Swans at the Lake will be the first television documentary to comprehensively explore the American encounter with Buddhism over 150 years in the U.S. Director Gaetano Kazuo Maida, who is the Executive Director of the Buddhist Film Foundation and the International Buddhist Film Festival, envisions a panoramic film series focused on the fastest growing spiritual tradition in America, and its influence on the arts, psychology, neuroscience and social activism.
Maida will explore key issues through stories told by leading teachers, artists and critics, and by examining books and artistic expression through the years. He asks: What do Buddhist traditions offer now in the face of world conflicts? Who were and are the key men and women in American Buddhism? How have Buddhist literary and art contributors influenced the American experience? Has America's egalitarian/individualistic ethos affected Buddhist cultures elsewhere? Maida will also explore the historically important transfer of authority in Buddhist traditions here from Asian men, mostly monastics, to U.S.-born men and women who are mostly not monastic.
The director will cast a wide net as he explores the subject with Gary Snyder, Joan Halifax, Jack Kornfield, Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Martin Scorsese, Heng Sure, Herbie Hancock, and scholars and members of Congress, among others.
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The film is in pre-production.