Thanks to all who came out to support the West Coast launch of the film in Los Angeles. The premiere in Santa Monica went so well. It was gratifying to see Mantra on a large screen, with great sound, and to share this special moment with our Bhakti friends in California.
Much gratitude to Dave Stringer and C.C. White for joining me in the Q&A’s after the screenings on Friday and Saturday night, and what a support it was to have some of the Mantra movie team and our GATHR colleagues sharing the premiere experience! Thank you Wari Om (DP and Co-director) Charlie Cantrell and Howard Glasser (executive producers) and Meg Evans (production assistance). And on Saturday we were blessed to have Neil Martin and his friends who played a beautiful kirtan right after the screening at the cinema.
Mantra was shown four times daily in Santa Monica and sometimes I had an opportunity to speak with some people after the screening including an Indian family who had just come out of the cinema. I asked them if they’d liked the film, and they said that they were very touched by it. Two of the women had tears in their eyes which brought tears to my eyes too. I am so grateful that the message of Mantra and Kirtan is coming through to people. It’s what we’ve been working for, for so many years, and now it’s starting to happen.
The next day myself and Wari had another deeply moving experience starting the film with some of the inmates at San Quentin. It felt special as we walked through the gates together with almost the same crew members we’d filmed with, back in 2016. We were so excited as we crossed the courtyard as we saw some familiar faces again. Jai Uttal and his friends joined us to lead a Kirtan after the screening.
I felt incredibly honoured to be there, sitting among the inmates, watching Mantra with them, listening to and seeing their reactions. It became a new experience for me. This time I felt the emotion in the room, and cried for the first time while I watched it. On this occasion, without the pressure of filming, we had valuable time to connect and talk with them. I am deeply grateful that Mantra has given me the opportunity to meet these wonderful people. Jai’s Kirtan after the screening was once again so energetic and uplifting. We all left San Quentin with smiles in our hearts.
Thank you dear Susan Shannon for helping to make this magic happen.