Stephen Simon

January: Films About New Beginnings

Spiritual Cinema Circle by Spiritual Cinema Circle | January 7th, 2014 | 1 Comment
topic: Inspirational Media, Personal Growth | tags: 37°4 S, Chronophobe, compassion, DVD club, films, January, Joe Dispenza, movies, new beginnings, Papadopoulos & Sons, Pink Balloons, Spiritual Cinema Circle, Stephen Dillane, Stephen Simon

Our Spiritual Cinema Circle film program for January is inspired by new beginnings.

The short film Chronophobe asks the question: How do we use our time?

Pink Balloons is the story of two strangers learning to understand one another with compassion.

December: Overcoming the Odds

Spiritual Cinema Circle by Spiritual Cinema Circle | November 19th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Inspirational Media, Personal Growth | tags: ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, December, DVD club, films, Granny’s Got Game, Heart of the Country, It Ain’t Over, movies, music, Overcoming the Odds, personal development, Personal Growth, power of laughter, self help, Spiritual Cinema Circle, spirituality, Stephen Simon, The Birdman, Yakov Smirnoff

This month’s Spiritual Cinema Circle film collection is all about overcoming the odds.

It Ain’t Over is a story of hope from a man with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) who has been defying medical odds for over a decade. Granny’s Got Game follows a group of women in their seventies who have been playing basketball together for nearly 20 years. The Birdman celebrates a shopkeeper in New York City who has maintained a sanctuary for music lovers in the midst of the digital age.

October: Communication and Imagination

Spiritual Cinema Circle by Spiritual Cinema Circle | September 25th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Inspirational Media, Personal Growth | tags: Alby Hurwit, communication, DVD club, emotional baggage, films, imagination, Imagine, Marilu Henner, memory, movies, music, October, Portugal, Relationships, Spiritual Cinema Circle, Stephen Simon, symphony, The Gambling Man, What is That?

Our films for this month focus on communication and imagination. In the high-concept short Baggage, a young man reclaims some emotional baggage he thought he had left behind for good. In The Gambling Man, we visit the inspiring real-life story of Alby Hurwit, a retired doctor who pursues his life-long dream to compose a symphony. And in What is That?, a father and son learn to reconnect.

September: Journeys of Love

Spiritual Cinema Circle by Spiritual Cinema Circle | August 19th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Inspirational Media, Personal Growth, Relationships | tags: A First Date, beautiful, Dominic Chianese, DVD club, films, love, movies, online dating, Relationships, Rhinos, Spiritual Cinema Circle, Stephen Simon, The Last New Yorker

Spiritual Cinema Circle’s September films focus on the journeys we take to find love.

The Last New Yorker, starring veteran actor Dominic Chianese (Uncle Junior in The Sopranos), asks the question: “Is it ever too late to find happiness?” This feature is a great exploration of a man looking at his life all over again.

June: Films of Compassion and Connection

Spiritual Cinema Circle by Spiritual Cinema Circle | May 21st, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Inspirational Media, Personal Growth | tags: compassion, connection, DVD club, empathy, fatherhood, film club, media, movie trailer, movies, personal development, Personal Growth, SCC, Spiritual Cinema Circle, Stephen Simon, video

The Spiritual Cinema Circle film selections this month explore empathy in the lives of families, friends and strangers.

In the short film Of Teaching Killer Whales Compassion, a homeless young man adrift in society finds hope for change after a chance encounter. A behind-the-scenes written interview with the filmmakers is included in the DVD insert. Our other short films this month, Lucy and Far, also tell stories of people seeking connection in the world.

May: A Month for Mothers

Spiritual Cinema Circle by Spiritual Cinema Circle | April 24th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Inspirational Media, Personal Growth | tags: Chaske Spencer, communication, daughter, DVD club, family, Fetch, films, Gil Birmingham, grandmother, In Transit, Korinna Sehringer, May, mother, motherhood, mothers-day, movies, Native American, OMG, Q’orianka Kilcher, Shouting Secrets, Spiritual Cinema Circle, Stephen Simon

What does the idea of “family” mean to you?  Spiritual Cinema Circle’s May film selections explore family, identity and home.

In the short film OMG, a teenage girl and her grandmother learn to communicate in the modern age, with hilarious results. In Transit shows a touching encounter between strangers at a bus stop who find they have more in common than they think. And Fetch is the story of a young boy who is trying desperately to find his mother.

