BIRTH I N I T I AT I O N
M A R R I AG E D E AT H
TABLE OF CONTENTS
3 Proposed Series Segments
16 Host Biography
18 Guest Biographies
24 Producer Biography
26 Producer Portfolio
28 Sponsor Benefits
What sustains and nurtures the human soul? The passionate search to connect with ourselves, our community, and the divine, is evidenced across the globe in ancient tribal rites,
in the grandeur and ceremony of churches, and in simple, personal acts of prayer. The world has an amazing diversity of practices, history and customs arising from religious and
secular traditions. Every community, without exception, has rituals surrounding birth, initiation, marriage and death. These commonalities, these shared impulses underline the key
moments of life. They are the universal rites of passage that tie us to the past and pull us toward the future.
The search for common ground, in this age of strife and uncertainty, can teach us about respect for the sacred in all its shapes and varieties; this is the heart of our series.
The Thread is our common ground, the invisible truth that connects us all. In our examination of life’s great milestones, we hope to bring to the audience a greater
understanding of how to honor our cultural differences and celebrate our spiritual similarities.
Birth, initiation, marriage, death: rites of passage observed and ritualized in every culture, faith, and community across the world. These sacred mysteries are life’s defining turning
points and each is honored for similar reasons in sometimes wildly different ways. In our global adventure, we focus on one of these essential milestones for each hour of our four
part series, The Thread. The participants’ experience is at the forefront, whether it’s an Irish couple preparing for their first child, a man and woman in Japan marrying in the Zen
tradition, or a young Jewish boy celebrating his arrival into maturity.
Our engaging host, the celebrated cultural anthropologist and inspired storyteller, Angeles Arrien, is our tour guide as we travel to some of the world’s most extraordinary locations.
She will be joined by an amazing array of guests who will help us grasp the meaning and rites of the great traditions and the universal thread that links us all. These philosophers,
writers, and spiritual leaders offer a rarely seen depth of understanding into the customs of humankind. Along with Ms. Arrien, their combined wisdom, insight and passion will
enlighten and entertain us and, perhaps, foster a new inclusive awareness for some of the ways that we connect with ourselves, each other and our spirituality.
Film can capture these sacred experiences in the most powerful way offering real knowledge about how other people give life meaning. Truly, the sights, rites and practices are
limitless. The Thread is a fascinating opportunity to peek into previously inaccessible worlds as we explore the great mysteries of life.
PROPOSED SERIES SEGEMENTS
Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 2 Episode 4
Birth — Emergence Initiation—Growing Up Human Marriage—Connection Death — Letting go
Baptismal Rite, Southern Native American Vision Quest/Apache Zen Buddhist Marriage Ceremony (Japan) Effigy Burning (Bali)
Baptists (Louisiana) Sunrise Ceremony (Arizona) Sikh Wedding, Arranged Marriage (New Irish Wake (Ireland)
Hindu Ritual (Ganges River) Tukuna Festival of the Moca Nova (Brazil) Mexico) Fire Burial Ritual (India)
Jewish Bris for Adopted Infant Anglican Confirmation (South Africa) Islamic Bedouian Wedding (Sudan) Catholic Funeral Service (Havana)
(San Francisco) Jewish Bar Mitzvah (Brooklyn) Seven Day Hindu Wedding Ritual (India) Tibetan Funeral (Nepal)
Navajo Smile Ceremony (Arizona) American Cotillion (Dallas) Aychuau Wedding Ceremony (Ecuador) Funeral Procession (New Orleans)
Roman Catholic Baptism (Ireland) ~
Latin Quinceanera Ceremony (Cuba) Long Distance Engagement, American Russian Orthodox Funeral (New York City)
Evangelical Couple (New Orleans) Kore Ceremony (Senegal) Soldiers (Middle East) Islamic Burial (Egypt)
Islamic Birth Celebration (Bahrain) Pentecost Land Diving Jewish Marriage Ceremony (South New Year’s Eve (Paris)
Children’s Council (South Pacific Island) Carolina) Elder Council
Buddhist Nun Initiation (India) Greek Orthodox Wedding (Greece)
First Driver’s License (Istanbul) New Age Wedding (Sedona)
Young Adult Council
The following is a treatment for the first hour of our four part series. Each show will follow participants from a variety of cultures as they experience a particular rite of passage. The sound track of thoughts from our
host, Angeles Arrien and our guest commentators will weave throughout each show. They will emphasize how the impulses toward these key moments are so similar, yet the reaction to cultural differences can cause
great divides. Additionally, a group of young people will discuss their beliefs and traditions as well as what they plan to teach their own children.
