Tag Archives: red tent filmmaker

A story of Pregnancy & Death

I’m 24 weeks pregnant and it’s a girl! And she is living in the most fabulous Red Tent that I have ever created. The story of my pregnancy began back in October 2015, when I was at wrapping up a 3-year long Red Tent movie tour having hosted more than 1000+ screenings & Red Tents. My grand finale was at the Parliament of World Religions, where I was co-facilitating a 6-day long Red Tent with ALisa Starkweather and Giuliana Serena for over 8,000 people. At this conference, I met this most extraordinary grandmother elder who I greeted with such love. She said to me, “You are my mother.” A spiritual seed was planted.

sonogram

After this conference, my time traveling ended and it was time to settle down with my fabulous husband and start the next “stage” of our life. I had intended to get a temporary, “normal” job in Chicago for about a year and start a family. And once the baby was born, I would be a stay-at-home mom for a year or so. But things didn’t really work out as I planned. As my level of frustration increased, one day in early February everything changed. Within a 24-hr period, I found out that I was officially pregnant and that my friend Lydia Ruyle was dying of a brain tumor.

Image of the Tarot Card I got everyday for a few weeks. Image courtesy of Katherine Skaggs.

Image of the Tarot Card I got everyday for a few weeks. Image courtesy of Katherine Skaggs.

My first sign of pregnancy was not that I had missed a period; it was that my morning tarot card was the water child (see photo) everyday for like 2-3 weeks. When I found out that I was pregnant and that my friend was dying, I said to my husband, I want to go to Colorado for the next few months and film the end of my friend’s life. Lydia was a matriarch of a global sisterhood and I have always wanted to make a movie about her, but the timing was never right over the past 10 years. Lydia is the reason why I make the kinds of movies I make. She has always supported me and said that the world needs the kinds of movies I wanted to make. She has been a huge guiding force in my professional life and for that I will always be grateful. With my husband’s blessing, I left for Colorado to film Lydia. I was greeted with tremendous support of Lydia’s incredible husband, her daughters and son, and her niece. Filming Lydia was a deeply profound experience for me, and of course she was extremely excited to find out that I was pregnant. I captured a truly amazing story about her life and her death, and I look forward to the time when I turn it into a movie for you all to see. Lydia lived her life with such gusto and she always wanted to encourage others to let their light shine too!

Dr. Isadora, Lydia Ruyle, and ALisa Starkweather in the Red Tent at the Parliament of World Religions

Dr. Isadora, Lydia Ruyle, and ALisa Starkweather in the Red Tent at the Parliament of World Religions

As my time with her came to an end in March, my morning sickness and debilitating nausea were taking hold of my life. And for the past several months, I retreated to my house, which is why not many people have heard from me on social media, phone or email. To this day, I still have nausea. It’s been a difficult pregnancy. But she’s healthy and kicking up a storm in utero. My due date is October 23rd. So she may be a Libra or a Scorpio, we shall see. She will be the 4th generation of matriarchal zodiac cusp women, since my birthday is May 22nd, my mother’s is August 22nd, and my grandmother’s was April 21st. We have yet to pick a name, but I know that it’s going to be something AMAZING!

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April Screenings: Family, Friends, & Leadership

by Jayleigh Lewis

April 2014 was another month of travel and adventure for the Red Tent movie: Things We Don’t Talk About, and for Dr.Isadora, the filmmaker. The film premiered in France on April 1st (although it is not yet subtitled in French) and, as a result, the Red Tent (Tente Rouge) movement is expanding in that country. Meanwhile, Dr. Isadora attended several screenings in Florida and one in Massachusetts, as well as visiting the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI (her alma mater), for two days of Red Tent-related activities, including the RI premiere of the film.

The movie was screened in Gainesville, Florida, on April 12th, for the first time in that city. Caron Cadle, a friend of Dr. Isadora’s and a major donor to the film, who has followed it from the beginning, assisted in the organization of this event. It was sponsored by Wild Iris Books, one of the only feminist bookstores left in the US. The screening itself was held next door at the Civic Media Center, an alternative library and reading room. It was packed; attendees even included a few people who have been following the movie and who just happened to be in Gainesville on spring break! Afterward, the group moved outside to the Red Tent, which had been set up in the courtyard. Luckily for this rare arrangement, the weather was beautiful, and fresh air moved through the space as women blessed each other during the veil dancing ritual.

