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Ilchi Lee: The Spiritualist

 


Ilchi Lee is an author, educator, mentor, and innovator devoted to developing the awakened brain and teaching energy principles. Published over 33 books, including The Call of Sedona, NY Time Bestseller. Founder of Dahn Yoga and Brain Education System Training, Founder Sedona Mago Retreat, a place for spiritual awakening, President Korea Institute of Brain Science and the University of Brain Education. He is also the founder of the International Brain Education Association (IBREA).


 
 

 

The Film Reporter interviewed  Ilche Lee regarding his film "CHANGE: The LifeParticle Effect"

Q: What was your overall role?
I came up with the movie concept and story, and acted as producer.

Q: Did you always want to be in the film Industry?
For the past 30 years, I have been introducing the world to Brain Education and Korean-style meditation methods for the evolution of human consciousness and for world peace. Beginning a little over a decade ago, I have been formulating a plan for bringing this message of enlightenment to the world a little more through the mass media, and I have been preparing, which has included putting together a production team. The movie, Change, is a first step, you could say, toward turning my decade-long wish into reality.

Q: Tell us how Change evolved.
I started putting together the concept of Change about 10 years ago, and, for this, I have been developing the LifeParticle principle, required images, and meditation methods. First, I taught the principles and meditation methods developed in this way off-line through over a thousand Brain Education centers and mind-body training centers worldwide. Responses have been very good, and a growing number of people are finding these effective. Wanting to bring the change concept more to the masses, I have been preparing for about a year with the production team, and, through the production process, have created this documentary movie.

Q: Did you have any unusual difficulties during filming?
You could say it has been a long project; the process of making the movie, of preparing and guiding its production, took a little over 10 years. However, once I resolved to actually make a movie, I found that the work flowed along very quickly, and I'm thankful for the spontaneous help many people gave us.

Q: Will winning awards help promote the film? How so?
Yes. The media in my home, Korea, have taken interest and have already reported on the award(s), and distributors have been contacting us from the United States, as well.

Q: How much money did it cost?
Production and marketing costs came to about $200,000.

Q: How did you finance that?
I invested my own funds at first. We were able to finish the movie well, though, thanks to support from Brain Education centers around the world that wanted to take part in the project.

Q: Where were the locations?
The main filming location was Sedona, Arizona, and we also filmed around the world, including in Japan and Korea, and in major American cities like Chicago, New York, and LA.

Q: To what audience is Change suited?
We could say anyone who wants change. Those who have been wanting to change something about their lives but have not known where to begin, I think, might find this movie helpful.

Q: Any bites yet from distributors?
We're constantly being contacted by Korean, American, and Japanese distributors, and we're discussing details with several of them.

Q: What was it like working with various sources? How did you go about choosing who to interview?
People who have befriended me as I have taught Korean forms of meditation and Brain Education worldwide over the last 30 years have sympathized and worked with me on the concept of Change, and the concept of LifeParticles, which are the source of all things.

Q: What has the feedback been so far?
Many people have sympathized with the message of the film, and writers, spiritual leaders, and movie professionals have also given me written recommendations. Some of those who have really sympathized with its message are holding small screenings in their homes, schools, meditation circles, and community centers, sharing the movie's message. It's my first movie, of course, so I think there will be a lot I should improve. I'd like to think viewers and my partners, who are supporting and actively telling others about the movie despite its shortcomings.

Q: Are you working on any new projects?
I wrote a book, Change, to discuss more broadly and in greater depth the messages addressed by the movie, and I have opened and am operating a website, www.changeyourenergy.com, to help people who've seen Change easily change their own energy in their daily lives. We're now planning a sequel to Change.

Q: Tell us about your own background. Where you were born? Where did you study film? What was your first movie? What was your previous job? Are you a full-time filmmaker?
I am not a professional filmmaker. In the world they call me a "visionary," and a "spiritual leader," and even a "Quixotic eccentric." I have always thought of myself as an educator.
I was born in Cheonan, Korea. From when I was very young, I repeatedly wandered in search of an answer to the question, Who am I, and I was unable to adapt properly to school due to attention deficit disorder. Instead I immersed myself in martial arts and exercise, and have continued my internal exploration.
I graduated from college, worked as a clinical laboratory technician at hospitals and government offices, and I even ran ran a private clinic. Everything felt meaningless, though, because I had failed to find a fundamental answer to questions concerning the reason for my existence. At the end of continuous contemplation and meditation, I made up my mind, and I obtained great spiritual realization through 21 days of intense meditative practice on Mt. Moak in Korea. The realization I obtained at the time was that a great power to fundamentally change ourselves and the world exists within each of us.
In the 30 years since then, I have lived to tell the world about my realization. To make this known, I've developed diverse mind-body training methods and self-development programs, including Brain Education; I've opened Brain Education centers, which have now spread to over a thousand locations worldwide; I have written books, established schools, and created many non-profit corporations.
I came to have interest in the medium of film because of its popularity. Through the popular medium of film, I wanted to communicate with many people about the nature of the changes we truly want, and about what we should do to realize those changes and how we should do it.

Q: what was your first award? And how did you feel at that time?
This (red: The International Film Festival for Spirituality, Religion, and Visionary) is the first time I've received an award for a film. How do I feel on receiving my first award? Great!