Birth – Emergence
In Dublin, Ireland, a couple sits nervously in a doctor’s waiting room. We hear their thoughts, as with all the participants, on what having a baby means to them.
In San Francisco, a man and woman walk into an adoption agency.
In New Orleans, a couple enters an evangelical church and greets the minister.
In New Delhi, a young woman hugs her mother in joy.
In the Arizona desert, a Navajo man puts his head on his wife’s belly and listens.
In Manama, Bahrain, a husband helps a very pregnant woman navigate her way into a waiting taxi.
Outside, in a beautiful, wild garden, our host, Angeles Arrien, walks in. She introduces us to the first key moment of life, birth, which is the beginning of our exploration of the great mysteries. She invites us to discover
the spiritual traditions and rituals of what it means to grow up human; rites of passage that have correlations the world over.
A doctor announces to the Irish couple the good news. They hug. The Navajo couple celebrates with family and friends. The New Orleans couple expresses their desires to be baptized, ‘born again’, and become part
of their new church’s community. The Bahraini couple speeds to the hospital counting the time in between contractions.
A lawyer at the adoption agency listens as the husband and wife explain why they want to adopt. They hear the many steps involved in what may be a long struggle. The lawyer tries to narrow down the options.
These include age, sex, nationality, race and health. On the desk in front of them are photographs of children at different ages and from various countries.
In India, the young woman lies back as the technician spreads some jelly on her pregnant stomach. Her husband holds her hand as the couple sees images from the sonogram appear on screen. A clear picture of an
infant, hand outstretched, emerges. When asked if they’d like to know the sex of the baby, the young man and woman look at each other with questions in their eyes. The couple in Dublin stares in awe at the sonogram
of their baby. The sex of the child is now obvious to the female technician. She asks if they’d like to know. They nod yes. The Navajo couple smiles in delight as they watch on the video screen the beating heart of
their unborn child. When the technician offers to reveal the sex of the child, they answer, in unison, an emphatic, “No”.
In a bible study class, the New Orleans couple listens intently as the Minister talks about being baptized into the Christian faith.
Around a large table, Angeles Arrien asks questions to several young children, representing a variety of cultures. “Would you bring up your child the way you were brought up?” “What’s the most important thing for
you to teach your child?” “What do you think when other kids look or act differently from you?”
The San Franciscan couple arrives in Romania on the belief that there’s a newborn available for adoption. They enter a clinic and are led into the Director’s office. A kind looking woman explains, regretfully, that the
birth mother has changed her mind and will keep the baby. On the plane ride home, the young couple comfort each other and commit to keep trying to find their child.
The Bahraini pair pull up to a hospital emergency entrance. The pregnant wife gets into a wheelchair and is rolled inside. By the Ganges River, the Indian couples sits with the wife’s parents and happily discuss
possible names for the baby. In a Dublin pub, a large group of family and friends loudly voice their opinions on the couple’s choices for the name of their unborn daughter. Outside, in the breathtaking Arizona desert,
the Navajo couple enjoys some ice cream at a roadside table. They, too, try to decide on the best name for their child.
The San Franciscan couple waits in the airport for a plane headed to Beijing. We hear, in voice over, their apprehension about being disappointed again. The New Orleans Minister excites an expectant group of church
newcomers, including the couple we know, about the final steps to baptism. He describes, with emotional fervor, how they will feel once they have become ‘born again’.
Angeles Arrien talks with leading thinkers from around the world including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, a noted Islamic
scholar, and Rabbi Rolando Matalon. They will discuss racial, religious and ethnic divides and how to see beyond the differences.
In their New Delhi apartment, the wife yells out to her husband. In their kitchen in Dublin, the Irish women nods, ‘Yes’, to her husband. The expectant Navajo bride struggles out of her adobe home carrying a small
suitcase. Her husband comes running. In a Beijing clinic, a nurse informs the American couple, through a translator, that their baby is about to be born.
