Sunset  
A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE  
  
 
 
 
 

 
 
Production Notes

 

Although I’ve been interested in the effect that spirituality and religion has had on world events since the 1980s, this specific project is the outcome of a transformation which began shortly after September 11, 2001. During this transformation there were several serendipitous events that led to openings in developing the story about the 1905 peace conference. These events are ultimately what pushed me to follow through with this documentary. This project was and continues to be a labor of love for me.


The Transformation

I worked for over 35 years in the fields of marketing and program management within the computer industry. As I thought about life after the corporate world, I began to feel a need to stretch my wings and head toward more creative endeavors. So I signed up for my first ever photography class. Excited about my new track, I began thinking about how to better capture the beauty I saw around me. However, just days before I started the class, the events of 9/11 shocked the world. While I had taken pictures before with my point and shoot, the formal photography training and the tragic events of 9/11 began to change the way I looked at the world. Even though I was still holding onto the corporate world, these events were really the first steps toward understanding and developing my creative side.


In 2002 I took another photography class to continue building on the creative transformation that was taking place in me. During this second class I started gaining a stronger sense of subject matter, shot composition, learning to tell a story and a much stronger knowledge of my camera’s capabilities. It was not long after this second class that my path parted ways with the corporate environment. Free from corporate regimen I now had time and mental freedom which led to a home study program designed to uncover my artistic nature.


In the years that followed I took courses in screen writing, poetry, nature writing and transformational writing. Each one added new experience that created a foundation for this documentary.


The Documentary
In 2005, while working with the Amherst, New Hampshire Community of Writers, a local group who support each other’s writing interests, I uncovered a surprising connection to the 1905 peace conference that peaked my interest. The leader of the group stated at one meeting that she was a member of the 100th Anniversary Committee.


Until that time my knowledge of the peace treaty had primarily come through knowing of the involvement of Mary Baker Eddy. Through my own spiritual study and my relationship with the Christian Science Church in Boston, I knew quite a bit about Mrs. Eddy. Even though she had written about the peace treaty in her book The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany I had not made the connection to Portsmouth until that moment. The peace conference had taken place only an hour from where I lived and involved one of the world’s most revered spiritual leader at the time. This discovery propelled me to find out what role religion and spirituality played in the 1905 treaty, and if they flowed into the 100th anniversary celebration in 2005.


Deep into my research on this peace conference perspective, I attended a workshop sponsored by the Pontine Theater in Portsmouth, NH. The theater offered to help assist anyone who was interested in developing a short stage piece. I had never performed on stage, except for a short high school graduation skit, and had certainly never thought of writing anything for the stage. However, I felt it would be a significant step in my creative progress and toward understanding whether there was really a story to be told about the spiritual aspects of the peace conference. With the support of the group leaders and of those taking the workshop, I was able to develop a short stage piece about the 1905 peace conference and perform it. The response of the small but appreciative audience helped me see the possibility of a larger project – the making of a documentary.


Other Serendipitous Events

At one point during my creative journey, I met with Ann Gordon Perry and others at the Green Acre Baha’i School in Eliot, ME. Ann is an independent researcher, writer, producer and performer studying and portraying the life of Sarah Jane Farmer – another key spiritual participant in the 1905 peace conference. Ann’s performance during my visit dramatized the story of Sarah Jane Farmer in detail and her role in the 1905 peace treaty. This visit added to my already growing enthusiasm for the project.


On another occasion I showed up unannounced at a Quaker meeting to find a documentary producer named Tom Jackson showing his most recent film. The film compared the experiences of those who responded first in the aftermath of 9/11 to those who responded first during the air strikes in Afghanistan. I had now met a person who was making a living as an independent documentary maker. He and his film not only inspired, they encouraged me to continue with my own film.


The Ideal
I began my documentary quest under the guise that it would be a no-budget production. Thanks to many generous friends and contacts and a marketing award from when I was working in the corporate world, I was able to get all my camera and initial audio equipment for no out of pocket cost. All narration and other contributions were offered by friends or people whom I met during production. However the technical expertise of this project was mostly learned through trial and error during production.


Regardless of my efforts to make this a virtually cost free documentary, I found as I progressed through the project that certain costs could not be avoided. Unfortunately, rights management issues for some music and many images proved to be unavoidable. Even still the total cost of the project is far less than what may be expected for a project like this produced by a veteran production company.


Acknowledgements and Conclusion
As you can see, this project has certainly been a labor of love for me. I am grateful for the many people and organizations, which became a part of this documentary through active assistant or through permission to use their images, music and research. They became part of a story that actually found me. I just told the story. But despite what you may think of the documentary or the topic in general, for me it is important for each and every one of us to nurture the spiritual element in every aspect of our lives no matter where we are on the planet.


 

 
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