Our film “Moving from Emptiness: The Life and Art of a Zen Dude” came into being much in the same way as its subject (Zen painter Alok Hsu Kwang-han) manifests his art. The energy to produce it came rushing in, and we simply rode the wave until the film was complete.
As a husband and wife producing team, we were both looking for a first film project together. We spent our earlier years in the film, television and radio industries pursuing our separate careers, but after a ten year hiatus from production, we were both ready to discover a project where we could join our talents and create something as a team.
In the spring of 2013, Shaeri took a painting workshop at the Sedona Arts Center called “The Creativity of Non-doing” taught by Alok. She found the class inspiring, and her enthusiasm convinced Jerry that this was a good subject for a short film. Having just invested in new digital cinema equipment, we were ready to try it out on a little project. Little did we know that this “little project” would change our lives.
We approached Alok and his partner Raylene about a film idea and they were enthusiastically supportive, so the work began. The making of “Moving from Emptiness,” was a multi-dimensional experience for all of us. Two couples, each undergoing an inner and an outer journey. Each deeply involved in a creative process that was highly individual and yet required deep cooperation and trust to bring forth. Alok and Raylene were incredibly forthcoming with us, sharing their deepest thoughts and most intimate experiences. They shared their beauty and their challenges. They allowed us to watch as they surrendered all to the moment, opening to allow the energy to come forth as an expression of their life and their art.
Having captured thirty hours of material, we faced our own personal challenges. Two strong-willed individuals, each with their own vision and skills began the process of learning to ride one horse together without either rider being totally in charge. We both learned the art of surrender, giving up our strong held individual vision and instead focused on the needs of the project itself. Our movie is so much better because of this, resulting in a beautiful blend of male and female, right brain and left brain, intuition and logic.
The making of this film became an expression of Zen itself, exactly like the paintings it portrays, capturing moments of aliveness as they happen and weaving them into an artistic expression that becomes it’s own experience. We were witnesses to the process of art becoming life and life becoming art. We watched Alok and Raylene stand fully present in themselves, and through their openness, hold space for others to dive courageously into the deeper layers of their own beings. We watched our feature length film, which started as a small project, grow with a life force of its own, embodying the way of Zen and becoming a teacher, not only for the audience, but for the filmmakers themselves.