It was during the fall of 1999 that a group of 40 Western "renaissance" thinkers from all over the world gathered in Dharmasala, India for a conference with the Dalai Lama.
The group came with idealistic goals in mind, principally finding lasting solutions to world problems. A camera crew documented the entire journey and now the film, Dalai Lama Renaissance, will be screened for the first time in Santa Cruz at the Sunday evening.
"I've seen it about five times and each time I leave with something different," said Liza Morell, one of the screening's organizers.
Morell has been a practicing Buddhist for over three decades and said that she took inspiration from one of the film's central messages.
"Everyone who went [to the conference] had such a tremendous sense of idealism and they walk away with a renewed commitment of how to be the change, of how to transform themselves," she said. "I walked away strengthened, affirmed and inspired."
Renaissance is narrated by Harrison Ford and has gone on to win 12 awards. It has been featured in over 40 international film festivals.
"It is very lyrical and poetic," Morell said of the film's production. "It's some of the best footage of the Dalai Lama I've ever seen."
After the screening, an audience Q&A will be held with Khashyar Darvich, the film's director, and Barry Rosen, one of the conference's original attendees.
All proceeds from the screening will benefit the North American Kagyu Monlam, a Buddhist prayer festival for world peace being held in San Francisco June 30-July 1.
Morell said that whether Buddhist or not, all can leave having learned something from the film.
"The Dalai Lama's message isn't for Buddhists," Morell said. "It's for everybody."
Dalai Lama Renaissance will be screened at 7:00 p.m. at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz. For more information, contact Liza Morell at (831) 419-4856.