Gainesville, FL Red Tent movie screening

Gainesville, FL Red Tent movie screening

The next screening took place the next day in Boca Raton, FL. It was sponsored by a local organization, Integrative Counseling and Hypnosis Associates (led by Dr. Melody Smith),that was also one of the film’s endorsers. The venue was Michael’s Body Scenes, a gym—certainly one of the most unique screening venues! Bodybuilders helped Dr. Isadora put up the Red Tent inside a ballet/aerobics studio. The large space was surrounded by mirrors on all sides, so that reflections of the Red Tent appeared to extend as far as the eye could see. This screening was not very well attended due to a large monsoon-like rainstorm that occurred just before and during (although Dr. Isadora’s mother and second cousin did attend—the first time the filmmaker and her mother were both present at a screening), so Dr. Isadora and Dr. Melody made plans for another Red Tent event to be held in this city in October 2014.

Boca Raton, FL Red Tent Movie screening

Boca Raton, FL Red Tent Movie screening

Dr. Isadora then traveled to Sarasota for a screening on April 16th (which her mother also attended—she commented that she appreciated the family support). This screening was held inside a wellness center called Transendance, which offers holistically-oriented classes and coaching. The third Wednesday of every month is their inspirational movie night, and Things We Don’t Talk About was their movie choice for April. The Red Tent was packed; the Q + A session after the movie turned into a group conversation about what in society lifts women up and what tears them down. Women representing multiple different age groups (from 30s to 80s) weighed in on this topic. Continuing the theme of visitors from out of state (wherever you go, there the Red Tent is!), a Red Tent organizer from Ohio who was visiting family in Florida was one of the attendees at this screening.

Sarasota, FL Red Tent Movie Screening

Sarasota, FL Red Tent Movie Screening

On April 19th, the Women’s Collective of Williams College and the Red Tent of Bennington, Vermont co-sponsored a screening at the College in Williamstown, MA. The founder of the Bennington Red Tent, Wendy Lyons, appears in the film. Onscreen, she speaks about how the Red Tent dramatically increased her self-esteem, helping her to transform from someone who didn’t know who she was to someone who truly believes in herself. In one of the short clips that run alongside the film’s credits, she says that she wants to start a Red Tent in Bennington. Five years later, Wendy is a community leader, and her Red Tent is going strong, with about ten regular attendees: a testament to the depth and staying power of the changes she spoke about in the film.

On April 21st, Dr. Isadora returned to the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI, the institution from which she graduated in 2004. She was invited to host five different events over the course of two days, during which current students would have the opportunity to hear her speak about her work as well as see Things We Don’t Talk About. These events included a “lunch with the filmmaker,” a talk on leadership that was part of the RISD Leads program (an initiative of the Center for Student Involvement, which, along with Student Development and Counseling Services, co-sponsored Dr. Isadora’s visit), a film screening (and Q + A), a Red Tent, and a seminar the next day that was part of a Psychology of Women and Gender class. Needless to say, it was a busy couple of days! I (Jayleigh) was able to attend three of these events, since I live nearby in Rhode Island; it was the first time since the film’s premiere in September 2012 that I had seen Dr. Isadora in person.

The Red Tent was set up in the Tap Room in RISD’s Memorial Hall, which is one of the school’s community spaces. Fabric (including a red parachute that formed the ceiling) was clipped to light fixtures and pipes, forming an enclosed tent space within the larger room. It needed to be expanded several times to accommodate the large numbers of students that were expected.

As Dr. Isadora answered students’ questions about her work, and about how she got from being a sculpture major ten years ago to being the maker of an award-winning film about women’s community spaces, I realized how relevant what she was saying was to my own life. She emphasized the importance of creativity in leadership, not taking no for an answer, and collaboration via talent exchange. My goals and passions do not easily fit into pre-defined societal boxes, and it’s been all too easy to give up on myself—Dr. Isadora’s talk inspired me to keep looking for unique solutions to what seem like intractable problems.

