The Dhamma Brothers have taken their own passage to India and discovered a practice of meditation that guides them down their inner path to freedom.
– John Lewis, U.S. Congressman
“Jenny Phillips is a cultural anthropologist, filmmaker, writer and psychiatric nurse. She has a psychotherapy practice in Concord, MA, specializing in crisis intervention, family and marriage therapy, behavioral medicine, and mindfulness training. In 2002, working with the Alabama DOC, Jenny successfully brought a Vipassana meditation program inside a maximum-security prison in Alabama. In 2008, Phillips produced and directed a documentary film, The Dhamma Brothers, with a national theatrical release and national broadcast on public television. Jenny is producer/director of Beyond the Wall.” (from beyondthewallfilm.com)
In this episode, Jenny shares reflections her two films on the inner lives and struggles of those who have been incarcerated. She also discusses two of the most important teachers of her life and offers some advice for young filmmakers seeking to bridge social action and film.
Jenny Phillips is a cultural anthropologist, filmmaker, writer and psychiatric nurse. You can learn more about Jenny and her work through the websites:
EPISODE SHOW NOTES
Films by Jenny Phillips
Books and Resources Mentioned
- Omar Rahman
- Donaldson Correctional Facility
- Bruce Stewart
- Jonathan Crowley
- Rick Smith
- S.N. Goenka
- Larry Singletary
- John Johnson
- Louie Diaz
- Billy Cabrera
- Andrew Olendzki
- Bryan Stevenson
- Congressman John Lewis
- Andrew Kukura
Contemplative Practices (42m37s)
- Vipassana Meditation
- Hot Chai
1m20s How does the term contemplative relate to you and your work?
4m30s How did you go from cultural anthropologist to filmmaker?
8m37s Any updates on The Dhamma Brothers since the film?
12m05s You mentioned that two of men you meant in the prison became some of your most important teachers, why was that?
17m40s What was the rhythm of the meditation retreat for the incarcerated men?
23m24s Did other prisons copy this retreat?
30m What did the prison guards and officials think of the inmates practicing meditation?
32m08s What is the premise of your new film Beyond the Wall?
37m30s How did you first connect with Louie and Billy?
40m08s What would it take to have a massive prison reform in our country?
42m37s What is your contemplative practice? Year long study of sutras, Vipassana meditation
44m30s What has become more meaningful as you walk this contemplative practice?
46m35s What advice would you give a young filmmaker seeking to focus on the intersection of spirituality and social justice?
48m40s What projects are on the horizon, if any?
53m28s Drink Recommendation
Photo credit: Death To Stock Photo