March: Just in Time

Spiritual Cinema Circle by Spiritual Cinema Circle | February 18th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Inspirational Media, Personal Growth | tags: 2013, Argentina, Awaken, bedtime story, broken hearts, Chinese Take-Away, daughter, father, love, March, memories, mother, movies, personal development, Personal Growth, Pioneer, Ricardo Darin, Roger Ebert, short films, son, South by Southwest Film Festival, Spiritual Cinema Circle, spirituality, Stephen Simon, The Camera, Tick Tock Time Emporium, time, time travel, Un Cuento Chino

The March film selections from Spiritual Cinema Circle focus on how we measure the value of our time.

Chinese Take-Away (Un Cuento Chino) is the feature film for subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. Directed by Ricardo Darin, this film from Argentina is a powerful story about two men from completely different worlds who, in the most unlikely ways, help each other heal their broken hearts and spirits. Film critic Roger Ebert awarded it his top rating.

Awaken, this month’s feature film for international subscribers, is a mind-bending and heart-opening time-travel love story where two lovers meet and change each other’s lives in a completely unique environment.

The Camera is a haunting, wordless short film that reminds us of the power of  love and the magic of memories.

In Tick Tock Time Emporium, a girl who desperately wants more time with her mother enters a strange shop where time is actually for sale.

Pioneer focuses on a mysterious, haunting bedtime story that a father tells his son. This powerful short film was voted the Best Narrative Short at the South by Southwest Film Festival.

February: Love in Many Forms

Spiritual Cinema Circle by Spiritual Cinema Circle | January 23rd, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Inspirational Media, Personal Growth, Relationships | tags: A Bird of the Air, breakup, broken heart, computer, couple, documentaries, DVD club, feature film, films, friend, friendship, Jackson Hurst, love, Love Hacking, Lunch Date, Margaret Whitton, marry, movie trailer, movies, MRI technology, online dating, Rachel Nichols, Roger Towne, shorts, Spiritual Cinema Circle, Stanford University, Stephen Simon, The Love Competition, Valentines Day, wedding

This month, Spiritual Cinema Circle highlights films about love in all its many forms.

A Bird of the Air is our February feature. Filmed in New Mexico, it tells the story of a solitary man (Jackson Hurst) whose life is altered by both a stray parrot and a woman (Rachel Nichols) who inspire him to ask questions about his past — and his future. A Bird of the Air was directed by Margaret Whitton and written by Roger Towne, best known as the writer of The Natural, which starred Robert Redford.

Stephen Simon’s Favorite Films of 2011

Stephen Simon by Stephen Simon | January 13th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Inspirational Media, Personal Growth | tags: best movies of 2011, Dolphin Tale, Everything Must Go, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, favorite films, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Spiritual Cinema Circle, Stephen Simon, The Artist, The Descendants, The Tree of Life, We Bought a Zoo, Win Win

Tree of life movie still

Although I am proud to be a voting member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, I have a conceptual issue with the notion of “Best” film, actor, etc. Art is way too subjective to be making objective distinctions. For me, it is simply impossible call one film or a performance “better” than another. Who, for instance, is to say that Mozart wrote “better” music than Chopin, or that Gauguin was a “better” painter than Van Gogh?

For these reasons (as well as the incredible personal politics surrounding nominations), I feel much more comfortable using the phrase “favorite film.”

Another criteria for this list is a simple question that I ask myself: Do I feel better about being human after having seen the movie? This personal qualifier is certainly not a part of the Academy voting rules, but it is an essential one for me.

While I respect others who praise the “craft” of slickly produced and directed films that illustrate how violent, cruel and/or awful we can be as human beings, I personally do not want to feel assaulted or depressed by a dramatic film. I acknowledge all the fear, cruelty and negativity in the world and need only read a newspaper or watch the news or any one of several documentaries to see that side of our humanity. For me to enjoy and recommend a narrative film, however, I want it to show that, despite all the challenges and frailties we have as human beings, we can also be a generous, compassionate species that consciously loves, forgives and embraces the wonder and magic of life itself.

Here are my favorite, life-affirming films of 2011:

Celebrate Global Oneness Day, October 24th

Gaiam Staff by Gaiam Staff | October 18th, 2011 | 2 Comments
topic: Conscious Living News, Giving Back, Inspirational Media, Personal Growth, Relationships | tags: Andrew Harvey, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Bruce Lipton, community, Deepak Chopra, Don Miguel Ruiz, free telesummit, Global Oneness Day, Humanity's Team, Lynne McTaggart, Neale Donald Walsch, October 24, Personal Growth, Spiritual Cinema Circle, spirituality, Stephen Simon, The Four Agreements, The Shift Network, United Nations, universal

Global Oneness Day

“What is Oneness?

Oneness is more than a beautiful word. Science increasingly shows it is our true nature – that life is a unified whole with multiple dimensions, each complementing the other.

Beyond that, Oneness is the key to peace.”