On Saturday, May 7th, 2011, the Discover the Gift “mobile unit” arrived outside the Regent Showcase Theater on La Brea in Los Angeles, preparing for a 7 p.m. screening of Discover the Gift as part of the 2nd Annual Awareness Festival: a four-day fundraising event featuring more than 65 feature and short films along with forums with the filmmakers that was created and managed by Heal One World, a non-profit charity (read more about the mission of the Awareness Festival).
Award-winning director, Demian Lichtenstein, along with second unit directors and co-producers Markus and Mason Canter, helped to create a sense of celebration for this screening, which was billed as a centerpiece of the festival’s Saturday evening. Ticket-holders lined up before the doors opened and had the chance to participate in the Awareness Festival’s award balloting.
As the crowd of 100 settled before the film began, Demian brought the audience together as a community with a brief meditation prior to sharing the film. And then as the lights went down, and the documentary began, the restored art deco theater filled with the music of the soundtrack composed by Carlos Jose Alvarez who was also in attendance.
The glorious images of the film unfurled along with the personal narrative of Demian and his sister and co-creator, Shajen Joy Aziz. Their unique story framed the eight steps toward discovering one’s Gift, illuminated by the wisdom of the more than two dozen transformational leaders featured in the film. Paul Heussenstamm, a fine artist whose exceptional mandala art is featured throughout the film, shared the audience’s experience with his wife.
“It was an honor to be a part of the Awareness Festival and the Heal One World community in Los Angeles this past weekend,” says Demian Lichtenstein. “How extraordinary it is to be a part of this growing global movement of consciousness and love. The spirit of sharing and compassion, not competition, was infectious and beautiful. May we continue to grow. Thank God for the awareness.”
Shajen Joy Aziz sent good vibes from her home in New England, where she and her family are visiting before beginning the Discover the Gift cross-continent tour. “This journey continues to unfold in the most magnificent of ways,” she says. “Our family is delighted to be sharing Discover the Gift at the 2nd annual Awareness Festival. We believe awareness is a key aspect on the journey to discovering your Gifts. We describe this awareness as being ‘present to your presence’ – aware of yourself and your impact on the earth and those around you. We are honored for the opportunity to share in the Gift of awareness.”
A forum with the filmmaker followed the screening. Demian was joined by Discover the Gift featured speakers Niurka and Paul Heussenstamm along with the Canter brothers and composer Alvarez to answer audience questions in an exchange that lasted an additional 25 minutes.
It was a celebration, an inspiration, and a great time for all.