On July 4th, 2020, the world has lost one of its most inspiring spiritual leaders, Bhakti Charu Swami, to COVID-19. The shock and the loss made thousands of his followers numb, while others expressed their pain by posting their appreciations of their beloved master, or friend, on many different forums around the globe:
“The vacuum felt by Bhakti Charu Maharaja’s departure is immense. And that is how it should be. These feelings of separation are the proper testimony to Bhakti Charu Maharaja’s life—so exemplary, so well lived.” (Bhadrinarayan Swami, San Diego, CA, USA)
“You touched so many hearts from coast to coast, just as you did in Europe, India, and everywhere.” (Kalakantha Das, Gainesville, FL, USA)
“The sweetest person I have ever known.” (Pragosh Das, Dublin, Ireland)
“Although we know intellectually from our philosophy that the ‘soul is eternal and never dies,’ we cannot deny the sadness we feel when a devotee departs.” (Indradyumna Swami)
On Thursday September 17th, Bhakti Charu Swami’s 75th birthday, a team consisting of Bhakti Charu Swami’s disciples, admirers as well as professional filmmakers, have launched a documentary film project with the purpose of celebrating Maharaja’s life and to present the impact he made in the world to a large global audience.
Depending on the support they get via the project’s IndieGoGo campaign (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bhakti-charu-swami-the-documentary/x/5490780#/) and other channels, they are planning to produce two films. A shorter one (10-15 min.) for vast social media distribution to be released around the time of Bhakti Charu Maharaja’s Samadhi Inauguration early next year, and a longer version for television, Amazon Prime, other streaming platforms, and educational distribution, to be released on Maharaja’s disappearance day, on July 4th, 2021.
Both films will be subtitled in a minimum of 10 languages (Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, French, and German.) Additionally, and be sent to film festivals.
The film’s trailer
The project’s core team has several advisors, such as Anuttama Dasa (ISKCON Communications Minister, Washington, DC, Yadubara Das and Visakha Dasi (award-winning filmmakers of Inner Voice Productions, creators of the feature documentary HARE KRISHNA! THE MANTRA, THE MOVEMENT, AND THE SWAMI WHO STARTED IT ALL), Bhakti Prema Swami (Chairman of the Board of ISKCON Ujjain), Mark J. DeGasperi (film critic at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Hollywood, CA, USA; screenwriting professor at New York University) and Avelo Roy (Ajita Das) – serial entrepreneur, MD Kolkata Ventures, 4x TEDx speaker, Kolkata, India.
In the producing team they have Sharon Hamilton-Getz (Saranagati Dasi) – Founder – UN Rep. – ProjectHarmony, Institute of International Social Development, New York, USA ; Arundhati Biswas (Aparajita Radhika Dasi) – MD, activist, Chicago, IL, USA; Krishna Kishor Das – Bhakti Charu Swami’s secretary in his last years, Ujjain, India (associate producer) and Deena Krishna Das – Bhakti Yoga Guide, London, UK (associate producer).
Filip Cargonja (Gaura Govinda Das) has been in charge of the principal cinematography; Aradhya Bhagavan Das and Arjun Bhattarcharyya from Kolkata are providing the core of the still photography, while Ram Charan Das from Ujjain manages the archival materials.
The sound engineering & color editing will be done by award-winning filmmakers Maxim Varfolomeyev (Shyam Gopal Das) and Olga Avramenko (Vijay Radhika Dasi) of Five Pictures, Dubai, UAE, the creators of RECONNECTION.
The company overseeing the process is Karuna Productions (a New York-based company that produced several award-winning films,) in association with the Institute of International Social Development, New York, USA – an NGO with a Consultative Status at the United Nations.
The film’s director is Krisztina Danka, Ph.D. (Krishna Lila Dasi) – a Hungarian-origin USA-based academic and multi-award-winning filmmaker, the producer-director of dozens of short and three feature films including the THE JOY OF DEVOTION, THE STOLEN RIVER and NATURE’S I.Q. (For a full list of Krishna-lila’s films visit: https://www.karunaproductions.com)
“I feel very enthused by the support and encouragement our team has been getting for this project from all over the world,” film director Krishna Lila says. “When we showed the trailer to the devotees at the Zoom Vyasa Puja celebration, they were visibly moved, many of them broke down in tears. We keep getting messages like ‘our heart is still broken, and this film project is something that could help us heal’. I do have faith in art’s healing potentials, but more importantly, I know that Bhakti Charu Maharaja loved films and fully understood the transforming power of visual storytelling. Therefore I feel, a documentary film is a very appropriate way to celebrate his life and help preserve his legacy.”
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Anyone would like to take part in the film project, or contribute to the production, please visit the project’s IndieGogo page (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bhakti-charu-swami-the-documentary/x/5490780#/), or contact email@example.com.
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