In the delivery room, after a few tense moments and one final, heroic push, the Bahrainian woman delivers her child, a perfect, healthy little boy. At this moment, the proud father whispers into the infant’s right ear the
Muslim call to prayer, Adhaan. This is the first thing the child will hear. In Ireland, India and Arizona, the three couples celebrate the first precious moments of their children’s lives. At that same moment, on the banks
of the Mississippi, the Minister plunges the wife into the baptismal waters. She leaps up in ecstasy and hugs her husband.
Across the Pacific, in a quiet Beijing waiting room, the nurse introduces the American couple to their tiny, new son. The threesome, now a family, embraces.
The big day has arrived. Around the world, families from all sorts of cultures gather to celebrate new life. Angeles Arrien’s narration underlines the key ways humans honor birth. In a Hindu temple, the astrological
chart of the newborn is created as family and friends gather for the naming ceremony. The mother, in Bahrain, cuts a lock of her son’s hair as their naming ceremony begins. Godparents hold the tiny Irish girl as a
Priest drops water on her forehead. The Jewish couple in San Francisco looks on as a Rabbi performs the Bris. The Evangelical couple celebrates with their new community, while in Arizona, the maternal grandmother
of the Navajo baby uses a feather to entice the child’s first smile. The smile is a sign of blessing, and a reassurance of a long and happy life.
This first episode closes with a poignant gathering of the participants from around the world. All of the couples have shared a powerful and similar experience. Yet each has chosen a different spiritual path for
themselves and their children to follow. Do these differences have to separate us? Can the thread of our common humanity overcome these differences? We’ll find out.
Angeles Arrien is a cultural anthropologist, award-winning author, educator, and consultant to many organizations and businesses. Raised
bi-culturally and first generation of a Basque immigrant family from the Pyrenees mountains of Spain, Angeles discovered as a young girl, her deep
interest in teaching and in learning about other cultures, because of her own bi-cultural experience. With family in both the Basque communities of
Idaho and Spain, she eventually pursued her interests in cultures and international work through an advanced degree at UC Berkeley, which allowed
her to learn about cross-cultural and indigenous traditions. Angeles has remained committed for over 45 years to the pursuit of universal and
Perennial Wisdoms, and has disseminated them through her national and international work, to be preserved for the generations of the future.
Her lectures, courses and writings, bridge cultural anthropology, psychology, comparative religions, conflict resolution and mediation skills. Her work
has been featured on CNN, and is currently used in medical, academic, and corporate environments.
She has written seven books, which have been translated into thirteen languages. Her award-winning books include: “The Signs of Life” (Winner of
the 1993 Benjamin Franklin Award), and “The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom” (Winner of the 2007 Nautilus Award for Best
Book on Aging). Angeles is most known for her book, “The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Healer, Teacher and Visionary”, from which her programs, keynotes and
workshops draw most extensively, to enhance the personal and professional development of others. Through her Four-Fold Way programs, and lifelong love of nature, she has pro-
vided 3-day, 3-night solo wilderness experiences for over 6000 people.
Angeles has taught in the University of California system at: Berkeley, Los Angeles, Irvine, Davis, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco. She has been an adjunct professor at three Bay Area
graduate schools: California Institute of Integral Studies, John F. Kennedy University, and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Her expertise with diverse multi-cultural issues,
mediation and conflict resolution, has been used by the International Rights Commission and the World Indigenous Council. Requests for her organizational and international skills
have taken her expertise to over 15 countries. Her commitment to international work led her to establish her Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research. She has received
three honorary doctorate degrees in recognition of her work.
Angeles enjoys living with her sister in a hundred year old house, in nature-ful Sonoma County. As vast as the depth and breadth of her expansive and far-reaching lifelong work,
Angeles is best known for her personhood, depth of character, compassionate engagement, skillful and astute communication abilities. She is a wonderful storyteller, with a delightful
sense of humor, creative outlook on life, and is beloved by her students, colleagues, friends and family. She remains committed to walking the spiritual path with practical feet, and to
making the world a better place by leaving a legacy of increased cultural and spiritual tolerance and understanding for generations of the future.