Q: What was the best part of the project?
After making the movie, we held 30-some screenings in major American cities this summer and early autumn. We told people about the movie as we went around to major cities, including New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Over 10,000 people saw the movie. When several scenes from the film moved the hearts of viewers and created great sympathetic energy, everyone at the screening, including me, could feel it, too. When I see the eyes of viewers filled with hope and passion for change, when I confirm that my movie awakens the best in the human spirit, I think, It was good that I made this film.

Q: Are you pleased with the overall outcome?
It's like I said before. I feel greatly rewarded when I see people respond to the message of change I want to share through this movie, when they attempt something, even something small, to create new change, and when they learn and grow through that.

Q: What are your hopes and dreams for the film?
I hope as many people as possible will see this movie, and will truly achieve change in their lives. Many people are dreaming of change. An awakening is happening all over the globe, one which realizes that human civilization itself, as well as individual lifestyles, must change in a healthier, more balanced, and sustainable direction. People aren't really sure, though, where to find the beginnings of such change. This movie says that all change starts with the choices of individuals. I hope that many will watch this movie, rediscover the great, simple truth that they are the protagonists of change, and choose change right now. It is my hope and dream that, through this, our society and planet will become healthier, happier, and more peaceful.

Q: How long did it take to complete the film?
Coming up with the idea took about a decade, but actual production took one year. Planning and preparations took six months, actual filming two months, and editing four months.

Q: Will you do a sequel?
Yes. Even when I first did the planning, I thought that many sequels could come out based on the change concept, and I planned for it. I have many different ideas for this, although they're not yet clearly organized, and I am continuously brainstorming and meditating about it.

Q: How do you feel to have won awards in IFFSRV 2013?
I was excited since this is the first work I've done for which I received an award overseas. I think it really fits the main concept of Change, especially since this is a film festival whose theme definitely addresses spirituality, religion, and the future.

Q: Why is this subject important to you?
For the last 30 years, I've been doing things that others haven't done. I've developed Korean-style methods of meditation, and created for the first time in the world the academic discipline of Brain Education. It is from the spirit of "Change" that these could emerge. All the great figures history we remember, in fact, were people who created value through this spirit of change. Change is the heart of what made me who I am today and the root of creation.

Change is also my story. In the course of finding the answer to the question, Who am I, I experienced my worldview itself changing completely. Many other changes came from that change. Over the last 30 years, I have been doing many things others have not done. I developed Korean-style meditation techniques and, with them, established over a thousand meditation centers worldwide, and I, someone who had suffered from attention deficit disorder, created the academic discipline of Brain Education. These things were possible because I had a spirit of change. Change is the heart of what made me who I am today, and the root of my creative work.

All great achievements in human history have come from a spirit of change, through which people have ceaselessly moved forward toward completion, without resting comfortably in things as they are. The spirit of change is a great driving force pushing growth and development in human history as well as in individual lives.

Q: Does this film send the message you intended?
I can't say that it's 100% perfect, but I think it does contain the message I mean to convey. I did my best, and I have no regrets.

Q: Do most people just turn a blind eye when they hear of these issues?
This is not a film that stimulates the senses through entertainment, violence, or sex. As we live our lives, though, we all seriously wonder, "Is it okay to live like this? Couldn't I live a better life?" This movie was made to inspire those who ask themselves these questions. I think that any who have ever seriously asked themselves such questions will be able to sympathize with the message of my movie. We've already confirmed such responses in the many screenings we've held so far.

Q: Why the title?
"Change" is the source of creation. There was no better title to convey our core message that, through individual change, we can guide change on a social and global scale. I've never thought of another title.

Q: Advice to others who might like to follow in your footsteps?
Dreams come true. If you have a dream to make a movie, and that dream is for the benefit of all, then, sooner or later, the dream comes true. If you always choose change and create, then, before you know it, you will find yourself in that place you have been dreaming of. So never give up. Boldly choose your dream, and pursue your dream, really giving it your all to the very end, until it comes true.

Q: Is this a film that young people, college or high school students could benefit from?
It is. In fact, one of the reasons I made this movie was to encourage young people. I often give lectures to young people around the world. I have seen many situations in which, rather then finding their own values, young people make negative choices, trapped in their educational system and social system, and mired in victim consciousness and lack of confidence. In this movie, I'm telling them to live as great creators by finding absolute value within themselves, not to conform to external environments or standards. I think that this is what young people should do, and that this is the most important thing older generations can do for them.

Q: How do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
I'm currently establishing the Earth Citizens School in Sedona, Arizona. The Earth Citizens School is a place I've been planning, one that will develop leaders to guide change on a global level. Through this school, I'll try to do a variety of experiments for creating the healthier, more balanced, and sustainable culture I introduced in the book and movie, Change.
Ten years from now, I'll be systemizing and organizing as a legacy for the next generation the things I learn and obtain by operating the Earth Citizens School, and I will establish and be running Earth Citizens Schools in many places around the world.
And I will probably have already made several more movies. I may even be running an international film festival for people who, like me, want to express in film their dreams for a greater humanity and a better world.


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  • Joon Bai: Labor of Love

  • Iara Lee: The Suffering Grasses

  • Trevor Graham: The Hummus Warrior

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    The Film Reporter 2013-2015