The Big Picture

Mandorla follows Ernesto, a visual artist and seeker stuck in a corporate video job, who is drawn by dark and magical visions to a medieval French city. There he seeks an illusive banker to help him unlock an obscure dream, deep within him, that threatens his job, family, and sanity.

Official trailer

Over 21,000 plays on Vimeo so far

This site is for you to discover and follow Mandorla (independent and low budget by necessity) as it's being made. We have written, shot, and edited the film, and are now preparing it for release in late 2015. Follow regular updates on our Facebook page.



NEW TRAILER FINISHED!! Zaentz Seal of Approval!

Mandorla's new trailer has just been finished and is being well received! Have a look for yourself on Vimeo, YouTube, or right here (subtitles available in French and Spanish, use CC) and then send us a note and let us know what you think?

Shot from the trailer: Ernesto tries to see light and shadow at the same time. This, of course, reflects the central theme of the film.

And now, saving the best for last, the big news.

New opening title card in Mandorla


Paul Zaentz produced, along side his uncle Saul, some of the most memorable and intelligent American and international cinema of our time: Amadeus, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, The English Patient, and The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Some time ago, I gave Paul a copy of Mandorla to view when he had time. I didn't hear anything back for several months, which is understandable. Paul is a very busy fellow—developing an exciting new film project, tending Poster for The English Patientmany of The Zaentz Film Company's film properties, and, few people actually know this, the rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, which they've owned since 1976. Yep. You read that right. The portal to Middle Earth resides in the shire of Berkeley!

A few weeks ago I received a message from Paul. He had just watched Mandorla and was moved by the film on a personal level. It was the same reaction we had from people who spoke to us after screenings at the Julien Dubuque International Film festival.

I told Paul our goal for Mandorla is for it to be seen by as many people as possible so that others may have the same experience. To help with that, and help Mandorla get the awareness and consideration it needs, I asked Paul if he would consider "presenting" the film. This is something rare among filmmakers, and something he has never done. Paul said he would be honored to have his name on the film. Without question, the honor is mine.

Shot from Mandorla trailer, Queen on the bridge. I shared this news with an email to a well-regarded film festival director and programmer. They wrote back (the same day) with congratulations and an invitation to submit the film for their consideration, and they waived the entry fee (also rare in filmmaking). Other festivals followed suit. Thank you, Paul.

The plan ahead, after fall festivals, is to release Mandorla in late October or November, so you too can see this film.

Meanwhile, stay with us, we have a lot more to share as we go!




Everything seems to take 3x longer, but then you see why!

In editing, invariably by chance, a frame will appear at random and linger, giving pause to consider the film's essence.

Tonight, while Liz and I edited the trailer, this frame appeared. We captured it to share with you.



Editing new trailer, Exciting Announcements coming!

Another day of editing in our walk-in-closet sized editing studio.

Editing our new (and long overdue) trailer in preperation for some big announcements coming soon.

A film trailer is an interesting form to work in. Some editors will tell you it's fun because "anything goes," you can put in any thing you want in any order. And that's true. I prefer to think of a trailer as a mosaic, and in the making of it be guided by what the film is about at it's core. In our case:

A guy with conflicting inner and outer worlds, compelled to journey between them with the hope of finding a meaningful life in the balance.

Somewhere while watching trailer (ours or any other) I want to say to myself, "I want to see that film." Hopefully, when you see this new trailer, you will say or something similiar. We'll finish and post it soon, and you can tell us if we hit that mark.

And we'll make some announcements soon that we are pretty excited about, too.

Till then,



Hola from Sedona!!

In it's second year the ILLUMINATE festival is becoming a launch pad for conscious cinema films. Key to this is introducing filmmakers to distributors, the press, and financiers. Some very smart and aware people running this festival.

Greetings from Sedona, and the ILLUMINATE Film Festival.

Liz just read this from across the room:

"Yesterday I was clever,
I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise,
and I am changing myself."

Mandorla is about changing yourself.

More to come from Sedona... exciting times, amazing people, and the festival community (who invited us here) are making us feel very, very welcome... Things are just getting started, but clearly the tide of consciousness cinema is rising and floating all boats, including ours!



Julien Dubuque's Five Flags Theater may well be our favorite of all film festival theaters.Certainly in the realm of San Francisco's Castro Theater.