Coleman Barks is the author of numerous Rumi as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Christina Grof is an author, teacher, artist, psycho- anthropology and has been a professor at Columbia,
translations and was the subject of an hour-long Dalai Lama, and thus an incarnation of the Buddha therapist, founder of the Spiritual Emergence Yale, the University of California at Berkeley and the
segment in Bill Moyer’s Language of Life series on of Compassion. In 1989, His Holiness was awarded Network and co-creator of Holotropic Breathwork. New School for Social Research, where he was the
PBS. He is also a professor of creative writing at the Nobel Peace Prize. Along with her husband, Dr. Stanislav Grof, she has chairman of the Department of Anthropology.
the University of Georgia. written, “Beyond Death”, and “The Stormy Search
Ram Dass a Professor at Harvard from 1958 to for the Self”, among others. Pir Zia Inayat-Khan is the spiritual leader of the
Roland Comtois is an internationally acclaimed 1963, is a most insightful and noted explorer of Sufi Order International, a mystical branch of Islam.
spiritual counselor, inspirational speaker and writer. consciousness and spirituality. Ram Dass has writ- Stanislav Grof, MD, Ph.D is a psychiatrist and one He is also the founding Director of the Suluk
His most recent book, ‘And Then There Was ten a number of books including the best seller, of the founders and chief theoreticians of transper- Academy, an esoteric school located in upstate
Heaven’ is a personal exploration of love, life and “Be Here Now” and his most recent, “Still Here: sonal psychology. Dr Grof was an Assistant New York.
the great beyond. Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying”. Professor of Psychiatry at John Hopkins University
and is presently a Professor of Psychology at the Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon born and educated in
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the Chief Leonard George is the primary leader California Institute of Integral Studies. Brazil, now leads the Congregation B’Nai Jeshurun
head of state and spiritual leader of and elected Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in in Manhattan. He transformed this small synagogue
the Tibetan people. His Holiness was Burrand Inlet, British Columbia. He worked for Michael Harner, Ph.D. is an anthropologist and found- into a vibrant congregation of over 1800 families.
recognized at the age of two, in seven years as executive director of the Vancouver er of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Dr. Harner He is the recipient of awards from the New York
accordance with Tibetan tradition, Aboriginal Centre. has been recognized as a pioneer in the field of Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Peace Fellowship.
Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. is co-founder and a bestseller, and “Why Religion Matters”, winner of Archbishop Desmond Tutu won the Rev. Cecil Williams has been the Pastor of Glide
Medical Director of the Commonweal Cancer Help the Wilbur Award. Bill Moyers devoted a five-part 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his fight Memorial Church for over 40 years. Rev. Williams
Program featured in the Bill Moyers PBS series, PBS special, “The Wisdom of Faith with Huston against apartheid in South Africa. has created a church that practices diversity,
Healing and the Mind. She is the author of the New Smith”, to his life and work. He is widely known as South Africa’s spirituality and compassion. His vision for a truly
York Times bestseller, “Kitchen Table Wisdom: ‘moral conscience’. inclusive church has attracted a 10,000 member
Stories That Heal”, among others. Malidoma Some is a Shaman of the Dagara Tribe congregation that reflects the diversity of the
of West Central Africa, and holds two PhD’s from Frances Vaughn, Ph.D. is a psychologist and has world.
Mary Robinson is the former President of Ireland the Sorbonne in Paris and Brandeis University served as President of the Association for
and, recently, the United Nations High in Boston. He is dedicated to the preservation of Transpersonal Psychology and the Association for Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is considered one of the most
Commissioner for Human Rights. In 2002, the indigenous tribes of West Central Africa. Humanistic Psychology. She is the author and well-versed and vibrant Islamic scholars in the
Ms. Robinson founded the Ethical Globalization co-editor of books, papers and articles on psychol- west. Co-founder of the Zaytuna Institute, he
Initiative. Robert Thurman is a scholar, author, and former ogy and spiritual growth. has advised the Arab League as well as many
Tibetan Buddhist monk and Director of Tibet global leaders and is considered one of the
Huston Smith was a Professor of Philosophy at House in New York City. He is also the Department Roger Walsh, M.D. Ph.D is a Professor of psychia- most important spokesman for Islam today.
