Opening Night Film
Film ticket includes the full Opening Night program
"The transformational movement has a great friend in Tom Shadyac. He delivers esoteric knowledge to a popular audience, expressing the intersection of ancient wisdom and modern consciousness in a way both entertaining and enlightening. I AM IS A SPARK OF LIGHT AND A WORK OF LOVE"
Watching I AM is, for many, a transformative experience. The film’s great emphasis is on what we can do to make things better. In spirit, this film embraces Buddhist teachings, illustrating how the principles of cooperation, compassion and generosity are universal, and how they resonate at the core of our humanity. It's quite likely that you will walk out of the theater with a somewhat different view of your place in the world.
Our Own Backstory
We had been trying for weeks to get this film for BuddhaFest, but a number of challenges stood in our way. We nearly gave up. Then, one afternoon a few weeks ago, the TV was on in the other room and a familiar voice came floating in. It was Oprah, and this is what she was saying:
Several years ago, Tom Shadyac seemed to have it all: a multimillion-dollar career directing Hollywood blockbusters like Bruce Almighty and The Nutty Professor, a 17,000-square-foot mansion, fancy cars, the luxury of flying in private jets, invitations to extravagant parties and more. It was a life many people dream about. Despite these many luxuries, Tom says something just didn't feel right.
Tom says he had been feeling a sense of emptiness for quite a while when a traumatic bike accident in 2007 left him with excruciating post-concussion syndrome. After several months of what he describes as "torture," Tom began to welcome death.
"Facing my own death brought an instant sense of clarity and purpose," he says in his film. "If I was, indeed, going to die, I asked myself: What did I want to say before I went? It became very simple and very clear. I wanted to tell people what I had come to know. And what I had come to know was that the world I was living in was a lie."
Five months after his accident, Tom began filming I Am to get to the bottom of two burning questions: What's wrong with our world, and what can we do about it?
We scrambled to the phone and immediately renewed our efforts to get the film for BuddhaFest. Suddenly, it seemed like the challenges were being lifted from our path. Tom’s appearance on Oprah made a huge difference. This small film was now on the radar of many people, and the conversation about what we can do to make things right had been started.
More About the Film
Armed with nothing but his innate curiosity and a small crew to film his adventures, Shadyac set out on a twenty-first century quest for enlightenment, meeting with a variety of thinkers and doers; remarkable men and women from the worlds of science, philosophy, academia, and faith. An irrepressible “Everyman” who asks tough questions, Shadyac offers no easy answers. Instead, he takes the audience to places it may have never been before, and presents even familiar phenomena in completely new and different ways.
The result is a fresh, energetic, and life-affirming film that challenges our preconceptions about human behavior, while simultaneously celebrating the indomitable human spirit. Ironically, in the process of trying to figure out what's wrong with the world, Shadyac discovered there’s more right than he had ever imagined.