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May 15, 2017

Encompass New Opera Theatre (Nancy Rhodes, Artistic Director) in association with the Center for Earth Ethics (Karenna Gore, Director) and Union Forum (Derrick Harkins, VP for Innovation in Public Programming), will present PARADIGM SHIFTS Music and Film Festival at Union Theological Seminary, in James Chapel, 3041 Broadway (at 121st Street), New York, NY 10027, from Tuesday, June 13 through Saturday, June 17, 2017.

PARADIGM SHIFTS Music and Film Festival celebrates true stories of courageous people from around the world who are preserving and protecting our planet, oceans, wildlife, and sacred lands. Dedicated to bridging indigenous cultures, women’s wisdom, and the global environmental movement, the festival pairs each film with artists performing a variety of music and dance from jazz and gospel to classical, folk, African, Tibetan, Native American, and new opera and chamber music.

Tuesday, June 13 at 7:00 pm will launch the Festival with MOVE INTO THE LIGHT an opening night ceremony, celebrating nature, water, and the stars through songs that take us on a journey around the world. Composers featured are David DiChiera with the New York premiere of A Letter to Sarah, and Richard Pearson Thomas’ chamber piece, Driving at Night. With singers, violin, piano, cello, and trumpet resonating throughout James Chapel, the evening will lift your spirits and encourage the finding of hope in challenging times. (1’-30”)

Wednesday, June 14 at 7:00 pm will feature a Traditional Ritual Opening Ceremony by Aztec Dance Group Cetiliztli Nauhcampa in Union's beautiful outdoor courtyard, followed by a screening of the film AWAKE: A DREAM FROM STANDING ROCK, capturing the story of the Native-led defiance that forever changed how we fight for clean water, our environment and the future of our planet. Written and directed by Josh Fox, James Spione, Myron Dewey, Floris White Bull. (84”). Q&A following.

Thursday, June 15 at 7:00 pm will feature Haitian music in James Chapel, followed by the screening of the documentary FATHER JOSEPH, a film that illuminates with humor, courage and faith, the mission of a visionary priest from Haiti who fights for women’s rights and economic justice, and survives political violence and a devastating earthquake, while lifting thousands of Haitian peasants out of poverty.

Father Joseph Phillipe and filmmakers Jeffrey Kaufman and Marcia S. Ross will speak following the film. (1’-11”)

Friday, June 16 at 6:30 pm will feature outdoor African music and dance with the Renée Robinson Dance Project in Union’s open-air courtyard, followed by a screening of TAKING ROOT: THE VISION OF WANGARI MAATHAI by Alan Dater and Lisa Merton. A compelling true story of Wangari Maathai,

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate from Kenya, who rallied thousands of women to plant trees, grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights, and defend democracy. (54”)

There will be a Q & A with filmmakers Alan Dater and Lisa Merton, Chair of the International Green Belt Movement, the organization that Dr. Mathaai founded.

On Saturday, June 17 at 3:00 pm will be special music and films for families, children, and youth in James Chapel. Sky Caravan, the performing duo of Ukrainian Violinist Milena Davidowicz, and Russian pianist Elena Panova, will perform exciting Gypsy and Ukrainian music and introduce young audiences to a range of stringed instruments. Everyone will have the opportunity to play an instrument. (30”)

Following the music, a DisneyNature film, EARTH will be shown, starring some of the most magnificent and courageous creatures alive, this epic adventure story traces three animal families on a journey across our planet –polar bears, elephants and humpback whales. Directed by Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, and Narrated by James Earl Jones. (1’-30”)

Saturday, June 17 at 7:00 PM will feature live music from Central Asia in James Chapel, followed by the film THE EAGLE HUNTRESS. Set against the breathtaking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, and featuring some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, this thrilling true story follows the quest of a young girl who is training to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter. (1’-27”). Directed by Otto Bell and narrated by Daisy Ridley.

Q & A following the film.

From Encompass Artistic Director Nancy Rhodes: “Encompass has often brought music to the stage that speaks to environmental awareness and protection with Angel of the Amazon, about the rain forest, and works exploring science, spirituality and indigenous cosmology, with The Theory of Everything, and most recently, Encompass produced The Astronaut’s Tale at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, BAM Fisher. Bringing this music and film festival to New York, together with our friends at the Center for Earth Ethics and Union Forum, just seemed like a natural expression of our values as a cultural organization.”

In addition to films and musical performances, each screening event will also include question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers and individuals affiliated with the cultures, countries, and organizations featured in the film. There will be a Meet and Greet Hub to exchange information and evoke conversation and connections to promote the care for Mother Earth.

The Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) is a forum for education, public discourse and movement building that draws on faith and wisdom traditions to address our ecological crisis and its root causes.

The Union Forum provides innovative ways to encourage public engagement around global issues featuring world-renowned activists and leaders who reflect Union’s historic commitment to social justice through art, human rights advocacy, food justice, and ministry among and on behalf of the poor.

Encompass New Opera Theatre’s, PARADIGM SHIFTS Music and Film Festival is an educational and outreach program designed to bring awareness and knowledge of ecology, environmental issues, and science to adult and youth audiences.

PARADIGM SHIFTS Music and Film Festival is a participant of the New York Opera Fest; Encompass New Opera Theatre is a member of the New York Opera Alliance in partnership with OPERA America, the national service organization for opera and the nation’s leading advocate for American opera.

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