Trailer for David Cherniack’s RETREAT movie

Buddhism Buddhism around the World Film Retreats

The trailer for David Cherniack’s RETREAT movie is now available for viewing on Vimeo. It is the first 10 minutes of the 108-minute documentary.

Here’s the link.

Here’s the blurb:

RETREAT follows thirty-five Westerners as they attempt an intense, eight-week, silent, meditation retreat in Thailand led by the American Buddhist teacher, B. Alan Wallace. Some are experienced mediators, some are beginners. The practice they’re learning is shamatha, or calm abiding, stilling the mind with sustained, one-pointed, concentration…simple enough sounding, but extremely difficult to master…and considered to be an essential step on the path to full enlightenment. Alan Wallace teaches it through a Buddhist understanding of the nature of consciousness and contrasts that with the prevailing materialist paradigm of modern neuroscience. The film follows the retreat from start to finish. We see it through Alan’s eyes and through the difficulties experienced by four of the retreatants recorded on video diaries. Tension builds when one retreatant has a sustained psychotic episode and things threaten to come apart. Afterward they come together in surprising and touching ways.

RETREAT world premieres at The Santa Barbara International Film Festival Monday, Jan. 28 at 8pm in the Arlington Theatre.

David Cherniack is a Canadian filmmaker who has made over 60 films for the CBC and other Canadian networks . He filmed throughout the retreat and meditated as time allowed. A long time Buddhist, he has made five films with H.H. the Dalai Lama, including Heart of Tibet, Sleepwalking Mongolia, and The Oracle. As a young man he went to Prague to learn Czech and study feature film direction at the Prague Film Academy (FAMU). Returning to Canada he began making documentaries and never stopped. Except for music composition he does all the creative, technical, and administrative tasks on his films from conception to completion and has lived to tell the tale. His biography and filmography can be found at

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