'Ashram' Short Film Premiere in New York

This past Sunday, a new short-film about Alice Coltrane’s Ashram was screened in Brooklyn.

Made by the French film makers Vincent Moon & Priscilla Telmon, and in partnership with Boiler Room & Luaka Bop, it is a contemporaneous portrait of the community at the Sai Anantam Ashram, in Agoura Hills, California.

Following its foundation in 1983, a multi-ethnic and multi generational spiritual community emerged. One of the high points of this very special and loving environment took shape on Sundays, when Alice, also referred to as Swamini or Turiyasangitandanda by her family and students, would lead the community in a musical ceremony. Swamini took traditional Sanskrit chants and mantras, along with original compositions, and interwove them with her gospel roots, classical training, and dynamic avant-garde harmonics to create an extraordinarily powerful and unique sound.

On October 4, 2017, ten years after Alice left her body, the Ashram closed its original location. However, the Ashram still continues, and the work of Swamini Alice Coltrane Turiysangitananda will keep spreading. With this short-film, we hope to support that.

The short-film was first presented as part of the celebration for ‘Alice’s 80th Appearance Day’, at the Ashram on August 27. It will be released online via Boiler Room, later this fall.

The event also featured a live-cinema performance by Vincent & Priscilla with music by Laraaji, and a Q&A with Surya Botofasina & Andy Beta. It was curated by Charlotte van Kotze and Francois Vaxelaire.

Photos by Erez Avissar.

Eric Welles Nystrom