich Nhat Hanh as “Thich Alfred Hassler,” who had died before any of our team had the privilege of meeting him. Though Greg had long since been introduced to the work and writings of Thich Nhat Hanh (affectionately known as “Thay”) through his charismatic mother, it was Laura who provided the connection between her father and this young monk who kept appearing in photos beside him.
During these meetings Gregory also discovered that Laura had lived with and worked with Thay and Sister Chan Khong in Paris during the Vietnam war. Laura shared many stories of living with them in a cramped one room apartment, with Thay writing and composing poetry and Sister Chan Khong working, often until the early morning hours, producing Buddhist Peace Delegation posters on an old mimeograph machine in their tiny bathroom. It was also Laura who first showed Greg a comic book that her father had helped to create, depicting the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Montgomery Bus Boycott – a comic book that would later be translated into Arabic and inspire hundreds of young Egyptian students to take part in a non-violent protest that would eventually lead to the rise of democracy in Northern Africa.
About 1 1/2 years ago Greg and Stuart set out on a campaign to somehow contact Thich Nhat Hanh in the hopes that he would support their effort to spread the word of peace and the story of his good friend, Alfred. Facebook friends were added, and YouTube videos — including one in which Laura filmed a personal appeal to Thay to contact Stu and Greg –- were made. And many, many hours were spent in pursuit of the always-on-the-move Thay. One wonderful day, Greg and Stuart received an email from a member of Thay’s team, Sister Peace: “Thay will meet with you. Come now.” With a big sigh of relief and prayer of thanks to the Universe, Greg, Stuart and Katharina boarded a plane.
From this meeting with Thay and Sister Chan Khong came the inspiration that would re-shape the pieces into a project that would combine the stories of two generations into one voice for peace. Meeting Thay and Sister Chan Khong strengthened the ideas we knew to be powerful and necessary but also made us rethink the approach and scope in terms of audience and creation.
We found that Thay loved the idea of a comic as a way to reach a diverse audience and had even been thinking of creating one of his own! In short, we began to see this film as an ever-growing and changing child and, as they say, it takes a village to raise a child.
Soon after our first meeting with Thay and Sister Chan Khong and the wonderful monks and nuns, that village began to take form. Attracted by the film’s promise, the power of Thay, Sister Chan Khong and Alfred’s stories and the devotion of the small film team to this ambitious project, more and more people began to join the team; talented, dedicated individuals who continue, to this day, to generously give their time and talents, asking nothing in return except to be a part of something that they know is bigger than themselves. And so launched a project that we hope will inspire each of us to be better every day and to work together in harmony to create a better world.
The Secret of The 5 Powers - Official Film website click here
Planting Seeds Of Mindfulness - Official Film website click here
"In the world we are asking, How can our children grow up to be peace-builders? How can they learn to use the conflicts of the past to provide compost for lasting harmony in our communities, our nations, and the world? Planting seeds is a film to answer these questions. It is a project to show us how mindfulness can help to water the seeds of beauty and goodness in each child, and, importantly, how each child can learn to water those seeds in themselves and others for their lifetime, and for successive generations. We are beyond the time of saying that such an education is desirable. For the health, sustainability, and happiness of our global community, it is now our only real option." Br. Phap Luú Plum Village France.
About the film
“Planting Seeds” The Power of Mindfulness (Working title) is based on the book, Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children,by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Community . This feature documentary and animated film will give children and adults an embodied experience of peace and wellbeing as well as effective tools for creating peaceful, happy lives long after the film is over. It will be shot this July in Plum Village, France, during the month-long Summer Retreat, in which thousands of families from all over the world learn how mindfulness can enrich and heal people of all ages.
Jane Goodall Institute
We’ve also have been working and continue to work with with pure joy for the passionate and talented people at the Jane Goodall Institute Austria (JGI-A) and with the amazing Dr. Jane in the Netherlands and again in Austria. We produced a sustainably packaged ‘Reasons For Hope’ DVD for them, and an introductory animation, with the help of Uli Einweg, the After Effects master, for the premiere of the film, ‘Jane´s Journey.’ In Februray 2012 Stuart & Gregory traveled to Uganda and Tanzania (where they had the great fortune to stay at Dr. Jane´s home on the Indian ocean) on behalf of Dr. Jane and the Jane Goodall Institute Austria to film for a future film titled "Ripples of Hope".
