Independent films makers Justine Beirne and James Jeffery Caldwell are embarking on one of the most innovative and ambitious film projects to date: a film that can actually heal the audience. 2000 Vinyasas is the story of a woman, Vanessa, who uses yoga to overcome her distress after a sexual assault. She finds that her healing can begin when she focuses on healing others, rather than thinking about herself.
The film is funny, sweet and encouraging. Monti, the owner of the studio, prescribes twerking to some of his students as a way to enlightenment. Guru the teacher in training has a run in with vegan cupcakes laced with THC. Cindy uses her private sessions to gain the affection of David who only has eyes for Vanessa. Vanessa makes a promise not to have sex until she's completed 2000 Vinyasas.
"I'm a long time student of philosophy and Aquinas's aesthetic theory," says screenwriter Justine Beirne who earned an MA in philosophy from Columbia University. "Aquinas believed that it is the responsibility of the artist to 'elevate and instruct' her viewer. It got me thinking, what if a film could be more than a film? What if instead telling a story of transformation we can spark a transformation in the audience?"
Director James Jeffery Caldwell was drawn to the film's treatment of sexual assault:
"We're making a film about sexual assault to bring awareness to the staggering numbers of women and men who are afflicted by this every year. About 1 in 5 women are assaulted one time in their life time here in America. I find that reprehensible and if more people were aware of the epidemic going on, we would realize that the responsibility is on us to stop this violence."
But can a film about healing actually heal you? Beirne and Caldwell think it can. They've incorporated yogic mantras into the film, color therapy into the images and binural sounds into the score. Like a beautiful piece of music, the film goes through seven movements that heal chakras starting with the root chakra. As Vanessa uses poses on the screen to heal her own chakras, the audience can experience the same kind of healing. Besides, the screenplay is hilarious. And isn't laughter the best medicine?