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Welcome to the City Lights Film Festival!

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Please join us celebrating human spirit in quest for spirituality expressed in short films! We are screening a host of short movies, many are first expressions of the artists in this form, some more advanced and all in service of inner work for outer change.


Thursday, April 2nd, 7-9 pm

Milbank Chapel at Teachers College, Columbia University

RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/smbi-city-lights-film-festival-tickets-16019298152

Inquiries: SMBIFilm@gmail.com

To request disability-related accommodations contact OASID at oasid@tc.edu, (212) 678-3689, (212) 678-

3853 TTY, (646) 755-3144 video phone, as early as possible.

Featured Films

(more to be added)


A Good Life/A Good Death
Caroline DeVoe, EditorAGoodLife4

A Good Life; A Good Death is an intimate portrayal of Henry and Marjorie Elliott, a loving African American couple who sought the wraparound services of hospice care when Mr. Elliott’s cancer treatments were no longer effective.

After a 15 year battle with prostate cancer, former art docent, Henry Elliott’s treatments stopped working. He began to experience great pain and his health quickly deteriorated. A family member suggested he and his wife, Marjorie, engage a hospice service, which greatly improved the quality of their lives and the quality of Mr. Elliott’s death.

Originally commissioned by AARP in 2010, A Good Life; A Good Death is a photo essay that was photographed and conceived by National Geographic photographer, Karen Kasmauski and edited by Carol DeVoe, a Master’s student in the Technology Specialist program at Teachers College.


Aliza and the Mind JarAliza and the Mind Jar
Created by Kelli Love
Produced by Hover
Directed by Ethan Goldwater
Cinematography by Zach Sky
Edited by Iva Radivojevic
Color by Begonia Colomar
Sound mixing by One Thousand Birds

Zarida, parent of her 6 year old daughter, Aliza, takes us through her experience with the pioneering yoga and mindfulness program at Girls Prep Bronx Elementary in NYC.


And You BreatheAnd You Breath Still
Written and Directed by Wyatt D’Emilia
Starring Shayna Weiss-Perea and Victoria Brown

A woman works to come to terms with past trauma, begrudgingly trying meditation at the advice of her therapist. “And You Breathe” profiles the heightened awareness one aims to achieve through meditation. Coming to terms with trauma can be a difficult process, but it is one that can prove rewarding.


Breaking DarknessBreakingDarkness3
Co-director & producer: Angela (Tianyue) Sun & Eileen (Xin) Ai

We chose shadow as our main object in order to represent the inner soul of human mind, which can be interpreted as the unconscious motivation of our thought process without any rational decisions. The arm and finger movements was utilized to reflect the process of struggling through different stages of relationships, including friendship, love and trust. A spiritual journey was thus created for audiences to impose their own interpretation, while being guided by the change of background sounds in our short film.


Faith For the MiddleFaithMiddle1
by Stephanie Guzman

Life is full of hard times, but they never get easier the more we encounter them. In the midst of obstacles and tough situations, we must remember that although the victories are rewarding, it’s the journey in the middle that brings strength, wisdom, and invaluable life lessons. In those times we feel like we’re falling short, all we need to do is reach out to the one who’s love and strength is never-ending. This is a glimpse in the life a young adult who takes a big leap of faith, struggling in the process, but trusting that the best is yet to come.


Heart & Soul
by David Simon

A problem with my heart led to the discovery of my soul. Who knew it could sing?



Directed by Dylan A. Marcheschi
Music by Dylan A. Marcheschi and Sunn Antares

Hinterlands is an extended audio/visual project which began as a study of raga forms and modes of expression in traditional Hindustani music that employs subtle change over extended periods of time. The accompanying video features found footage, heavily processed surfing films from the 1960s juxtapositioned against archival war footage and panoramic shots of the ocean floor which become visible when the surf breaks, revealing the wonders of the sea.


Lia Walton, Filmaker, forthcoming SMBI Psychology & Spirituality Masters student, Camera, Director and Producer of MW
Kyla Simone Bruce, Filmmaker, co-Director and Editor of MW

How would we feel about our ‘self’ if we woke up without most of our language, memories, our physical identity, any of our LIAindependence– our ego? MW is Lia Walton’s first film, introducing the evolving journey of her father, a survivor of neurological trauma whose extraordinary acceptance of his transformation is expressed not only in his enduring spirit, but in his entirely novel instinct to make art. Is art consciousness?

This short was made possible through the talent of director and editor, Kyla Simone Bruce, who shared and shaped Lia’s vision to craft the ineffable into poetry. They are already plotting the expanded long form film, exploring whether it is because her father has been forced to embrace the spiritual pursuits of the ages (stillness, silence, concentration, connection to nature, a consistent presence with the daily rhythm and suffering of life) that he is able to be so content; or if this equanimity just who he is and always was. How do those closest to someone so altered or afflicted process our private loss and grief, how do we cope ourselves around such courage?


May All Your Chaos be Creative
by Lauren FoleyOrder and Chaos, Still

This piece explores the relationship between order and chaos in our every day lives. We so often seek that which is comfortable and structured while opposing the unknown, the uncomfortable, and the chaotic. However, it is often in these moments of uncertainty that we discover our true selves and in doing so, connect to something greater. Initially created for a symbolism class, this piece will address order, chaos, and the symbolic nature of the circle through a slideshow format.


Kindness Boomerang
by Orly Wahba

KindnessBoomerangIf a picture is worth a thousand words, then a film is worth millions! Whether to provoke laughter, fear, or shock, millions of people are drawn to motion pictures and the messages they represent. Life Vest Inside uses the medium of film to inspire people by showing them what kindness looks like in action.

The combination of moving images, sound, and music uplift the soul, and captivate people in a very magical way. Our widely acclaimed Kindness Boomerang production touched many more people than initially anticipated, with well over 20 Million views and counting. This fantastic response is only the beginning of the impact that LVI will make.


SAT in Three
by Craig Richards & Jonathan Wiggins


This film represents one of several 2-3 minute videos that are used each morning at the beginning of a 45 minute self awareness training course at the New Orleans Summer Principals Academy of Teachers College, Columbia University.  Throughout the five week course, aspiring principals of schools watch the short films and journal their reactions to these films, recording their thoughts and feelings during each session. The videos cover a variety of topics and set the mood for the self awareness practice to follow.


Through Sound
Directed, Edited and Cinematography by Livia Sá
Additional Camera by Tom Ellis and Chris Gorski

Through Sound is a short documentary that explores the effects of sound in the human body while focusing on sound as a major tool for meditation.
In this documentary, musicians and sound professionals share their knowledge about how powerfully sound can impact individuals’ experiences with themselves and their surroundings.


When the Object is You Tights
by Shona Mari Sapphire

When the Object is You Tights, StillThis multimodal project is an autobiographical depiction of my history with embodied knowing and the vibrant intermingling of body, mind and spirituality. The piece examines my relationship with an evocative object and its distinct affect on my sense of somatic embodiment and selfhood. I am a former professional ballet dancer and have been teaching Pilates with an expanding private practice in New York City for over ten years.


40 Days: Jew Seeking JesusFortyDays
Billie Mintz, Director, Writer, Producer, Subject
Julian T. Pinder, Co-Director, ProducerFortyDays
Alana Yankowitz, Producer

A Jewish Filmmaker who questions the validity of being “born again” goes searching for a relationship with Jesus. What do you think he found?


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