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UPCOMING WORKSHOPS   |    Velcrow Ripper

Velcrow Ripper at The Montreal international documentary film festival, 8th edition - November 10-20, 2005

Round Table Discussion “Filming Alone” -Nov 15 9:30 am, Cinema ONF/NFB, with Jean-Pierre Duret, Michaêl Lheureux, Leonard Retel Helmrich, and Velcrow Ripper 1564 rue Saint-Denis, Montréal.

Director in attendance at Carlton screenings, Toronto
Fri., Sat. & Sun., October 28 - 30

Velcrow Ripper will be doing a Q & A after each of the 7:25 pm screenings at the Carlton Cinema, in Toronto. Don't miss this chance to see ScaredSacred on the big screen!

Download the Transforming Crisis press release (PDF, 72KB)

The issues behind the award-winning feature documentary aren't reserved merely for the silver screen. A series of exciting panels and workshops are scheduled as part of the film's national theatrical launch, exploring the themes behind 'ScaredSacred', hosted by the film's director, Velcrow Ripper.

October 23 - November 5, 2005
Admission: By Donation (suggested $5-10)
Proceeds support the ScaredSacred Project

ScaredSacred: Media in Action
Wednesday, October 26, 6 to 8 pm
Drake Hotel (at the The Underground) 1150 Queen Street West

How can media be used as a tool for social change? How can podcasting, grass roots networking, multi-faith programming, and feature documentaries help change the world? An exploration of possibility in a world in crisis, from a cutting edge cast of media producers and distributors, including feminist activist and internet publisher Judy Rebick (, Alternatives), grass roots marketing maven, Katherine Dodds (The Corporation), writer/ broadcaster Adrian Harewood (Counterspin, Independent World Television), and Gerry Flahive (National Film Board of Canada).

Moderated by ScaredSacred director, Velcrow Ripper.

Saturday, October 29th, 5:30 pm - 7pm
ScaredSacred: Forgiveness, Justice and Genocide
Camera 1028 Queen St. W. Tel: 416.530.0011

What is the interplay between forgiveness and justice?  What happens at the juncture of compassion and moral outrage? How does the spirit of a culture survive in exile or under attack? What about the perpetrators? And where is the sacred in all this? Join us for this fascinating discussion with three insightful minds drawing from  their experience of the Tibetan exile, the Armenian genocide, and the turmoil of Lebanon and Iraq.
Featuring special guests Tibetan born scholar and Geshe, Dr. Thutpen Jinpa (Cambridge University; principle translator for the Dalai Lama), Lebanese born author Hadani Ditmars (Dancing in the No-Fly Zone, a woman’s journey through Iraq) and Armenian born Canadian film artist, Atom Egoyan, who will be screening clips from his film  ‘Ararat’, about the Armenian genocide. Moderated by Velcrow Ripper.

Sunday, October 30th, 5:30 - 7pm
ScaredSacred:  Agents of Change
Camera 1028 Queen St. W. Tel: 416.530.0011

A slide show and workshop featuring Richard Fitoussi from the Cambodian Land Mine Relief Fund, a campaign Richard has initiated in aid of one of the subjects of ScaredSacred, survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide, Aki Ra.  As a child soldier, Aki was forced to lay land mines by the Khmer.   Today, he dedicates his life to demining Cambodian, wandering the dangerous fields and jungles with a simple wooden stick, decommissioning hundreds of land mines each year.  It’s his way of healing both himself, and his broken country.  Hosted by Velcrow Ripper.

FierceLight: When Spirit Meets Action
Saturday, November 5th , 5:30 pm - 7 pm
Camera, 1028 Queen St. W. Tel: 416–530–0011
Featuring Deepak Chopra

The closing panel of the ScaredSacred series focuses on the merging of the depth of spirit with the power of action, the theme to be explored in part two of the ScaredSacred Trilogy: FierceLight, a feature documentary, podcast, and non-fiction novel based on the quest to discover stories of spiritual activism on the front lines of the planet; contemporary manifestations of what Martin Luther King called ‘Love in Action,’ and Gandhi called ‘Soul Force.’ Featuring a dynamic panel of Spiritual Activists, including Deepak Chopra, president of the Alliance for a New Humanity (ANH) and renowned author of Peace is the Way, Michael Karling, board member of ANH and founder of Mythic Imagination Institute, and members of the youth organization Bethesolution. Panelists will be connected via live multi camera internet video, and simulcast through the ScaredSacred website in conjunction with, to a global audience. Hosted by Velcrow Ripper.

*check the website for guest updates.

PAST LECTURES & WORKSHOPS   |   Velcrow Ripper

October 21 to 23 DIRECTORS Q & A - Opening Weekend in Toronto


Part of the Transforming Crisis workshop series (see top of page for more info)

Sunday, October 23rd
The Camera 1028 Queen St. W.

