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"Touchstone: Dancing With Angels"

Click here to view the trailer!

Click on image to see enlarged photo.
Photos by George "Shaker" McNeil, Ana Maria Moise & D.S. Fine.
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Photo by Ana Maria Moise

Website photos Copyright © Immediate Impressions / Touchstone Farm 
All Rights Reserved.

 

 

October 30, 2012 

 

Sacred Circle Dance Focalizer & Mount Holyoke College SCDance Facilitator Ellen Kennedy attended a conference "Back to Our Roots; New Visions" organized by Sacred/Circle Dance teacher Judy King  in a small village northwest of London, during the last weekend in October 2012, where she presented an edited compilation of dance and commentary sequences from the full documentary version of  "Touchstone: Dancing With Angels."  The 9-minute piece received a tremendous reception from an excited audience consisting of 60 sacred circle dancers and teachers from around the world.  It features Janet "Rowan" Scott, Anja Daniel & George "Shakur" McNeil speaking extemporaneously about the spiritual fusion of music, dance, ancient traditions, community, interdependence, enlightenment & bliss, - and can be viewed online at YouTube.com here.

 

 

January 1, 2012

 

We are very happy to announce that "Touchstone: Dancing With Angels" has been selected for participation in the "Spirit Enlightened" Film Festival, organized by CultureUnplugged.com.  Ongoing festivals sponsored by the Culture Unplugged team, at this worldwide online showcase, help to share filmmakers' popular (and undiscovered) work featuring social issues currently prevalent in the world.  To quote from their dedicated mission statement: "Viewers are able to vote for the art & entertainment that is evolved and exists for transformation towards new future.  Promote consciousness about humanity & environment - our culture, nature & life driven by the spiritual state, individual and collective."

 

You can view our entire documentary online here. 

Click here to read more about the history of the "Touchstone" project!

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On September 23rd, 2009, "Touchstone" associate producer Holly Lynn Danyliw, director D.S. Fine and Touchstone community member Elliot Tarry were invited to screen the movie and speak with ("Free Spirits" director) Bruce Geisler's film documentary class at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA.  Elliot also gave an extraordinarily powerful, eloquent & insightful dissertation on the cultural, psychological & mythological aspects of the life-death-and-(potential-)rebirth cycle of spiritual communities such as Touchstone Farm, -- and of their founders.  His speech was directed by D.S. Fine, who was recording it for a "special DVD bonus feature" expertly captured by cinematographrer Ray Swartz, -- who is a student in Bruce Geisler's class.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Photos by Holly Lynn Danyliw, Paige Kelley.& D.S. Fine.

Website photos Copyright © Immediate Impressions / Touchstone Farm.  All Rights Reserved.

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Click here to download a PDF file of the "Dancing With Angels" Newsletter - 9/23/2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

__________________________________


Greenfield Garden Cinemas to Host Screening of "Touchstone"
Documentary
to Benefit Local Community TV & Radio Stations



EASTHAMPTON, MA (Seraphimedia) September 9, 2009 - A special,
one-night-only benefit screening of "Touchstone: Dancing With Angels,"
-- for Greenfield Community Television and sister-station WMCB-LP FM, --
will be held on Wednesday, September 23rd, 7:00 PM, at the Greenfield Garden
Cinemas.

The acclaimed widescreen documentary, produced & directed by D.S. Fine,
focuses on an amazing group of artists, dancers, musicians, spiritual
therapists and social activists at Touchstone Farm in Easthampton,
Massachusetts, -- and has premiered locally at The Academy of Music
Theatre in Northampton.

[Official website: www.TouchstoneMovie.org.]

"During its 20-plus year history, Touchstone Farm has touched and
inspired many individuals throughout the Pioneer Valley, New England and
far beyond," says Fine. "Not only via their incredibly beautiful Sacred
Circle Dances, uplifting music and lovingly-tended gardens, -- but, also
through their heartfelt devotion to caring about the world we all
inhabit."

In the Winter of 2006, shortly after Fine began filming, local building
inspectors condemned a number of structures at the farm, essentially
halting the community's circle dance and performance gatherings there;
however, alternative locations were found at Florence Co-Housing and
Smith College, who offered their space.