Towards the end of the talk, which was attended by students, staff, and faculty, community members began trickling in for the movie screening. There was a short break while the room was rearranged, and then the film began. It was the first time I had seen it since 2012, and it was particularly special to watch it while sitting in the same room as three friends, each from a different part of my life (Dr. Isadora, a friend from graduate school, and a friend I know from women’s groups).

Only a few women stayed for the Red Tent; we all seemed to be tired and we only made it through two rounds of the veil dancing ritual. Nevertheless, the beauty and power of the ritual came through. I felt as I danced that I had for a time become again an ancient priestess, able to direct life energy through the swirling veils as they became extensions of my hands, blessing the women who lay on the ground beneath me.

Yes, women’s community is alive and well.

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3 ideas to Celebrate International Women’s Day in your Red Tent

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March 4, 2014 · 9:47 am

3 things to do in your Red Tent

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Filed under From the filmmaker, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost

Coast to Coast Screenings

By Jayleigh Lewis

After a December hiatus, Isadora, filmmaker of the Red Tent Movie, Things We Don’t Talk About, was back in attendance at several movie screenings during January 2014.

First up was the Washington, D.C. premiere (one of two for the month, the other being the Kentucky premiere) on January 12th. Sponsored by Birch Moon, an emerging community healing space created by local woman Teresa Duncan, the event was a double feature with two screenings and two Red Tents held back to back. The basement of a home was transformed into a Red Tent space packed with attendees, many of whom were members of two Red Tent communities in the area (Bethesda, Maryland, and Arlington, Virginia, both of which were featured in the film). Isadora described the event as low-key and authentic, a gathering of women who enjoyed meaningful networking, good food, and relaxed socializing.

Later in the month, Isadora visited California and attended two more screenings. The first, on January 24th in Topanga Canyon, took place at a home within the canyon. Winding roads led attendees to the top of a mountain; getting to the screening was an adventure in itself! The Topanga Canyon Red Tent community (led by Megan Greene), which has been meeting in the area for the past three years, hosted the event. Twenty women enjoyed the combined screening and Red Tent gathering; these included women of Iranian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, and Mexican descent, making it quite a diverse group. Isadora noted the beauty of hearing many different languages spoken in the Red Tent.

Red Tent Screening, Topanga, CA. Photo by iX-CheL

Red Tent Screening, Topanga, CA. Photo by iX-CheL

The women literally wove themselves together during the talking circle, using a ball of red yarn which they passed across and around, forming a web that grew as each woman spoke. Introducing herself by calling in the names of her matrilineal ancestors, every woman had an opportunity to share what was happening in her life through the lenses of joy and compassion, the themes of the gathering. This was especially poignant for Isadora, whose maternal grandmother passed away in December 2013. “I am Isadora, daughter of Teresa Moorehouse, daughter of Ella Knapp, daughter of Rita Haviland,” she said when it was her turn, affirming the abiding strength of the women whose love helped form the foundation of her life.

The love and strength of the mother-daughter bond was shown in another deeply immediate and tangible form when the mother of host Megan Greene, who is pregnant with her first child, shared with great pride and joy how good it feels to witness and be present with her daughter as she holds life within her body. Matrilineal links are not only something from the past; they are being forged all the time.

The second California screening took place the next day in Canoga Park, at a clubhouse within a retirement community. It was sponsored by the House of the Goddess, a women’s organization that also hosted the Goddess Spirit Rising conference in September 2013. Laura and Delphine (Duffy), leaders of the organization, met Isadora when she attended a Red Tent Movie screening at the conference and asked her to return for another screening for their community. Although the screening and following Red Tent was only attended by about 10 women, due to many members of the community being sick with the flu, Isadora described the experience as fun.

Canoga Park, CA Red Tent Screening.

Canoga Park, CA Red Tent Screening.

Some highlights include:

–One attendee, who is a belly dancer, taught and led a session of belly dance.

