The market for smartphone applications as a way to distribute media content is growing fast, with an increasing number of people now watching videos on their iPhone, Androids, Blackberries or tablets.
In 2010, ISKCON Communications hopped on board, joining Odyssey Networks to produce videos for its Call on Faith app.
This was the first time Odyssey, America’s largest multi-faith production company, had opened its membership to non-Abrahamic faiths since its founding in 1987.
Its Call on Faith app delivers eighty original short videos on fourteen different channels each month for a one-time download charge of 99 cents. The videos, which convey inspirational, religious and spiritual stories from the world’s greatest faiths and spiritual traditions, are available on iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones and on the iPad and iTouch.
Last year, ISKCON Communications received a grant from Odyssey to produce thirteen short films. Calling the shots was documentary film-maker Krishna-lila Dasi (Krisztina Danka, PhD), who most recently made the films Nature’s IQ and Yamuna: Rescuing the Stolen River.
Last year’s films, which are still available to watch on the Call on Faith app, included The Ultimate Happiness with spiritual leader Radhanath Swami; Does God Like Humor? with professional improv comedian JoeDegise II (Yadunath Das); and advice on how to fight stress and find peace of mind from ISKCON Communications director Anuttama Das and his wife Rukmini Dasi.
On March 5th this year, Odyssey announced a new grant for ISKCON Communications to produce ten more three to five minute films.
Shooting will take place over the summer, and the films are likely to find their way onto the Call on Faith App by this fall.
Four of the films will land in Call on Faith’s “My Story” category.
The first is “The Mantra That is My Life,” in which well-known kirtan artist Gaura Vani—who has been chanting since childhood—shares his gifts in musical celebration.
In Spiritual Philanthropy, Alfred Ford (Ambarisa Das), great-grandson of Henry Ford, talks about how he inherited his interest in spirituality from the automobile magnate, who liked to live simply and invited spiritual discourse with Eastern monks. Alfred Ford also talks about the importance of philanthropy amongst the wealthy, and discusses his own philanthropic efforts such as helping to build the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in Mayapur, India.
Meanwhile in A Hindu Reflection on Natural Disaster, Princeton University Coordinator for Hindu Life Vineet Chander (Venkata Bhatta Das) recalls how Hurricane Sandy struck New Jersey, where he lives, on October 29th—which just happened to be the first day of the sacred month of Kartik. He talks about how he calmed his three-year-old daughter as the wind raged outside, by narrating a story from the Srimad Bhagavatam in which God pacifies violent storms. And he draws spiritual insight from the story, the hurricane and the month of Kartik.
Finally, Anand Poddar (Radha Jivan Das) tells his story in The Monk Within. Born into a wealthy Indian family, he opted to move into a Hare Krishna monastery for ten years rather than take on the thriving family business. When he finally got married, moved to the USA and started his own clothing company—Sacred Threads—he made a vow to himself that he would keep the monk alive within. Now, despite running a multi-million dollar business he lives very simply and donates 75% of his earnings to charity. His main mission is to revive the sacred Yamuna river, which has been declared dead by the United Nations, and has been poisoning millions of people.
As well as these personal stories, Krishna-lila will produce six short films for Call on Faith’s Prayer and Meditation categories. These will feature a soundtrack of kirtan or prayers from ancient Vedic scriptures, along with beautiful visuals.
These videos were specifically requested by Odyssey as something that viewers could not just watch once, but keep coming back to as regular meditations.
The prayers and songs include the famous Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, Sri Sikstakam by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and key verses on the nature of the soul and this world from Bhagavad-gita.
To download the Call on Faith application for your smartphone, please visit: http://callonfaith.com/download.html