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About the movie: "ScaredSacred"

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Black/white photo of a person with arms outstretched to the sky From a synopsis of the movie:

"ScaredSacred deftly weaves together stunning footage with haunting memories, inspirational stories, and an evocative soundscape. Featuring an engaging, first-person narrative, this film is an exquisite portrait of a search for meaning in times of turmoil, a luminous gift to a world in shadows." 1

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As the millennium approached, filmmaker Velcrow Ripper was distressed at the widespread famine, war, disease, destruction in the world. He decided to directly tackle his fears for the future by traveling to the many of the "ground zero's" -- places where the worst horrors of the 20th century had occurred.

He searched out and found hopeful signs at each of eight locations, including :

bullet Bhopal, India, where the chemical leak at the Union Carbide plant killed thousands of people in 1984. He visited a holistic health clinic founded by survivors and
bullet Cambodia, where the genocidal Khmer Rouge killed millions of people in a massive genocide. He found a former child soldier who now clears anti-personnel mines.
bullet Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina the site of an inter-religious genocide that killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims, Roman Catholics and Serbian Orthodox believers in the 1990s. He found a couple creating art forms from the castoffs of war.
bullet Afghanistan where fundamentalist Muslims oppressed the population for years. He found a Sufi musician who was prohibited from singing by the Taliban, but who "found a novel way to keep his life filled with music." 2 He filled his home with songbirds.
bullet New York City, the site of the 911 attack on the twin trade towers. There, he met a Buddhist priest who taught him to "Breathe in suffering; breathe out compassion."

Other sites visited were Wounded Knee, Israel, Palestine, Auschwitz, and Hiroshima.

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As of 2005-OCT, ScaredSacred and its director have received nine awards:

bullet Special jury prize at the Toronto International Film Festival
bullet Top ten films of 2004 at the Toronto International Film Festival Group, 2004
bullet Best film at the New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival
bullet Audience award (runner-up) at the Vancouver International Film Festival
bullet Best of the festival - programmers' choice at the Florida Film Festival 2005
bullet Best documentary at the Whistler International Film Festival, 2004
bullet Best documentary (2nd Place), Best Canadian Picture (2nd Place), Best Canadian Director (2nd Place) at the Vancouver Critics Circle Awards

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Film data:

bullet Writer, cinematographer, editor, sound designer, narrator, and director: Velcrow Ripper
bullet Produced by: Cari Green & Harry Sutherland of Producers on Davie Pictures, and Tracey Friesen of the National Film Board of Canada
bullet Initial release date: 200
bullet Length: 104 minutes, 53 seconds.
bullet First showing in the in Vancouver, BC, Canada on 2005-SEP-06
bullet National launch in Toronto, ON and Calgary AB, Canada on 2005-OCT-21.
bullet First TV viewing: 2005-OCT-26, 9 PM ET on Vision TV (Canada only)

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Some comments by reviewers and others:

bullet The film was given the special jury prize at the Toronto International Film Festival with the citation: "For taking the audience on a very personal journey that has universal resonance in a time of paranoia and uncertainty and for finding hope in moments of despair."
bullet The Province: "Remarkably moving, strikingly beautiful and surprisingly hopeful...Ripper's startling images of destruction and resilience often arrive so unexpectedly that you're kept on the edge of your seat. The film looks at disputes without rhetoric, providing testimonials that will break your heart. But nothing that happens here will break the human spirit. Anyone who sees this movie will be the better for it."
bullet The Courier: "A must see!"
bullet Daryl Hannah, Actor/Activist: "An inspiring, beautiful film that left an indelible impact on me."
bullet Atom Egoyan: "ScaredSacred conveys a sense of spirit and longing, harnessed with a compassionate sense of urgency."
bullet National Film Board: "Through stunning, evocative footage we visit places that have witnessed some of the darkest moments in human history: the minefields of Cambodia, post-9/11 New York City, the toxic wasteland of Bhopal, wartorn Afghanistan, Hiroshima, Bosnia, Israel and Palestine. In each place, we meet people striving to transform tragedy into hope.....ScaredSacred is an exquisite portrait of a search for meaning in times of turmoil and the human potential for survival and enlightenment."

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Ordering the movie:

Copies can be shipped to Canadian addresses. However, the National Film Board appears to be unable to send it to other countries at this time. does not stock it. As of 2005-OCT, the documentary is only available on VHS tape.

bullet Go to the store on the National Film Board's web site at:
bullet Answer the two questions on the NFB Store form.
bullet Do a search by title for "Scared Sacred" (with a space)

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References used:

  1. "Synopsis | ScaredSacred," Scared Sacred Films Inc., at:
  2. "ScaredSacred," Vision TV, at:
  3. See the movie trailer in Windows media or Quicktime at:

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Copyright 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2005-OCT-19
Latest update: 2005-OCT-19
Author: B.A. Robinson

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