–Duffy shared a guided meditation CD she created, leading women through what it might be like to be inside a moon lodge or menstrual hut in ancient times. The CD was such a hit that Isadora was inspired to make it available for sale (coming soon), so more women can have the experience.

–Women participated in an activity seeking to turn the concept of “mean girls,” girls and women who engage in negative self-talk and corresponding destructive behavior, on its head. Phrases that encapsulated the mindset of a “mean girl,” such as, “I’m not good enough,” or, “I gossip about others to make myself feel better,” were placed in a bowl. When women drew them out, they offered a countering message for each, turning them into positive self-talk and constructive, empowering actions.

And that wraps up the January screenings; more screenings to come next month!

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Help! I don’t know how to start a Red Tent or Host a Screening

by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD

If you have found yourself inspired by the Red Tent movement or have seen “Things We Don’t Talk About” and now you want to create a Red Tent in your community or host a screening of the film, but you have found yourself saying, “Help, I don’t know how to do this..” we are here to help!

I don’t know how to create a Red Tent?
You don’t need tons of red stuff, but it sets the tone and it makes it more fun.

For additional one-on-one advice on how to create a Red Tent we suggest you participate in the monthly “Red Tent Temple Movement Teleconferences” with Alisa Starkweather, the founder of the movement. To find out when the next call is visit: http://www.redtenttemplemovement.com

How to get started:

Consider your goals and needs – and use the film to support them in a practical way. Before any event, you should consider the following:

1) IDENTIFY OBJECTIVES

Identifying your objectives will lay the foundation for your event planning. Think about what you’d like to get out of the event, how it can benefit your group or organization, and what is realistic. Here are a few suggested objectives (these are not mutually exclusive!):

  • Raise awareness about the importance of the Red Tent in your community.
  • Raise awareness about taboo topics.
  • Create an environment that supports, nurtures, and celebrates women.
  • Raise awareness about the importance for women taking time for themselves.
  • Heighten visibility and spotlight the importance of your work by connecting it with the issues raised in the film.
  • Build bridges between different age groups, races, and religious or spiritual practices.
  • Educate women about opportunities that are available in your community.
  • Establish coalitions with other groups or organizations and inspire the development of new programs that address the needs of women in your community.
  • Fund raise for your group or organization. By joining forces with “Things We Don’t Talk About” we can work together to build the world we want to live in.

2) TARGET AUDIENCE

Because a Red Tent is a woman-only space, your audience will be women. While we suggest that you start by inviting your girlfriends and female family members, we also want to encourage you to consider opening the flaps of your tent a little wider.

photo(3)

Who else should I invite?
• Invite your community leaders
• Invite other local organizations or women’s groups
• Invite the press, perhaps your local newspaper reporter is a women, invite her!

It’s important to have Action Steps:
Offer the “inspired” women who want to attend your event an opportunity to get involved. For example, maybe they can bring some food or maybe they can help give out some postcards or send some emails.

red-bull-horn

Getting the Word Out

There are many ways to get the word out. We believe that people will feel compelled to attend an event if it feels relevant, important and timely, and if it speaks to them as an audience.

At any given time there will be many possible tie-ins to women’s lives and “hooks” for particular media outlets. Having a Red Tent in every community will help millions of women and girls. One of the film’s goals is to reach “beyond the choir” and we believe that you can do it too!

Take into account how best to reach your audiences. Not everyone uses e-mail, and not everyone hangs out at progressive coffee shops. A clear understanding of how to reach each audience segment will make you more effective, and the best strategy is likely to be a combination of the techniques listed below. And remember, the best publicity will do more much than attract people to your Red Tent or screening: it will bring the overall message that we need Red Tents in our communities to a much wider audience.

Finally, be sure to send us your event information (info@redtentmovie.com) so that we can publicize for you too! If you booked a screening with us , you submitted a license and we added all of your information to our upcoming screening page and all of our other social media PR.

1) ELECTRONIC/VIRAL OUTREACH

This is one of the most effective ways to reach people, but attention spans are short, and it works best when it is accompanied by other sorts of outreach and publicity. In all electronic outreach, be sure to include a link to www.redtentmovie.com so people can view the trailer, or
better yet, embed the “Things We Don’t Talk About” trailer on your website.