Ripples of Hope will take us from Europe to Africa and will tell the story of an 11 year-old girl who dreamt of traveling to Africa, her fierce determination against all odds to realize her dream, and how that childhood vision led her on a lifelong quest to protect the earth and all its living creatures. The film will chronicle the life of “SuperJane,” aka Dr. Jane Goodall and how her “Ripple Power” spread and inspired 12 Tanzanian teenagers to found “Roots & Shoots”, a global youth movement that now empowers over 150,000 young people in over 120 countries..
May 2011 - Austrian Actress Lilian Klebow & Dr. Jane Goodall
Stuart & Gregory filmed Austrian TV and Film actress Lilian Klebow &
Dr. Jane Goodall for a campaign to raise money for JGI Austria's Batwa
Pygmy education and food project in Africa.
In May 2011 we had the truly great pleasure to work with Austrian actress Lillian (Billie) Klebow
and Dr. Jane Goodall. Two deeply passionate women who are doing there best to promote respect,
compassion and action on behalf of and in support of all living creatures. They are two amazing
Animation we produced for Jane's Journey film premiere
This video animation was created for Oekostrom and the Jane Goodall Institute by Stuart & Gregory
for the film premiere of Jane's Journey, the new fantastic film about Jane Goodall's time in Gombe
National Park, and subsequent projects she developed over the past 20 years (janesjourney.net).
Reasons For Hope Film and Sustainable Packaged DVD which Stuart & Gregory filmed, edited and
IFOR Austria Global Education
Our amazing students were inspired to create their own self produced, filmed and edited video based on the Fairtrade Bodies Challenge! The students designed a Fairtrade Cotton Body, while sharing challenging stories of cotton producers worldwide and the environmental and social impact 'normal' cotton has, plus the many advantages of a Fairer world.
Featuring I.F.O.R. Austria's four-time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Japan Niwano Peace Prize & Bruno Kreisky Human Rights Award Winner Dr. Hildegard Goss-Mayr. I.F.O.R Austria's ‘Connecting Peace, Connecting Nonviolence’ – was a training course that dealt with the issue of peacebuilding through active nonviolence with people from a variety of European and Caucasus region countries. The main objectives were to encourage familiarisation with new and innovative insights and methods on issues of peace, active nonviolence, equality, tolerance, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, and to develop common regional and international projects, thus laying the foundation for a sustainable network of young peacebuilders in the EU and neighboring countries from SEE and the EEC.
Stuart, Gregory & Lucia from I.F.O.R Austria, with the wonderful help and assistance of cameraman Philip Steiner & ‘drop-in’ award winning guest documentary filmmaker Taliya Finkel, conducted a ‘Hue-Man Rights’ Media and Film training workshop with 9 outstanding young people who came from Mexico, England, Pakistan, Turkey and Austria. They had just 11 hours to learn storyboarding, camera, sound and green screen editing. The students filmed using an Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 7D, Zeiss Planar lenses, Marshall Monitor, Zoom H4N and an Arri Follow Focus. They edited their films on our Mac Pro, iMac and Macbook Pros with Final Cut Studio, Keylight and Adobe CS5.
Stuart & Gregory trained 7 extraordinarily gifted students from across Central and SE Europe taking part in an intensive week of state-of-the-art media education and empowered learning. They produced 5 videos during the week and at the same time gathered material equivalent to the length of a Hollywood movie that featured in the documentary film of the entire week at the Erste Foundation’s ‘aces Academy 2010’. Milana, Ivan, Mihail, Jasmina, Christina, Marian and Ivana; we thank you.
B.M.U.K.K Creative Conflict Resolution in School and Society
The Power of One - The Power of FairTrade.
The Power of Music to Unite and Transform. After first becoming aware of the Omagh Choir through the most inspiring global music project we have seen to date, ‘Playing for Change,’ we decided to contact Daryl Simpson to tell him about our project connected to "music as a uniting and transformational force," utilizing real stories. We had the great fortune to fly to Northern Ireland to film this module for our BMUKK film project, ‘Creative Conflict Resolution in School and Society.’ There we met some incredible human beings; parents, sons and daughters, Protestants and Catholics, their compassionate secretary Mike and their humble and powerfully inspirational leader Daryl Simpson. Their story and their music is powerful so take a seat and be prepared to smile and cry.
FairSoul and FairSoulMusic are our film and music brands where we have produced Music Videos for passionate activist musical artists and work on innovative commercial film projects, mostly for start-up companies as we love their passion and respect their drive and tireless determination to create something from nothing, to be artists and innovators, and to keep going in the face of adversity.