TAKE ME TO THE RIVER is a documentary film shot in 2001 at the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India. This Hindu festival and pilgrimage was the largest gathering in the history of the world. The film documents the event by immersing you in the midst of the festival. Experience a roller coaster of emotions as obscurity and clarity flow across the crowded and dusty flood plain of Ganges and Yamuna Rivers. Through misty dawns, crowded streets, peaceful moments and chaotic sprints to the river, you'll journey into the Sangam, the physical and spiritual heart of the Mela where sins are cleansed, bathers can escape infinite karmic cycles and world peace is possible. You'll meet Swamis from the largest and most prestigious Hindu holy orders, ascetic 'naga babas, boatmen, policemen and pilgrims.
Director: Kenneth Eng
Producer: Casey Meade
Cinematographer: Colin Bressler
Music Director: Joshua Geisler
Running time: Approximately 80 minutes.
The Maha Khumba Mela: The Maha Kumbh Mela, that took place in Allahabad, India in January 2001, is estimated to be the largest gathering of human beings in the history of the world. Official figures state that over 27 million people came to bathe on one day alone - January 24, which was the most favorable time for a "holy dip" in the waters of the Sangam. Near the beginning of time, according to Hindu Myth, the Gods and Demons battled for possession of the amrit (nectar of immortality). In the struggle, four drops of nectar fell to the ground. Hindus believe that these places continue to reverberate with the power and energy of the gods and Mela's are held every 3 years in one of the four holy locations. The Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad is considered the most auspicious is because it occurs at the Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati Rivers.
Director/Editor Kenneth Eng is a Boston native who moved to New York City to study film making at the School of Visual Arts in 1994. Ken's student thesis, "Scratching Windows", was broadcast on WNET, New York City's PBS "Reel Life." Co-founder of the New York based multimedia and video production company, Python Aquarius, Ken has directed numerous music videos and documentary productions. "Take Me To The River" demonstrates Ken's innovative and distinct style, and puts him at the forefront of a revolution in documentary filmmaking.
Cinematographer Colin Bressler is a graduate of the school of visual arts in New York. In 1998 he was selected by his peers and faculty members at the School of Visual Arts for the Dusty Award for outstanding achievement in cinematography. That same year, he was nominated for the A.S.C. national award for best cinematography by a student or newcomer. Since graduation, Colin has shot twelve short subject films of varying lengths and styles, three feature films, and an eclectic mix of music videos and commercials. Colin has worked in digital and film formats. Colin Bressler is an emerging cinematographer with great experience and a great future in film.
Music Director Joshua Geisler graduated from the Berklee College of Music, in Boston, before travelling to Bombay in 1999 to study bansuri (traditional bamboo flute) under master Pandit Raghunath Seth. Mr. Geisler and percussionist Shane Shanahan (recently returned from touring in Europe with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project) set up a small recording studio at the Projectile Arts "compound" at the Kumbh Mela, inviting local people, and other musicians attending the festival, to join them in recording traditional and original works.
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