  •  Newsletter or e-mail announcement: You can use the downloadable flyer templates or the template e-mails we provide at www.redtentmovie.com/host.html as the basis to create an email announcement to spread the word about your event. We recommend you send out these emails at least twice: two weeks before, and then a reminder a few days before your event.
  • Blogs: Reach out to any bloggers that you know and to bloggers who are popular with your target audience. Even a brief mention with a link to the event is helpful. Be sure to send them information to link to or embed the “Things We Don’t Talk About” trailer from                 www.redtentmovie.com onto their site for increased impact.
  •  Social networks have become hugely important in reaching certain audiences, and can be especially useful when there’s a Facebook group connected to a specific local community such as a Red Tent, university, local women’s organization, etc. We suggest setting up an “event” and inviting members of your community to forward and distribute the event information to friends. (Be sure to enable the features that allow people to forward your event information to their friends.) You can also just send a message with the event information to your friends and to groups that might be interested, including links to the Things We Don’t Talk About” website and to our pages on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/redtentfilm and Twitter http://twitter.com/redtentmovie

Be sure to tag us:

facebook@ Red Tent Movie “Things We Don’t Talk About”

twitter#redtentmovie

movie-postcard

2) POSTERS & FLYERS

Putting up posters and flyers around your community, in the right coffee shops, and on community bulletin boards can be incredibly effective. We offer a number of free downloadable template flyers and mini-posters (at www.redtentmovie.com/host.html) that you can easily customize to include your event details and then print on your own printer.

Here are a number of ideas:

  • Pass out the “Things We Don’t Talk About” postcards or flyers. These postcards will help women carry the message about the screening or Red Tent event and will provide all of the information they need to let their friends know
  • Leave a stack of flyers at appropriate local businesses and ask if you can place a mini-poster in their window. Try video stores, coffee shops, restaurants, community centers, barbershops/salons, churches, synagogues, schools, campuses, and anywhere else that your audience likes to hang-out. You can also try placing an ad on local bus systems, on school shuttles, and similar places. (Some ambitious organizers have even gotten sponsorship from the local bus system in the form of free ad space!)
  • Distribute flyers at events with similar themes. Be sure to send (or e-mail) flyers to cosponsoring organizations to distribute at their events.
  • Go to local organizations that do work that relate to women and ask if you can leave flyers at the entrance or if they’ll post the mini-poster.

3) LOCAL MEDIA

As mentioned earlier, we have designed this toolkit to be comprehensive in order to empower you to do the best event possible. We realize that some sections will not be applicable to everyone and this section on local media is a great example – depending on your objectives and your audience, you may or may not decide to pursue media coverage. That’s fine, as it’s all about how best to reach and impact your audience. But read on for some guidance for how simple media outreach can be!

If you or one of your co-sponsoring organizations has a communications department that can take the reigns on contacting press, get them involved right away. But we understand that many small groups or community organizations may have limited capacity, so we’ve put together some basic tips that can be useful to those who are new to working with local media.

Before you make complicated plans about how to promote your event, spend some time thinking about who is most likely to understand and appreciate your event, and what media your target audience listens to, reads and logs on to. By targeting your core audience, you might decide that it makes more sense to focus on, say, an alternative weekly paper that already covers innovative community initiatives vs. the headline-driven daily paper that tends to focus on crime and
celebrites.

Below are some basic tips for your media outreach:

  • Use the template press release available at www.redtentmovie.com/host.html as a guide to create your own.
  • Ten days before the event, issue the release to a wide range of mainstream, alternative, community and specialized media. Make sure to send it to reporters covering women’s issues, the arts/entertainment, and metro sections.

If press wants photos or a press kit about the film itself, you can always direct them to www.redtentmovie.com

Get your event on calendar listings in your city’s weekly publication(s) and on the web. Make calls to local television and radio programs. Let them know about your event. Pay particular attention to local radio shows and shows that focus on women’s issues, as they frequently need guests and may be very happy to promote a local event!

