6 Buddhist Films and 6 Exclusive, First-Release Buddhist Talks

A Sangha of Cinema

This is a rare chance to see Buddhism and art skillfully joined in cinema. And to top it off we have partnered with six masterful teachers to present new teachings for all festival participants!

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Six teachings

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Six Compelling Films:

For the Coyotes

97 minutes

Wendell is trying to make peace with his earthly deterioration in the face of late-stage cancer. His son Josh is fighting it, fleeing it, denying it. After a five year estrangement, father and son are now thrown together in a remote cabin enveloped in the vibrant, buzzing, crawling redwood forest of Northern California.

As Wendell forgives himself for his own inadequacies, Josh releases years of pain and anger, borne from living under the rigid principles of his father, a renowned Buddhist teacher who for decades pretended to be anything but the deeply flawed, selfish man he really was. But is he still? Human connection, obligation, illusion, enlightenment, love and fear — it's all up for grabs in this meditative, probing, tender story of inevitability.

Directed by Eric Daniel Metzgar

Even Though the Whole World is Burning
82 minutes

This is the story of Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin, who has won almost every major poetry prize that exists, including two Pulitzers, and who has been called a national treasure.  He's a Buddhist whose legacy is based not only upon his writings, but also the singular form of environmental activism and land stewardship that he embodies. 

Now in his 86th year, Merwin has dedicated over three decades to preserving and regenerating native plants and palms on a 19-acre site on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii. Called the Merwin Conservancy, the preserve holds the most comprehensive private collection of palms in the world, with over 800 species. These tangible actions for the environment go hand-in-hand with his poetry, offering important insights for an era marked by environmental degradation, human disconnect with natural processes, and rapid climate change. 

Directed by Stefan C. Schaefer

On Meditation

69 minutes

This is a series of beautiful, short, intimate portraits of ten people who have integrated meditation into their lives. From teachers to everyday people to celebrities, the subjects offer a rare glimpse into their private insights and rituals around meditation. The film explores how meditation works for them, how it has changed or continues to change them in both deep and subtle ways.


Featuring David Lynch, Peter Matthiessen, Sharon Salzberg, Congressman Tim Ryan, Mark Epstein, Russell Simmons, Arlene Shechet, Giancarlo Esposito, Elena Brower and Venerable Metteyya.

Directed by Rebecca Dreyfus

Painting Peace

90 minutes


Eighty-year-old Berkeley-based Kazuaki Tanahashi is a Japanese Zen teacher, translator, artist and activist, known as much for his extraordinary calligraphy works as for his masterful translations of the 13th century Zen innovator, Dogen. His activism for peace and demilitarization and a plutonium-free environment regularly takes him around the world. This film travels with him to Europe and Japan, and into his home and family life, for insight and understanding

Directed by Babeth VanLoo

Saltwater Buddha

58 minutes


Fed up with teenage life in the suburbs, Jaimal Yogis ran off to Hawaii with little more than a copy of Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha and enough cash for a surfboard. Now an author and father, Jaimal recounts his journey from jungle communes to zen monasteries, from the warm Pacific to the icy New York shore. Based on the internationally-acclaimed memoir, this is a chronicle of finding focus in the barrel of a wave, and truth in the great salty blue.

Directed by Lara Popyack

Women of Tibet: The Great Mother  

57 minutes


This is the endearing story of Dekyi Tsering, the mother of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Dekyi Tsering, known by Tibetans as 'Gyalyum Chemo' or 'Great Mother,' gave birth to 16 children, three of whom were recognized as incarnate lamas. His Holiness talks about how his mother helped shape the man he is today, and he discusses the relationship between healthy family and healthy humanity, and how it all begins with a mother's love.


Weaving anecdotal threads and personal reflections from her children, grandchildren and friends, along with never before seen photographs from their family collections, as well as rare footage of Tibet, the film offers an intimate glimpse into Tibet's first family - and a woman who inspired the country.

Directed by Rosemary Rawcliffe

PLUS Six New Teachings:

Tara Brach

Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world. Founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC, she teaches there and at conferences and retreat centers in the United States and Europe. Over a million people each month tune in to Tara’s podcast.

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Roshi Joan Halifax

Roshi Joan Halifax is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is the Founder and Abbot of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe. A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and founder of Prajna Mountain Buddhist Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on applied Buddhism.

Rev. angel Kyodo williams is an author, maverick spiritual teacher, master trainer and founder of Center for Transformative Change. Ordained as a Zen priest, she is a Sensei, the second black woman recognized as a teacher in her lineage. She is a social visionary that applies wisdom teachings and practice to social issues. She sees Transformative Social Change as America’s next great movement.


Ethan Nichtern

Ethan Nichtern is a Shastri, a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. He founded the Interdependence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to Secular Buddhist practice and transformational activism and arts. Ethan has taught meditation and Buddhist psychology classes for over 14 years and is the author of three books on Buddhism.

Dawa Tarchin Phillips

Dawa Tarchin Phillips is a modern Buddhist lama, author and senior Western meditation teacher. He is a global spiritual leader and the President of Empowerment Holdings, a U.S. based international leadership training and consulting firm. He is Co-founder of the Center for Mindfulness and Human Potential at the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of California Santa Barbara, where his work focuses on cognitive and academic benefits of secular mindfulness.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche & Sharon Salzberg in conversation

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, founder and president of Nalandabodhi, is a widely celebrated Buddhist teacher and an advocate of American and Western Buddhism. A lover of music, art and popular culture, Rinpoche is a tech-savvy poet, photographer, and visual artist. He brings the essence of the Buddha’s message to modern audiences with humor and practicality. He is also the founder of Nitartha International, a non-profit educational corporation dedicated to preserving the contemplative literature of East Asia.


Sharon Salzberg is a well-known teacher of Insight Meditation and author. She is one of the founders of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She offers non-sectarian retreat and study opportunities for participants from widely diverse backgrounds worldwide. She is the author of nine books and is a weekly columnist for On Being, a regular contributor the the Huffington Post, and was a contributing editor of Oprah’s O Magazine for several years.



  • Even Though the Whole World is Burning
  • For the Coyotes
  • On Meditation
  • Painting Peace
  • Saltwater Buddha
  • Women of Tibet: The Great Mother

And Talks by:

  • Tara Brach

  • Roshi Joan Halifax

  • Ethan Nichtern

  • Dawa Tarchin Phillips

  • Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche & Sharon Salzberg

  • Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Get Your Tickets!

Or scroll down to see what's showing!

June 13 to July 24

Lion's Roar & BuddhaFest
Online Film Festival

Lion's Roar & BuddhaFest
Online Film Festival

June 13 to July 24

Festival programming services provided by the Buddhist Film Foundation

Festival programming services provided by the Buddhist Film Foundation.

*Teachers list subject to change