Sponsored by MaMA (Marbletown Multi-Arts)

(Dharma, a Sanskrit word referring to the truth or ultimate reality of the way things really are.)

From September through January, on the third Sunday of the month at 3pm, Rosendale Theatre will show a major motion picture with a dharmic theme. After each screening, an esteemed teacher from a regional meditation center will offer a response to the film followed by a Q&A.

The originator and curator of the Series is Joanna Rotté, Professor of Theatre Emeritus and teaching-artist in the NY prison system. The Series is sponsored by MaMA in Stone Ridge (Evry Mann, founder and director) and produced in cooperation with the Rosendale Theatre Collective.


MaMA where we have been nurturing and empowering body, mind, and spirit in the heart of Stone Ridge since 1998. We are a spiritual community center where children, youth, and adults can find the resources they need to grow and flourish. Open seven days a week, MaMA invites you to enjoy our diverse classes and inspiring community events.

MaMA, Marbletown Multi-Arts
3588 Main Street
Stone Ridge, NY 12484




Curator’s statement:

(Dharma: a Sanskrit word referring to the truth or ultimate reality of the way things really are.)

Joanna Rotté in Bhutan, where in the pure mountain air she conceived the idea of a Dharma Film Series.

Travelling in Bhutan in 2016, it was a revelation to notice how everyday Bhutanese people experience the Buddha dharma naturally, and not exotically, in everyday life. I saw regular people acknowledging, even appreciating, the constant presence of impermanence.

I began to consider that while the Buddha dharma crosses borders, it may express itself differently or be experienced differently in different cultures. It may come alive differently at different times in different places. From these considerations, I entered upon the wonderfulness of exploring manifestations of the Buddha dharma through a series of films.

Over numerous months, I watched maybe 60 suitable films and settled on five from five countries: Korea, USA, Tibet, Nepal, Japan. I then, at least in my mind, matched an eminent teacher from an area meditation center with each film, based on the teacher’s lineage. For example, I matched a Korean film with a master teacher from the Won Dharma Center which is essentially Korean Zen.

With a little help from my friends, I approached the Rosendale Theatre Collective who welcomed the Series idea. Due to great good fortune, I was able to engage five marvelous teachers to lead Q&As following the films.

The Series is an offering to the Hudson Valley and mountains around. Viewing the five films, we can identify with each protagonist. We can be moved by his unique search, from simple to sublime, for what is essential in the art of being human.

It’s my aspiration that practitioners of meditation and students of the dharma, along with newcomers and those who are curious, may come together to see jewel-like depictions of ultimate reality from around the world. Contact: Joanna.rotte@villanova.edu


Here are the five films. Each screening takes place at Rosendale Theatre, 3rd Sunday of the month, 3pm.

September 15

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring, a beautiful timeless narrative set in South Korea, reveals unexpected moments in the upbringing of a child in the care of a solitary Buddhist monk. Living in a temple that floats on a lake entirely surrounded by nature, the boy passes through the four seasons from childhood to manhood. He uniquely meets the aggression, joy, sorrow, anger and transcendence of being human. The director, Kim Ki-duk, appears in glorious form in the “Winter” segment of the film.

Respondent: Doyeon Park, Won Dharma Center, Hudson, NY. Reverend Park is an ordained teacher in the Won Buddhist tradition and represents Korean Buddhism at the United Nations.


October 20

Dhamma Brothers, a documentary set in 21st century USA, tracks the development of four men incarcerated for murder at the Donaldson maximum security Correctional Facility in Alabama. Against dramatic odds, they painstakingly learn the practice of meditation, experiencing real effects of contemplative practice on their hearts and minds. The film features two intrepid mindfulness/awareness teachers, including our guest speaker Jonathan Crowley.

Respondent: Jonathan Crowley, Dhamma Dhara Vipassana Meditation Center, Shelburne Falls, MA. Mr. Crowley is Assistant Teacher of Vipassana meditation in the tradition of S. N. Goenka.


November 17

Kundun, a biographical feature film set in Tibet from 1937-1959, directed by Martin Scorsese with an all-Tibetan cast and with music by Philip Glass. Reveals the finding, installation and education of the child Tenzin Gyatso as the 14th Dalai Lama. Culminates in his clandestine and harrowing escape from Tibet amidst the terror of the Chinese invasion and occupation.

Respondent: Robert Thurman, Menla, Phoenicia, NY/Tibet House, NYC. Columbia University Professor Thurman is most recently the author of a graphic novel depicting the life of the Dalai Lama.


December 15

Unmistaken Child, a documentary set in Nepal in the early 2000s, directed by Israeli filmmaker Nati Baratz. Follows a young English-speaking Tibetan Buddhist monk searching rural Nepal, on the border of Tibet, for the reincarnation of his beloved teacher, a renowned lama. Charts the monk’s emotional journey in his arduous quest, the result of which will be approved or not by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Respondent: Ani Depa, Kagyu Thubten Choling, Wappinger Falls, NY. A Tibetan Buddhist nun ordained by Kalu Rinpoche and a teacher, Ani Depa completed two 3-year-and-3-month retreats.


January 19

Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island, an influential samurai narrative set in early 17th century Japan, directed by Hiroshi Inagaki, and starring the great Toshiro Mifune. This is the third film in a trilogy depicting the social and spiritual development of Japan’s most renowned swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi. Finds Musashi rejecting the patronage of the shogun for a farmer’s life, experiencing the love of 2 women, and abandoning the sword — until challenged for a final duel.

Respondent: Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Zen Mountain Monastery, Mt. Tremper, NY. Shugen Roshi is the abbot and resident teacher of ZMM and Head of the Mountains and Rivers Order.