The Expansion of Conscious Media Film Festivals

By Kate Neligan

In 2014 two new conscious media film festivals launched: the Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona, AZ and the Awakened World Film Festival in Santa Barbara, CA. There are dozens more, including one happening right now: the Awareness Film Festival  in Santa Monica, CA which is celebrating its fifth year.

As a mindful media expert who has followed this space for many years, I can affirm that this market is expanding. In fact, Gaiam put out a whitepaper called “The Explosion of Conscious Media” and acknowledged that the current audience size in the US is over 100 million and will continue to grow for another five years.

It is exciting to see more films produced that illuminate, awaken, and raise awareness. We are often surrounded by the doom and gloom of thrillers, horror movies and adrenaline-packed action flicks, but the films that tug at our heartstrings and help us connect back to our inner selves are also important. It is time for society to see a more positive, healthy mirror.

Films and stories have the potential to heal and improve our lives. This is one of the reasons why I founded my start-up, Synergy TV, which entertains, enlightens and inspires a global audience with curated mindful movies and transformational television. I believe people need to see solutions presented in the media. Our content continues to uplift, evoke awe and restore hope in humanity.

Consciousness-raising film festivals can do the same. They create a temporary home for these films to be discovered, showcased, and celebrated. The audience can watch movies with like-minded individuals and connect with the filmmakers after the screening. New friendships, business relationships and collaborations often occur at festivals like these because everyone is passionate about the vehicle of entertainment as a force for good. If you are someone who loves to see positive role models, learn something new, and feel your heart open, then these are the types of festivals you want to attend.

This weekend, the Awareness Film Festival is happening in Santa Monica.
Some key films that will be screened are Finding Happiness, When My Sorrow Died, No Evidence of Disease, and The Starfish Throwers. On Saturday, September 20th I will also be moderating a first-of-its kind panel called “The Consciousness Movement – Wellness in the Media” with writer, athlete and wellness advocate Rich Roll, chef and co-partner in SunCafe Organic Ron Russell, and founder of The Aware Guide Gary Tomchuck. Then, as a gift to filmmakers, I am hosting a roundtable on “Distribution & Marketing.” The Festival ends with a special Gala on Sunday, September 21st honoring The David Lynch Foundation and the Better U Foundation. Proceeds from this festival benefit the non-profit Heal One World which offers yoga and alternative treatments to under-served groups.

Then, from October 27 – 30, the Awakened World Film Festival launches with inspiring films such as Project Happiness, Walking the Camino, The Invocation, andMoney and Life. This festival is woven into a working conference and urban retreat that also features galas, concerts, dialogues and workshops. Produced by the Association for Global New Thought with support from Science of Mind Foundation, the festival will bring together an audience whose values are aligned with spiritual and social responsibility and enlightened action. One special event will be the 10th birthday/anniversary party for the famous documentary What the Bleep?! In honor of this celebration I asked the film’s producer, Betsy Chasse, what she thinks about the expansion of this market.

“I’m grateful to see that conscious people are creating a home for conscious films. For so long we’ve sort of been left out of the mainstream festivals. Although Awake and Song of The New Earth did premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival, it’s few and far between. It’s time that there are festivals that show the quality films that are available in this genre.” – Betsy Chasse

We both agreed that it’s important for visionaries in this space to be honored and rewarded for their heart-centered work to help humanity. The community, which includes you, holds the power to choose which stories we want to see more of and you make a positive difference when you purchase tickets, sponsor, promote, and support conscious media film festivals. The time has come for us to move from a stressed society to one of synergy and mindfulness. The stories we tell in film and media, as well as inside our own heads, can take us there!
Kate Neligan – Founder of Synergy TV Network
Follow Illuminate Film Festival @64DaysSNV
Follow Awareness Film Festival @Awarenessfest
Follow Awakened World Film Festival @Illuminate_FF
Follow Synergy TV @SynergyTVNet
Follow Kate Neligan @MindfulMediaEnt


  1. Katherine L says:

    Thanks for this post and reminding us that the images we consume can affect almost every aspect of our lives. Hollywood tends to cater to that which is exciting but ultimately unfulfiling, but like all drugs, there are only so many car chases and explosions one can watch before the adrenaline rush just doesn’t happen any more. At that point you hve to either find another drug or turn inward. It’s only by turning inward that we eventually find what we’re really looking for.

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