M.I.T. and most recently, a Visiting Professor of Chair of Indo-Tibetan Studies at Columbia try, philosophy and anthropology at the University
Religious Studies, University of California, Berkeley. University. of California at Irvine. His writings and research
Holder of twelve honorary degrees, Mr. Smith’s have received more than twenty national and
fourteen books include, “The World’s Religions”, international awards. His books include: “Essential
Spirituality” and “Paths Beyond Ego: The
Jeff Maloney is a producer/director for film and Lonnie Fernandez is a writer/producer. She has a The Starlit Symphony The Wild Bull Rider
television. He has a Master of Fine Arts in film Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University a space adventure film written, directed and pro- a television segment on the Rodeo produced for
from the University of Southern California. Mr. Film School. She is a member of the Writers Guild duced for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space ESPN Sports Network.
Maloney started as a film editor for ABC News in of America and has worked, in collaboration, with Museum.
Washington, D.C. and then moved to Los Angeles Mr. Maloney for over twenty years. Their film and PRODUCING/DIRECTING FOR
to work as a producer at Columbia Pictures script credits include: The Private Investigators DOCUMENTARY TELEVISION
Television. He produced over one hundred national a television pilot for a new crime series. Produced
television commercials, many Clio award winners, PRODUCING/DIRECTING FOR DRAMATIC through Tribune Entertainment. Health Care for the Homeless
before becoming a producer/director of entertain- FILMS AND TELEVISION a documentary aired on NBC’s Today Show.
ment, promotional and documentary films and The National Sports Laugh Produced through Metropolitan Pictures.
television. He is a member of the Writers Guild of Pathfinders a television comedy special produced through High
America. the pilot show for a new teenage dramatic series Plains Productions for syndication. Chasing Smoke
created for PBS. Produced through Lancit Media. a documentary on marijuana produced through
Metropolitan Pictures aired on Twin Cities
Public Television and sponsored by Hazelden
Publishing and Education.
A Day in the Life of... One to One WRITING CLIO AWARD WINNING COMMERCIALS
a series documenting the innovative books. a documentary on the Devereaux Millwood School
Produced by Metropolitan Pictures for Harper/ for Children with Autism. Produced for FECA by Guiding Light Miller Beer
Collins and seen on Good Morning America, 20/20 Metropolitan Pictures. daytime drama teleplays for CBS Television. Produced through Fred Levinson Productions.
and the Today Show.
Produced through Mathew Brady Films.
PSD The IBM Gallery of Science and Art a feature screenplay in development with Ice-9
a documentary on the Pennsylvania School for the a documentary series covering the exhibitions of Productions. Romantic drama. Ad Council
Deaf. Produced through Metropolitan Pictures aired the Museum, including: Newton’s Principia, Produced through EUE/Screen Gems.
on Philadelphia Public Television. Tokyo— Form and Spirit, American Folk Arts, Stranded at Third
Photographs of Laura Gilpin, and the Expressionist a feature screenplay. Romantic comedy. Shell Oil
Insights and Issues Landscape. Produced through EUE/Screen Gems.
a continuing television series on healthcare and Clinical Trials Network
pharmacy. Produced for Leverte Associates. an annual report for the New York Presbyterian Produced through EUE/Screen Gems
Produced through HISK Productions
METROPOLITAN PICTURE PORTFOLIO
ABC Television Harper Collins Publishers/A Day in the Life New York Presbyterian Hospital Tribune Entertainment
American Express Hazelden Pennsylvania School for the Deaf Volunteers of America
AstraZeneca IBM Procter and Gamble Xerox
CBS Television Lancit Media PBS Westinghouse
Citibank Massachusetts Institute of Technology The Smithsonian’s National Air and WPIX Television
Foundation For Educating Miller Brewing Company Space Museum
Children With Autism New York Mets
AUDIENCE MEDIA EXPOSURE BRAND ENHANCEMENT LONGEVITY
The Public Television audience is Press and media coverage of premier PBS viewers believe that PBS sponsors have a Multiple showings of series on PBS
estimated at over 75.7 million and subsequent broadcasts. commitment to quality and excellence.
households representing Multi-language versions increase international
143.6 million viewers. Public relations exposure throughout High profile, highly educated viewers. appeal and longevity.
the airings, including PBS websites.
Reaches into 99% of American homes. Associate your company message with a media
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PBS attracts the most affluent, highly educated
viewers in the nation. Credit line on all materials produced
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