KALEY RONAYNE in KENSHO

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T BUY MY FILM ON MARCH 8TH

Kensho at the Bedfellow is a feature film I’ve been working on for four years — three times as long if you count the writing and development process. It’s an existential drama about consciousness, a socially-relevant story of hope and life-purpose, a sexy NYC odyssey, and a labor-of-love.

We’re in pre-sale on iTunes with a wide-release next week, and I’m urging you not to buy it.

At least not on March 8th.

March 8th (International Women’s Day) — will be “A Day Without a Woman,” a general strike being organized by The Women’s March on Washington and its allies in which anyone, anywhere can participate through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.

Women will take off work, businesses will close their doors, and people everywhere will refrain from purchases in stores or online.

This radical day of action is intended to highlight “the economic power and significance that women have in the US and global economies, while calling attention to the economic injustices women and gender nonconforming people continue to face.”

When I learned this was being organized, I immediately knew our long-awaited release date (also planned for March 8th) had to push a day. Supporting women’s rights with my friends around the world became a choiceless option. As the Women’s March eloquently states:

“Women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability.”

Participating in the Women’s March in downtown LA was nothing short of revelatory. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. It was passionate, liberating, non-violent, and unifying — especially in the context of the Women’s March on Washington and marches around the globe. Video that I shot of the event I later posted on Instagram — dubbing it “Rogue One Million.”

Two women featured in the video, Rebecca Zahler and Angie Vroom, run the excellent feminist podcast, Don’t Waste Your Pretty. “When women, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people, Jews and Muslims are all being actively threatened,” they said in a joint statement, “it’s our job to physically show up — using the power of our collective voices and bodies to fight injustice wherever we see it.”

REBECCA ZAHLER and ANGIE VROOM at THE WOMEN’S MARCH, LA

Friends, family, and members of the cast and crew will be participating in the strike on the 8th and are encouraging our supporters not to support Kensho for a day. Those close to the project know, in fact, that the heroine in my film would’ve been the first one to encourage the same. Kate Darrow would have marched on Washington in January and she most certainly would strike with us on March 8th.

As in all great hero journeys, at the heart of Kensho is this equally great heroine. Kate is a character I wrote based in no small part on a few amazing women in my life and is played fearlessly by Kaley Ronayne in a star-making performance. She’s strong, soulful, independent, adventurous and she helps organize and lead her own rally in the film with the International Rescue Committee — the real-life humanitarian aid organization where Kate works and with whom we partnered in making the film.

A percentage of net-profits of our iTunes sales will go directly to the IRC’s humanitarian efforts around the world. Their refugee resettlement program (which is a central storyline in Kensho) is the gold standard in over 40 countries and 29 US cities, helping millions upon millions survive, recover, and regain control of their future.

ON LOCATION at THE IRC

In light of recent news and the refugee resettlement crisis, I’m even more emboldened to make that contribution meaningful.

But let’s do so on March 7th and on March 9th … On March 8th, we’ll be on strike and wearing red in solidarity with the Women’s Movement. Why red? It signifies revolutionary love and sacrifice. It’s not only the color of energy, action, determination, and leadership, but also has the precedent of being associated with the labor movement.

Let’s join forces in this massive, non-violent demonstration for women’s rights. And let’s do so from a place of internal (as well as external) peace. In addition to connecting with The Movement’s Unity Principles here — I also found one of their Guiding Principles to be particularly inspiring:

“Principle 5: Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence … specific activities must be designed to maintain a high level of spirit and morale during a nonviolent campaign.”

Which specific activities? My thing is yoga and meditation (full disclosure: I teach the stuff) but anything that engenders in the activist the highest levels of spirit and potentiality works. Self-care becomes absolutely essential on a sustainable path to progressive change. Dynamic rest gives rise to dynamic action.

It’s, in fact, the essence of Kate’s journey in the film. How can she do the work that she knows is so important without taking on the suffering of the world and in turn, suffering herself?

KATHRYN ERBE and KALEY RONAYNE in KENSHO

There’s certainly a place for anger (and much these days to be angry about) but how can we continually return to a carefully cultivated baseline of equanimity and resolve? And to what extent is it our responsibility to do so in order to be most effective in our work? As my own meditation teacher, Thom Knoles, has said, “No one suffers in isolation.”

So as we tirelessly hit the streets again on the 8th, let’s take dynamic action “in the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women’s March.”

On the 9th, perhaps we’ll have collectively earned the right to some dynamic rest.

Maybe we’ll even stay in and watch a movie.

Brad Raider is a filmmaker and meditation teacher living in Los Angeles
Click here for more on
A Day Without a Woman
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