The Julien Dubuque International Film Festival was a divine dream that I don’t think we’ve quite woken up from yet. The Festival staff, led exceptionally well by Susan Gorrell (which reflects why they are one of the "Top 25 Film Festivals in the World" by MovieMaker Magazine) was incredibly helpful at every turn.

Before a screening is always a "charged" time. At most film festivals, after the first couple of days of screenings it’s the word-of-mouth about films that matters most. Fortunately for us word spread about Mandorla and we had a packed house for our prime-time Saturday screening that included Liz Gilman, Executive Producer from Produce Iowa (the state’s film office), a number of JDIFF’s board of directors such as Michael Coty (festival co-founder) Peter Tinsman, Brian Cooper who is also the Executive Editor of Dubuque’s newspaper, the Telegraph Herald, (see an article mentioning Mandorla) and a lot of other great, warm-hearted people we connected with over the festival, Patrick Sterenchuk, Andy Wilberding and family, and others like my old, life-long friend, Lyle Friesenhahn and his family.

Getting settled early in our seats we made new friends, Brian Cooper, JDIFF board member, and his lovely wife Ann, Plus Liz and I.
Two shots from Mandorla's "Queen's Bridge" scene in Lyon...The result was a very engaged audience that followed every nuance and detail on the screen that Mandorla offered. At the end they all applauded and stayed to ask very thoughtful questions. Afterward, one person said he felt that we made the film for him. At the next screening another person said "This was the story of my life. Of course it's his (Ernesto's) life but I never had the words to express it as beautifully as it is on the screen." To have a film connect with an audience like this, this is the experience every filmmaker dreams of. So it is truly a dream come true.

...featuring le belle Caroline Michel.We felt light as air at the festival's grand party that night, and met more great people. This included the mayor and his delightful wife, Deborah, and their friends. What a beautiful, warm hearted big little town Dubuque is, with three universities!  

The next morning a Producer’s Rep. from Los Angeles (invited to the festival to host a panel) invited me to breakfast to talk about representing Mandorla to distributors. We had a good chat on the creative and business sides of things. Will keep you posted. Meanwhile, interest in Mandorla continues to grow.

Mandorla postcard we gave out at the festivalOur location scouting crew day one: Tim Meyer, Andy Wilberding, Jim Barefoot, and Liz.Before we arrived at the festival, we had the feeling that Dubuque and Iowa might play a role in our next film. We sensed the Universe put us here for that, so our plan to spend one extra day for location scouting quickly expanded to two fantastic full days. More festival board members came to help us: Theresa Heim, Tim Conlon, Eric Lucy, and Jim Barefoot, also with the Dubuque Film Office, along with festival volunteer and troubadour Andy Wilburding and Tim Meyer, our perfectly cool and laidback wheelman. 

Location scouting crew day two: Theresa Hein, Eric Lucy, and Liz.The good folks at DreamCatcher Productions (Joe, Suzie, Tim, and Jackson) gave us a solid perspective on shooting locally Be sure to check out the trailer they made for the Julien Dubuque.
Frank Lloyd Wright's path to the light in Winslow House.
It was then off to Chicago for a couple of days, which was a bit chilly but a lot of fun. As luck would have it, we had a special, private tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s first private home commission, “Winslow House,” which is stunning. Most filmmakers are, for some reason, huge fans of architecture and I am no  exception. Thank you to Winslow descendent Marion O’Duffy and especially Peter Walker, who grew up in this extraordinary house, which he has placed on the market. My hope is that its heritage will be preserved.

Before flying out of Chicago, the Theosophical Society in America, in Wheaton, IL, was kind enough to let us stop by and speak at length about our research interests regarding our next film. It was that kind of connection and talk that let’s you know you are in the right place at the right time talking to the right people.

So after a break in Lyon, France, the adventure continues, for Mandorla, and the next film!!



P.S. Here in Lyon, it was relaxing to hang-up the filmmaker badge for a while, take some pics of what is old (15th Century, St. Jean, Vieux Lyon) and a short walk away to the new (21st Century, Confluence), and explore how the two might go together... in Photoshop.

I know. Photoshop. It's one way to relax. Maybe a means to meditate on the next film. But can you spot the Julien Dubuque Filmmaker badge in the collage bellow? The Mandorla is pretty easy. ;)

Hope this finds you all well, wherever you are in the world.

Images from old St. Jean and the new Confluence, where the Saône meets the Rhône.