Film has played a major role in my life for as long as I can remember, helping to inspire purpose in my life and my own personal growth. I can honestly say if it weren’t for my passion for film, I probably wouldn’t be the compassionate and thoughtful person I am today.

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In particular I love films relating to health and wellness. In addition to being entertaining, they offer us as viewers true food for thought to not only reflect upon but to also consider incorporating into our lives.

We at CE are incredibly happy to be a sponsor of this year’s ILLUMINATE Film Festival taking place in Sedona, Arizona from June 1st – 5th.

The ILLUMINATE Film Festival showcases cinematic gems geared towards individuals who choose to live kinder, wiser, more enlightened lives. They recognize that humanity craves inspiring stories that push people to journey towards happiness, freedom, abundance, and peaceful coexistence. As their website explains, “Spanning human journey tales to mindful meditations to ground-breaking explorations of mind-body science, ILLUMINATE films remind us who we are by awakening the heart to embody love once more—for ourselves and each other.”

As part of our sponsorship, I had the privilege of getting a first look at 3 wellness-themed documentaries premiering at this year’s festival. Here is my review of the films, all of which I truly believe you need to take the time to check out:

PURSUING HAPPINESS

This documentary isn’t like the countless other happiness documentaries out there, which try to delve deep into the human psyche to explain scientifically why we chase ‘happiness.’ Director, producer, and editor Adam Shell decided instead to take a more human approach, using anecdotal evidence from some of the ‘happiest people in the world’ to explore the subject in a unique way. He created a kickstarter campaign encouraging people to reach out to him with the name of a friend or family member they believed was always happy. Adam and Nicholas, who partnered with him on this project, met with over 400 people from all over America and believe me, you will meet some pretty loveable characters.

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While the film focuses on these personal experiences, it still explores the science behind our pursuit of happiness. This film is sure to touch your heart, offering an explanation for happiness that is striking in its simplicity. I highly encourage you to go check out this film with anyone who is near and dear to your heart. Heck, bring the whole family! This is definitely a film to leave the house for.

Sneak peek available on the film’s official website.

THE C WORD 

A flawlessly well-rounded documentary, this film covers the simple steps we can take in our own lives towards fighting cancer. Beautifully narrated by Morgan Freeman, it offers a glimpse into the life of David Servan-Schreiber, the passionate man behind the book and movement called Anti Cancer which covers 4 practical pillars for prevention. Meghan O’Hara investigates these pillars thoroughly with the help of doctos, medical researchers, and scientists, covering everything from the ludicrous FDA approval system and the heavy toxcitiy in our foods and products to the truth about cancer — that we all have it. I highly encourage you to check out this film which is unlike any other cancer documentary out there. It offers a beautiful perspective on the people who are helping to fight this disease, both with a cancer diagnosis tag and without. You are most likely going to fall in love with David’s childlike attitude, which uplifts all those around him, and Meghan’s blunt perspective to her own uphill battle with the C word.

VEGAN: EVERYDAY STORIES

This isn’t your typical vegan documentary. Aside from giving you information about the benefits of veganism, this film explores what the core of this lifestyle change is really about: compassion. Vegan: Everyday Stories invites you to take illuminatea look into the world of 4 very different vegans. You learn about why they made this lifestyle change and how they’ve maintained their inspiration to save animals all over the planet. There are some special guests who make an appearance such as NFL player David Carter, Russell Simmons, and Moby and Neal Bernard.

And don’t worry — you won’t be confronted with shocking scenes meant to horrify you into making the switch. You will, however, hear a true story about one woman’s experience in a slaughterhouse and it is still as heartbreaking, if not more so, than the visuals would be.
These stories are from unlikely characters, from 8 year-old vegan activist Genesis Butler to ex-addict and now ultra runner Yassine Diboun. This doc really brings some  perspective which may help any person still standing on the fence about committing to a different lifestyle, as each story highlights the turning point which led each person to where they are now. I invite you to see this documentary, not to convince you to make the switch to veganism, but to connect with people who are just like you.

How To See These Films

Your next opportunity to see these films will be at the ILLUMINATE Film Festival. To find out more information about the festival or to buy tickets, please check out their site: www.illuminatefilmfestival.com


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