A Workshop by ScaredScared director Velcrow Ripper
with special guest, Charles Montgomery (winner of the 2005 Charles Taylor Award).

Drawing from his experiences while shooting the feature documentary ScaredSacred, award winning director Velcrow Ripper will explore the relationship between art, the Sacred, and the path of action. The workshop will delve into such issues as the sacred trust between the interviewer and the subject; the relationship between art, spirituality and activism, and crisis as a tool of transformation. Included will be a guided meditation based on the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Tonglen, which involves breathing in suffering and out compassion. The film ScaredSacred is inspired by this practice.

The workshop will open with a very special guest: writer Charles Montgomery, speaking and reading from his award-winning book “The Last Heathen.” In 2002, Charles was drawn into a confrontation between militants and a mystical band of indigenous monks in the Solomon Islands. The experience--and the martyrdom of the monks--led the journalist to explore the transformative line between reportage and mythmaking.

October 22, 10 pm at the Drake Hotel SCAREDSACRED PARTY!

Join us for the ScaredSacred Party, Saturday October 22nd, 10 pm at the Drake Hotel.

RSVP to for your invitation (which will scoot you through the Drake's line up), or bring your ScaredSacred ticket stub.

April 16th and 17th The NextDoc Master Class, 'Cinema and the Sacred', Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Drawing from his experiences while shooting the feature documentary ScaredSacred, award winning director Velcrow Ripper will explore the relationship between moving pictures and the Sacred.

The workshop will also delve into issues of documentary production such as the sacred trust between the interviewer and the subject; filming under difficult circumstances; experimental practices in documentary, and more. This workshop will explore ways in which art can 'make the invisible visible'.

The session will begin with the first incarnation of the ScaredSacred project, a guided visualization participation performance piece. The presentation will also investigate the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Tonglen, which involves breathing in suffering and breathing out compassion. This is depicted visually in ScaredSacred, and explicitly in the narration. Participants in the workshop will have the opportunity to try out the practice. Join Velcrow Ripper for this intriguing investigation into art as a tool for transformation.

12 - 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, in the CBC Radio Building. To register, call CFAT at (902) 420- 4002.

May 14 Cinema and the Sacred in Action. Part of Reframe 2, at Malaspina College, Nanaimo BC.

"Drawing from his experiences while shooting the feature documentary ScaredSacred, award winning director Velcrow Ripper will explore the relationship between moving pictures, sound, the Sacred, and the path of action. The workshop will delve into such issues as the sacred trust between the interviewer and the subject; experimental practices in documentary, and sound design, as well as the relationship between spirituality and activism. It will explore ways in which art can 'make the invisible visible', and act as a tool of transformation."

Reframe2: Media & Leadership Conference May 13th & 14th, 2005 Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, B.C.; hosted by the Centre for Digital Humanities Innovation(CDHI) and the Media Studies Department

"Showcasing innovation, imagination and independence in media creation and distribution, theReframe2: Media and Leadership Conference explores the idea that we are the media. Reframe 2 will bring together independent media artists and distributors,individuals and collectives who are reshaping the mediasphere with emerging digital technologies.

August 27-29 Spirit Matters Tabor, Czech Republic. Arts festival of international interdisciplinary collaborations. Multi-media performance.

"The desire to define existence has produced the most contentious struggles since the dawn of humanity. Civilization is the result of myriad definitions evidenced by science, philosophy and religion. During the epoch of postmodernism, the rift between the spiritual and the material began to grow at an exponential rate; yet, both sides of this split still claim to encompass the other. This contradiction translates into dichotomous interpretations of reality, morality, purpose, expression and power.

For Spirit Matters, CESTA invites artists from all disciplines to approach and interpret the diverse roles spirituality plays in the inspiration to make, and the creation and critique of, artistic work. We ask artists to collaborate in developing works which critically address the tension and harmony between knowledge and belief, understanding and mystery, the devoted and the devout.

CESTA's festival themes and parameters of cross-national interdisciplinary collaborations represent the center's commitment to improving communication through creative expression. We base our selection of artists on a review of applications resulting from our annual open call."

Spirit Matters Festival Schedule
August 1-24: On-site collaborations in progress
August 14-21: Meet the Artists - presentations of participants' past work
August 14-21: Seminars, workshops and educational programs on the festival theme
August 26-28: Final presentations of the collaboration groups
August 27-29: Daily reviews of the presentations

Feb 2 Lecture at McGill University, Department of Religious Studies

Part of the course 'Siting the Sacred'. Moderated by Doctor Norman Cornett. A dialogic session on ScaredSacred with Velcrow Ripper and special guests Dr. Thutpen Jinpa (Cambridge University; personal translator for the Dalai Lama), Dr. Gregory Baum (eminent specialist on theology and social change), Rabbi Howard Joseph (rabbi of the oldest synagogue in Canada), and Seana Pasic (survivor of the siege of Sarajevo, researcher for the Gemini award winning documentary, "War Babies").