During the 2½ years of film production, Touchstone Farm and its
members, including co-founders George "Shaker" McNeil and Anja Daniel,
-- while struggling to survive, thrive and create an innovative
eco-village, -- experienced a remarkable transformation of their own.

McNeil, in particular, who undergoes a dramatic, climactic, on-camera
rebirth, -- emerging as "transgendered Shaman" Deborah Georgianne Hall-McNeil,
poignantly shares her inner turmoil and ultimate ascension of spirit.

Unless fully able to freely become the person trapped inside,
Hall-McNeil felt that she would be living out "a death sentence," --
and, thenceforth, became an inspirational example of transformation,
herself.

Bruce Geisler, director of "Free Spirits - The Birth, Life and Loss of a
Utopian Dream" has commented: "Touchstone" pays tribute to the spirit
and fire of the 60's that is kept burning by some select people today...
A fascinating look at the trials and triumphs of trying to keep an
intentional community thriving... [and] an intriguing character study of
several key participants, all of whose lives have undergone
transformation..."

A portion of the screening event's proceeds will benefit Greenfield
Community Television (GCTV) and its affiliate, -- low-power radio
station WMCB-LP 107.9 FM (which also shares half of their broadcast day
with Living Waters Assembly of God Church).

GCTV is a non-profit, membership-based organization, providing an
electronic forum for the uncensored exchange of information and ideas,
which reflect the talents, interests, concerns and diversity of the
Greenfield community.

State-of-the-art high definition digital video, audio & computer-based
editing equipment was purchased with money loaned to the stations, --
now needing to be repayed.

Funds raised would help support television programming such as: "Valley
Homegrown," featuring professional & up-and-coming musicians (cablecast
throughout the Northeast U.S. and Northern Europe); "Local Bias," Drew
Hutchison's popular community talk forum exploring "a diverse buffet" of
intriguing issues; "The Dukes of Sport," whose producer-host, Randy
Lively, discusses the ever-controversial and colorful panoply of
Greenfield sports; and, Joe Gochinski's "The Western Mass. Democrat,"
offering surprisingly in-depth & candid, one-on-one political
interviews.

Benefitting, along with listeners, would be stimulating, trailblazing,
informative and eclectic radio programs such as: "Anything Goes,"
"Channeling the Muse," "Dubwise or Otherwise," "Indie Rock Boombox,"
"JR's Northern Star," "Paranoia Sound System," "Speciocracy," "Spinning
Tales," and "The Wire."

Coincidentally, the host-performers of two of WMCB-LP's inspired radio
shows: "Hopi Visions" and "Sky High," -- 'Coyote' and Peter Sky,
respectively, -- are also featured, philosophically and musically, in
"Touchstone: Dancing With Angels."

"Touchstone" director D.S. Fine, editor/co-producer Rebecca Rideout &
associate producer Holly Lynn Danyliw will be at the theatre.

In addition, members of GCTV and WMCB-LP will also be in attendance theatre to greet filmgoers who wish to discuss the film & other ongoing projects.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Event Info:


Special Benefit Screening of
"Touchstone: Dancing With Angels"
for Greenfield Community Television & WMCB-LP

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 at 7:00 PM


Greenfield Garden Cinemas
361 Main Street, Greenfield, MA


Suggested Donation: $7.00
No one will be turned away for lack of funds.


For advance tickets and further information call: (413) 773-9260 /
774-4881



online at:


http://www.gardencinemas.net


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


or contact:


Scott MacPherson
Station Manager
Greenfield Community Television
393 Main Street, 3rd Floor
Greenfield, MA 01301 

http://www.gctv.org


Telephone: (413) 774-4288


or:


Drew Hutchison
Director
WMCB-LP 107.9 FM
P.O. Box 807 
Greenfield, MA 01301

http://www.wmcbfm.blogspot.com


E-mail: wmcbfm@gmail.com  


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


or visit:


http://www.sacredcircles.com
[Touchstone Farm's official site]


or:


http://www.TouchstoneMovie.org


__________________________________
__________________________________ 



 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

_______________________ 
 

Encore presentation of Special Memorial Event for Brattleboro resident Ed Softky to screen at Latchis Theatre


EASTHAMPTON, MA (Seraphimedia) April 8, 2009 -- A "spiritual double feature" and tribute film in honor of Ed Softky will be presented at The Latchis Theatre, in downtown Brattleboro, VT, -- on Sunday, April 19th and Sunday, April, 26th, 2009 at 4:00 PM. 

