Director’s Statement

Director Ward Serrill interviews Tom in Rennes le Chateau, France

Director Ward Serrill interviews Tom in Rennes le Chateau, France

I have always been fascinated by the practice of listening. It set in most deeply when I lived in a remote Alaskan cabin near a waterfall where, for seven years, the sound of water and nature had their way with me. I wanted to make a film about sound, one with a spiritual core. While in southern France in 2009, Sophie and I were researching a film about Mary Magdalene. We met Tom Kenyon and Judi Sion who were doing a workshop on Magdalene near Rennes le Chateau and they agreed to meet us.

 I was aware of Tom Kenyon and had listened to one of his CD’s, which he said was inspired by Mary Magdalene. The most dramatic thing I can say about our meeting with him in France is it led directly to Sophie and I getting married. Tom performed a toning for the two of us and within the hour I had proposed to Sophie. How that occurred is a longer story but eventually, it led to us deciding to do a movie about Tom and his work.

 Tom was a very interesting cat to me, analytical by nature, he defined himself as a musician, and a researcher on the brain and how sound influences brain states. Meanwhile he was experiencing psychic, spiritual or paranormal events that most of us would love to experience – such states named samadhi by the yogis or satori by the Japanese Buddhists.

 Abandoning all conventional musical forms, Tom has invented a way of chanting or “toning” using his nearly four octave voice and taking audiences on sound journeys to deeper states of consciousness.

 As a filmmaker, I was intrigued to make a film about one man’s relationship to and use of sound. Secondly, I saw a film that might normalize psychic experiences. Thirdly, I wanted to make a film that might challenge an audience to go within for some insight. And lastly, I saw a film that carried a message for a planet in peril.

 So began a four-year odyssey following Tom and Judi around to spots in many countries, including caves in France, chandeliered symphony halls in Vienna and a remote island in the San Juan Islands in Washington State where Tom and Judi live.

 The biggest challenge to me was how to make a film about things that are essential invisible: psychic experiences and sound. The solution was a combination of nature imagery and animation. The latter led me to discover the genius of Seattle animator Drew Christie, who was a delight to work with.

 One of the unfair advantages of being a director is you get credit for other people’s amazing work. Key to the collaboration was Editor Eric Frith, composers Jason Staczek and Ian Moore and sound designer Dave Howe. None of it – and I mean none of it – would have happened without the creative brilliance and divine insight of my co-producer and partner in life, Sophie Jane Mortimer.

 In the end, my greatest interest with this film is not to tell just a great story but to also invite audiences to have an experience with sound that transcends the story. I am immensely curious about what will happen.

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7 Responses to Director’s Statement

  1. cynthy sterling says:

    i am immensely curious what will happen as well.

  2. Pauline Guindon says:

    Interested in learning more.

  3. PJ says:

    For too long we have forgotten the intense power of music. The ancients bare witness to its power, animals feel the vibrations as communication, we are beginning to take note.I believe the ancient monoliths are testimony to the sounds and vibrations which resonate not only within out human existence, yet the universal dimensional fields as well. Understanding the true effect of music is an endeavor I happily undertake

  4. Song of the New Earth says:

    Hi Mariza, you can explore Tom Kenyon’s work at: http://www.TomKenyon.com. I think you are also able to email him directly from his site. Thanks, Sophie

  5. As a contemporary of Tom (and Judi), I have spent my life receiving the same teachings, which Tom identifies through his spiritual guidance from the various meditative disciplines of the East and from the contemplative Christianity of the West. I was spared the self-doubt of psychosis only because of my writing a book which bases this guidance upon the evolution of consciousness as it appears in cultural history — using the two modes operandi of our two hemisphere brain, Science and Gnosis. The book is Qi = mc2 [squared] Planetary Initiation into a Qualium Leap in Evolution.

    Just as Tom was taught, unless a critical mass of humanity makes this qualitative change in conscious perception, the Earth’s immune response to our present consumerist world will cause our species’ extinction to save the planetary web of life. The awakening of women will bring about a new balance of the world soul. The World Wars of the last century were a rehearsal for the kind of economic and social organization to create a new Earth, no longer to destroy. I am about to upload this book to Amazon Kindle, but will send a free (unchangeable) PDF copy to anyone who requests it, [email protected]

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