Feb 6 Panel discussion at Victoria International Film Festival Laurel Point Inn.

"Do subjective or objective choices in shooting a documentary define the truth or reality of a non-fiction film? How does a narrative voice impact the portrayal of the subject? Integral to the success of any documentary is the relationship between the filmmaker and the film's subject; a relationship that can be riddled with ethical and aesthetic challenges. Whether the filmmaker is documenting a very personal event in their subject's lives or presenting a politically contentious argument, how the director negotiates the information is a vital part of the filmmaking process and key to the shape of the story. A panel of diverse filmmakers voice their informed opinions."

Feb 7 High school lecture, Victoria, BC

Feb 21 Lecture: Cinema and the Sacred, Boulder, Colorado.

Feb 24 'Cue Up - Video and film as a tool for activism'. Artists' talk, open screenings at Video In Studios, 1965 Main St., Vancouver BC.

"Now a regular monthly event, CUE UP is an evening of open screenings, guest talks and Socializing. Producers of video/film and new media are invited to bring finished or work in progress on mini DV, VHS or DVD for presentation in an informal setting. Work is accepted on a first come first serve basis. There are no artist fees and the general public is encouraged to attend. Socializing will follow at the Brickhouse at 730 Main Street. Our special guest for Feb. 24 2005 will be director Velcrow Ripper."

Mar 6 Workshop: Cinema and the Sacred Whitehorse, Yukon.

Drawing from the experience of shooting the feature documentary ScaredSacred, director Velcrow Ripper explored the relationship between the Sacred and the Cinema. What is the Sacred and how does it relate to art? The film is a visual depiction of the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Tonglen, breathing in suffering and breathing out compassion. This is explored both in the visual and aural approach to the film, and explicitly in the narration. Velcrow Ripper, award-winning filmmaker, presented this intriguing workshop on the relationship between the documentarian and his subject, which he calls "a sacred trust."

Mar 8 Workshop in Dawson City, Yukon.

Mar 19 and 20 Women in Film & Video Vancouver presented The Director's Workshop 2005 1269 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC.

Mar 23 Sound Design Workshop, Cineworks Salon. Led by Velcrow Ripper & Nettie Wild.

Velcrow Ripper and Nettie Wild, at the Cinematic Salon, presented an intimate and in-depth discussion on the importance of sound design in any film, but particularly within the documentary. Using clips from their work, Nettie and Velcrow revealed the strategies they use in creating the aural landscape of their films.

The creative use of sound, including effects, music and dialogue, all help to shape the picture, as much as the picture itself, and sometime more. Time spent in this process can make a huge difference to the calibre of a film.

Lecture: Massive Change Symposium, Vancouver Art Gallery

Panelist: Feature Documentary Production, Vancouver International Trade Forum

Panelist: Personal Narrative in Documentary, Guelph International Film Festival

Panelist: Media Activism, Global Visions Film Festival

Panelist: Feature Documentary, Doxa

Instructor: Video Art/Documentary, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, 2002-2004

Instructor/co-founder: Video Production, at Gulf Islands Film and Television School. Intensive courses on documentary, narrative, and experimental video and film production. (on-going)

Instructor: Video Production, Access to Media Education Society. (on-going)

Panelist: Sound Design, Hot Docs! 2002

Workshop Instructor: Media Activism, Pacific Northwest Independent Media Center Convergence, 2002

Instructor/Project Director: Cuba-Canada Intervideo - International youth video exchange, in conjunction with Gulf Islands Film and Television School and IDERA Films (Canada) and Foundacion Ludwig and CINED (Cuba).

Instructor: "The Art of Writing Grants" (with Mary Daniel and Oliver Hockenhull), Cineworks, Nov. '93

Instructor: Media Activism. SCArts Festival. (1994).

Panelist: "World Wide Web" Hot Docs! Toronto 1996

Panelist: Short Film Distribution, Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival, June '95

Panelist Production Financing: Alliance of Independent Film and Video (Newfoundland, June 95)

Panelist: Independent Filmmaking: Vancouver International Film Festival ('95)

Panelist: Opening Frames: Filmmaker as a Political Advocate, '94

Panelist: "Film Marketing", Local Heroes Film Festival, '96

Panelist: World Wide Web; Images, '96 "Clik Interactive"

Lecture: the University of Lethbridge, 1995

Lecture: "The Tuning Of The World: The First International Conference Of Acoustic Ecology" at the Banff Centre. Lecture entitled "Stop the Silencing of the Land"; presented with Joyce Nelson ("Sultans of Sleaze") and Gerry Mander ("Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television"), 1993.

Workshop Instructor: "Technology, Interactivity and Narrative", Banff Center for the Arts, 1995

Guest Lecture: The Worldwide Web as Narrative

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