Softky, a Brattleboro resident, was tragically killed on October 9th, 2008 when struck by a hit-and-run driver, while preparing to deliver food to fellow hospice volunteers. 

Deeply cherished, admired and remembered by many area residents for his joyous countenance, love of music and remarkably selfless spirit, Ed Softky was only 44 years old at the time of his death. 

He was tangentially-featured in the recent documentary Touchstone: Dancing With Angels which, along with another spiritually-themed film, entitled ONE: The Movie, will be screened with a special 14-minute tribute: In Remembrance of Ed Softky

The tribute, created by Touchstone producer / director, D.S. Fine, reveals a profoundly emotional and poignant portrait of Softky singing favorite hymns and traditional folk songs with friends, in the Autumn of 2006. 

Touchstone: Dancing With Angels was principally filmed by Fine and edited by co-producer Rebecca Rideout during a 2 and a half year period, -- focusing on the life, death and rebirth of an eclectic community of artists, musicians, thinkers, healers & Sacred
Circle Dancers at Touchstone Farm in Easthampton, MA. 

Without a specific philosophy to limit them, founders and residents live with "a different bottom line," -- one that is rooted in honoring each individual's worth in the world; one where the heart and the human condition are preeminent.

The documentary captures the essence of the people of Touchstone: a group of adventurous spirits and wondering souls who examine the boundaries of our society through their art, music, conversation, and actions. 

Ron Damico, publisher of Inner Tapestry Holistic Journal, has commented about Touchstone: Dancing With Angels, -- "A wonderful opportunity to open your mind and heart... this film is filled with local music and beautiful scenery and imagery... a chance to see life as most are hesitant to live."

ONE: The Movie, produced & directed by Ward M. Powers, is a coming-together of people seeking to increase awareness of the connections we all share, reminding us of our similarities, celebrating our differences and allowing the positive energy of Oneness to emerge in a seemingly disconnected world. 

Created by first-time filmmakers, the documentary's concept is simple: ask life's ultimate questions to a broad cross-section of humanity, including regular people, great spiritual masters, authors and icons such as: Llewellyn Vaughn Lee, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Ram Dass, Thich Nhat Hahn, Robert Thurman, Deepak Chopra, Father Thomas Keating, Mantak Chia, Barbara Marx-Hubbard and Riane Eisler.

Since the movie's release in 2005, it has been featured at film festivals, sold-out theaters and in six different continents.

Touchstone's director D.S. Fine and associate producer Holly L. Danyliw will be at the Latchis Theatre on April 26th, to introduce the memorial tribute.

A portion of the proceeds from ticket, DVD and soundtrack CD sales will be donated to the Thosum Gephelling Institute, a Buddhist community in Williamsville, VT to which Ed Softky belonged.


The Thosum Gephelling Institute's Memorial page,
in memory of Ed Softky, is located at:
http://tgivt.org/in-memory-of-ed-softky


The official website of Touchstone Farm is located at:
http://www.SacredCircles.com


The official website of Touchstone: Dancing With Angels is located at:
http://www.TouchstoneMovie.org


The official website of ONE: The Movie is located at:
http://www.OneTheProject.com


 ****************


Event Info:

"Spiritual Double Feature"Touchstone: Dancing With Angels and ONE: The Movie presented with tribute film 
In Remembrance of Ed Softky - special benefit screening.

Sunday, April 19th and Sunday, April 26th, 2009, 4:00 PM, -- at The Latchis Theatre, 50 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT. 

Tickets: $8; Seniors & students: $6.


For further information regarding tickets and current screentimes at The Latchis Theatre, please visit:
http://www.Latchis.com
 

or call: 1-(800)-798-6301

_______________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________ 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

________________________ 

 

Locally-produced documentary focusing on Touchstone Farm community has Special Benefit Premiere at Academy of Music


EASTHAMPTON, MA (Seraphimedia) May 1, 2008 -- Well-known dance community & yoga center, Touchstone Farm, has been the focus of great interest not only by developers, but by local filmmakers, as well.  A special advance screening of a "home-grown" documentary coincides with the beginning of Touchstone's Eco-village construction and with the rebirth of their community, after more than two years of virtual shutdown.

