Haunting music and smiles abound in the trailer for the film and a deep sense of peace pervades; the film however is not all smiles, the struggle that those enjoying this way of life face is also tackled, reviews of the film applaud her empathic and sensitive yet questioning approach to give an educated and balanced view of a world few know.
Anna has a strength and confidence in herself that allows her to create moving pieces of film work but in an accessible manner, gently and sensitively teasing the best from the monks in an engaging and enchanting style.
As an advocate of world peace, Anna also uses her work towards a better world by donating proceeds from the film to Tsunami relief. She also had a screening to benefit Amnesty.
Anna was nominated for New Zealander of the year as mark of the respect she commands in the film industry. She has worked on over 20 feature films. Described as a force of nature for good, she uses her varied abilities for the benefit of others. She is a voice that can be heard and she has a vision that shines through in her work. "Buddha wild" is a humble fascinating portrayal that allows the monks to speak for themselves and allows us a privileged and informed view into their world.
Acknowledgement includes her humanitarian work on the "Lord of the Rings" film series. She has appeared in multiple television series and magazines.
Wild of name, wild of nature and yet possessing a serene gentleness matched with humour and an inquisitive mind, she sees herself as an ambassador for peace.
Well, hats off first to David Califa, the founder, for setting up a site that connects people universally, people of all backgrounds, religions, cultures, philosophies and faith in the name of peace. My humble film is in part about "loving kindness" and the act of doing it, rather than just saying it. I was invited to the site and I hope it helps having my film there. I like the name "I Peace". The word "I" in this case is an action that requires an individual take responsibility for "peace" and makes people think and do "peace" rather than just say "peace". I have an issue with the word "peace". It is passive. "War'is a very active sounding word. War is business, sadly. "Peace" however sleeps on the tongue and conjures up little motion. We want to be able to say - Peace is business, peaceful business is good. I wish to redefine the word "peace" at one level, or talk about what we intend by saying that. For example when we say the word" peace" are we not saying we live in the act of "doing loving kindness" and showing goodwill to our fellow women and man, our fellow living creatures? So let's focus on the action of that, and do that. Through our own personal lives, our work, products, our services, our business, show goodwill, show loving kindness. Challenge oneself, even in the most difficult situation to show compassion, good will or loving kindness. I wish to redefine and explain what is meant by "peace"- so instead of just saying it, we understand and do it. We "practice" goodwill ,'practice" good intent, "practice" loving kindness' in our day to day lives. (Another thing a website such as IPeace, it's a website, there are no violent marches or rallies, in the name of peace. I always found peace marches if they turn aggressive, a bit ironic on one level, no matter who the aggressor. It gets back down to the use of the word peace and what it means and what is really being said or asked for.)
What was your motivation for making Buddha Wild?,
Buddha Wild was my reaction to an instance of racism I witnessed. I thought I can either deal with this by making a hard hitting controversial film, or I can make a film that shows the joy in the community so that people gain a greater understanding. I chose to make a joyous, upbeat film which does not even mention the words diversity or racism. It's a subtext.
I was doing a Q and A in Canada after a sell out screening. One woman from Africa stood up and was crying. She said" I am so touched by the film and you. I want to thank you so much for making such a film about cultural diversity, no one does" So people do get the underlying themes. Racism and its manifestations are often I think, motivated by fear and lack of understanding of another's cultures. So I chose to make a small, upbeat film, showing the joy and beauty to create understanding. And it worked.
There is in fact no difference whatsoever. My life, work has been the same throughout. It comprises more than what you will just see on films. I am often engaged as a public speaker on environment and other matters. I think I was asked to set up my first Peace Foundation by a nuclear physicist at the age of 18. T his time with Buddha Wild Monk in a Hut in terms of communicating my work, the stars aligned that I was able to have sole charge of a film and make a film I wanted to make in a way I wanted to make it. I hope that happens more often. I can achieve more and get more done. I am just thankful that, at least for me, I can live, and stand by my work. I know how to tell a story and make films and I hope to continue to work with like-minded investors. I would rather develop projects and material that works for greater good or that make people think and I believe it is possible to make money (this being important for investors) telling different stories .The studios and public need to see these kinds of stories doing well. My next film that I hope to make is a different story again- a traditional narrative black comedy. However it too has a strong humanitarian theme and it will again benefit the impoverished communities we work in. There are ways to work.
What do you see as a way forward towards peace in this world and what are your own goals ?
Globally? Integrity of goodwill. Negotiation, negotiation, negotiation combined with the attainment of peace through cultural and diplomatic understanding. On a corporate business level, which is now in part controlling the world- redefinition of the intent ,methods and philosophy of the large corporate organism. I think the banking system could possibly be retooled too.. In the commercial world there are possibly different ways to do things, which would create a greater win-win for all and still allow for success and freedom of the individual or corporation.
We try to take the care to look after others and ourselves. Through our work and how we live our lives, and what we do, a positive difference can be made.
Buddha Wild makes a difference but it also made a difference on the ground as we gave money to the tsunami relief appeal. In fact directly to specific temples who were helping people on the ground to rebuild. As the film sells, and the investors are paid back, more money is donated to areas of need. Those areas may be anywhere in the world at crisis. For example Zimbabwe right now. Here's an analogy I use in one of my speeches, as told by a monk called Bhante Kondanna: A person drops a piece of gum on the ground. This seems insignificant. However, the mother bird on a way to feed her nest of baby birds, picks up the gum .She can't open her beck to feed her babies. If the gum hadn't been dropped in the first place, this wouldn't have occurred. This is our planet, our planet is like that. We need to look after it and be aware of our actions.
My work has been the same throughout. Some of it you see or hear of publicly, some you don't. I knew I have had to contribute to the world and make things better since day one. In Africa a newspaper named me "white angel" for something I did. The fact is it was something we should all be doing every day, looking after our fellow man or woman, if we can. I would like to see corporations apply the better of the philosophies of mankind (womankind) to their operational procedures rather than some of the worst .I am sure it is possible to make money for themselves and stockholders or investors by doing good rather than by doing selfish or greedy acts. I'm strong on bringing situations to task in my day to day life for equality for women.
Do you have a personal message for us all?
Live with loving kindness and do it, show it. Make the most of what you have and what the day brings. We can but do our best, within each of our own capabilities.
Please buy Buddha Wild to help enable further work, and day to day work. Every sale counts and makes a difference. Show the studios and investors these kinds of stories can make money. And more importantly buy it for yourself to be entertained and to gain greater understanding or even just to remind yourself of the blessings in life that you already know. Actually it's funny...I gave as a gift a copy to a friend of mine and before watching it, she gave it to a friend of hers who was sick. Her friend refuses to give it back,even now that she is well. Everyone keeps it!