By: Monteque Pope-Le beau
Edited By: Colleen page
A mural in Venice Beach, California has captured the interest of many people along with Director Ed Moy, not just because of how beautiful and realistic it is, but because of the people the mural celebrates. In January of 2015, The Paradise Project commissioned its first public mural for the side of its headquarters in Venice, CA. The mural, entitled “Luminaries of Pantheism,” is by the notable muralist Levi Ponce. The mural was completed in March 2015. The name of the mural is “Luminaries of Pantheism” and celebrates 16 famous philosophers, scientists and poets.
What do these great thinkers have in common you might ask?
Pantheism which stresses the idea that all existence in the cosmos, to nature, to all of humanity and all living creatures is of the same essence as the divine. It is the perception of Albert Einstein, Baruch Spinoza, Alan Watts, Carl Sagan, Thomas Jefferson, Nikola Tesla, Lao Tzu , John Muir; and a wide array of scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, poets, and others who taught a science and nature based spiritual language. A language and belief that says everything, altogether is Divine. That we are a part of a unity and that paradise is here and now. The mural spans the entire length of the headquarters of the philosophical organization, The Paradise Project’s building,
Director Ed Moy Created the winning documentary short film Luminaries based on the mural “Luminaries of Pantheism”. The documentary has won the “Audience Award” at the 2017 Marina Del Rey Film Festival. The Art Of Monteque was able to sit down with the director and discuss this unique and special project.
Monteque Pope-Le Beau: What drew you to this project?
Ed Moy: I’ve always my own unique perspective on the meaning of life, “God” and the Universe. This project actually allowed me to express the views of leading scientists, philosophers and spiritual teachers who hold similar beliefs to my own. As such, it was the perfect opportunity for me to share their enlightenment with others while showcasing the mural and expressing my own beliefs in artistic form.
MP: What were your impressions when you saw the mural?
ED: I thought it was a unique mural that shined a light on historical figures that generally aren’t seen on such a large scale public artwork. It was its own beacon to the world, shining out for all to see. It certainly does get people’s attention and hopefully raises their curiosity about its meaning.
MP: How did you get involved in this project?
ED: I had known about the “Luminaries of Pantheism” mural for several years. My friend Nika Avila introduced me to the founder of the Paradise Project, Perry Rod, who conceived of the mural and eventually commissioned the artist, Levi Ponce, to paint it. I met Perry during the Marina del Rey Film Festival awards a couple years ago when I received an award for my previous documentary Aviatrix: The lKatherine Sui Fun Cheung Story. After mentioning my interest in making a documentary about the mural, he agreed to work with me last summer. We shot the project over several months of meetings and interviews.
MP: What are your thoughts about the notable men and women who are the luminaries of the project?
ED: I found them to all be brilliant in their own ways. They have connected to the “Universe” on some level and expressed it in their work with the world at large. Many of them challenged the traditional religious beliefs held during their time, but in the end they had the courage to stand by their convictions.
MP: How did this project affect to you?
ED: This project came along at the right time for me as I was searching for a new story to tell that would express some of my own spiritual and philosophical beliefs about the meaning of life as well as challenging old world views of who or what “God” is or isn’t. In the end, I found making this documentary reaffirmed my own beliefs that we are one with the universe and it is in all of us as we are a part of it.
MP: What do you think about the spiritual and scientific ideology?
ED: A lot of the philosophical and scientific beliefs held by the “Luminaries” featured in the mural resonated with me on multiple levels. I found it intriguing and enlightening. It was their inspiration that helped me to finish this project.
MP: Which of the luminaries have special meaning to you and why?
ED: Einstein’s quote resonated with me a lot. He did not believe in a judgmental God that meddled in the fate of everyday human lives and the doings of mankind but rather a God that was in the harmony of all that exists in the natural world. I loved this quote:
MP: What about Einstein speaks to you?
ED: Einstein was extremely intelligent and brilliant scientist. His philosophy and theories were renown. He seemed to shine a light on things for the world to discover.
MP: What do you want the audience to take away from your documentary?
ED: I hope that audiences get a sense of what went into the designing and painting of the mural as well as a basic understanding of the philosophy and spirituality espoused by the “Luminaries” depicted on the mural.
MP: As an artist and filmmaker what does this project mean to you?
ED: I think this project represents a nice blend of art, science and spirituality. I was honored to be given the opportunity to make this documentary.
MP: What were the difficulties in doing this project?
ED: This was one of the easiest projects I have made so far. We were very fortunate to have access to the mural, the artist and the concept designer and organizational leader. Everyone was generous enough to lend their time and energy. They also provided us with all of their prerecorded video from GoPro cameras that were setup during the painting of the mural.
MP: Will you be submitting this project to any film festivals?
ED: We premiered at the Marina del Rey Film Festival last year. We received the Audience Award for Documentary. We also showed it at the Culver City Film Festival last year. We won the Best Documentary about LA Award. The film is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
MP: From your standpoint how has technology changed film making and distribution?
ED: There is a lot of opportunity to create your own content and have it distributed without using traditional distributors. Filmmakers can make and distribute their own films right onto the internet.
MP: Has it made it easier to be that independent filmmaker or harder?
ED: It is much easier to create and distribute your projects now that ever before.
MP: What other projects are you working on that you can talk about?
ED: My new documentary Middleton Madness is premiering at this year’s Silicon Beach Film Festival in Playa del Rey, California. It is also available on Amazon Prime Video streaming.
MP: What advice do you have for potential filmmakers and artists?
ED: Do what you love and go with the flow. You’ll learn, grow and get better as you gain more experience.
MP: Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to speak with The Art Of Monteque.
ED: You’re most welcome. The pleasure was all mine. [TAOM]