The New England Premiere of Touchstone: Dancing With Angels will be at The Academy of Music on Friday, May 16th at 7:00 PM.

Two and a half years in the making, this is a story of the life, death and rebirth of a community.  As a work of cinematic art, it interweaves many strands from the Touchstone saga within its own tapestry.
 
Simultaneously, it is also the personal story of the transformation of one of the Farm's co-directors.  Integrated within the film, is a candid, uplifting story of a transgendered soul's journey into an entirely new world.

While cameras rolled, Shaker McNeil, who has for decades been a locally-respected farmer, guide, yoga & dance teacher and socio-political activist, underwent a personal death and re-emergence as Deborah Hall-McNeil.

Joining filmmaker D.S. Fine, editor Rebecca Rideout and associate producer Holly Danyliw at the screening will be Touchstone Center co-directors, Deborah Hall-McNeil and Anja Daniel introducing the film, -- then hosting a question, answer & commentary session afterward.

As a prelude to the film, Ms. Daniel, an internationally-known musician, will be sharing her heartfelt Songs of the Earth.  Along with several of her friends, she has successfully published more than fifteen CDs. 

The finished movie (and companion soundtrack CD) will incorporate music from talented local artists such as Elric Walker, Peter Sky, Francie & Lillian Jones, and Shana Anolik, -- in addition to inspiring folk ballads recorded and performed by Anja Daniel & Deborah Hall-McNeil on-site, at Touchstone's own studio.

-- The documentary also features a panoply of interviews, and extraordinary scenery & time-lapse footage captured at the Farm and throughout the Pioneer Valley.  Following the closing of the center's buildings over two years ago, producers questioned Touchstone and Valley residents about philosophies & shared connections that may have "intersected" by way of the Farm's Valley-outreach during the last two decades.

Amidst the center receiving an outpouring of local and international support to overcome their troubles, Fine, an award-winning filmmaker & photographer, captured the dramatic story on tape.  Easthampton resident, editor Rebecca Rideout, who has worked for Florentine Films, joined in on the project in the summer of 2006, -- scanning through 180 hours of footage, -- intercutting archival still images, movies, and original music to create the finished film.

Their combined efforts have received funding from both the Easthampton Cultural Council and the Northampton Arts Council.

 ****************

Event Info: Touchstone: Dancing With Angels - a local story of death, rebirth & transformation. 

Friday, May 16, 2008, 7:00 PM, at The Academy of Music Theatre, 274 Main St., Northampton, MA. 

Suggested donation: $10.  ~  No one will be turned away for lack of funds. 

This event is a also a benefit fund-raiser for Touchstone Farm. 

 

For further information on the film, visit: www.TouchstoneMovie.org.

For information about Touchstone Farm, visit:
www.SacredCircles.com,
or e-mail: dreamers@sacredcircles.com

 To purchase tickets in advance: contact the Farm & Yoga Center,
-- phone (413) 527-8723,
or e-mail: dreamers@sacredcircles.com.


********************************


Film Synopsis:


Touchstone: Dancing With Angels is a locally-produced documentary focusing on the people, history, and evolution of Touchstone Farm in Western Massachusetts.

It is the story of the life, death and rebirth of a local socio-political, nature, healing arts and spiritual center.  Members of this spiritual community, located in Easthampton, MA, are known for their uplifting music, recorded in an on-site studio; for their world-renowned Sacred Circle Dancing; and the farm, itself, is recognized for wondrous herb, flower, and meditation gardens.

Without a specific philosophy to limit them, founders and residents live with "a different bottom line," -- one that is rooted in honoring each individual's worth in the world; one where the heart and the human condition is the bottom line.

The documentary film captures the essence of the people of Touchstone: a group of adventurous spirits and wondering souls who examine the boundaries of our society through their art, music, conversation, and actions. 

Filled with local music and captivating imagery, Touchstone: Dancing With Angels is an unforgettable story not to be missed!


This film is made possible, in part, by grants from the Easthampton Cultural Council and the Northampton Arts Council.

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Click here to view the movie trailer!

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