Here’s who to contact:

  • Local TV news: assignment editors
  • Public affairs or magazine programs: producer
  • Talk radio or local/community radio: producers or host

A couple of days prior to your event contact the people to whom you sent press materials and encourage them to attend the event.
4) CO-SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS

We strongly encourage including other organizations in your plans, as it helps you broaden your reach and establish new, potentially long-term partnerships. Allied organizations can get involved in a range of ways depending on their capacity. This can include getting the word out through listservs or websites and contributing time or resources. There are many groups that would make good co-sponsors, including women’s organizations and Women’s Centers at universities.

The key in approaching co-sponsors is to help them understand how your event fits into their priorities as an organization, and how they will ultimately benefit from being associated with your plans. Be sure to allow enough lead-time – building new relationships often takes time.

Good luck!

Isadora_pr

I hope that you found article helpful in planning your next Red Tent or upcoming screening of “Things We Don’t Talk About.” If you have any questions please contact us at info@redtentmovie.com

Portions of this guide were adapted from the Made in L.A. Event Planning Toolkit, created by the filmmakers of Made in L.A. (www.MadeinLA.com) and based on materials developed by Active Voice (www.activevoice.net) with funding from P.O.V.

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The Red Tent Movie premiere’s in Colorado

by Jayleigh Lewis

Women gathered to create Red Tent spaces in two locations in Colorado on July 20th and 21st 2013, hosting screenings of the Red Tent movie Things We Don’t Talk About as well as Q&A sessions with Isadora, the filmmaker.

Fort Collins, CO Premiere

Fort Collins, CO Premiere

The Red Tent community in Boulder transformed a yoga studio into sacred space for the Colorado Premiere. In this progressive college town in the foothills of the Rockies, they transformed the space using floor red coverings and Christmas lights and the women and the men shared great conversation and stories after the movie. Elena and Aditi, co-hosts of Boulder’s monthly Red Tent (which for a time was one of the only permanent Red Tents in the country, a dedicated space rather than one created and dismantled at every gathering), each spoke from personal experience about spaces that honor the feminine.

Elena spoke about what it was like to bring Red Tent space to a local women’s domestic abuse shelter. The women there mostly spoke Spanish; Elena’s words to them were translated by the woman in charge of the shelter. The women shared with Elena that having the Red Tent brought to them, through words spoken in their own language, helped them to feel safe.

Aditi had just returned from a trip to India, where she had participated in a festival honoring the menstruating goddess. This annual festival, called Ambubachi Mela, takes place in a temple in Assam and includes a period of three days where the goddess known as Kamakhya is believed to be menstruating. The temple is closed during this time to honor her. Aditi’s sharing at the screening opened the minds and imaginations of those present to the concept of the divinity of menstruation.

Fort Collins, CO Premiere

Fort Collins, CO Premiere

The next day, the history-rich plains town of Fort Collins was the site of the next movie screening. There is not yet a Red Tent community in this town, but the event was hosted in a New Age-style church by Leslie and Tracee, locals who work to empower women and girls. Leslie hosts a radio show (which three years ago featured an interview with Isadora) called Holy Hormones Honey! She is an author and researcher focusing on how hormonal changes during women’s menstrual cycles affect their well-being on all levels. Tracee is also an author as well as a community leader who works to revolutionize the way we think about raising girls, emphasizing the importance of helping them to know and experience their own power.

Fort Collins, CO Premiere

Fort Collins, CO Premiere

Isadora’s traveling red fabric wall hangings adorned the space where, after the screening, Leslie celebrated her 60th birthday with delicious cupcakes. The Q and A session featured long, depth-filled conversations. One woman found the courage to speak of the fear she had experienced at the beginning of the gathering upon walking into a room full of other women. She went on to share that as she sat in the space and listened to women speak, she began to overcome her fear and to imagine what might be possible if she had sisterhood in her life.

Each event was a precious pause in time and space during which participants experienced real-life women’s community as well as witnessing it onscreen.

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", From the filmmaker, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, Jayleigh Lewis, recent screenings, red tent film, red tent movie