BSU student, professor present film during Buddhist leader's visit

by Sara Bahnson, Arbiter Online News Editor, September 15, 2005

Boise, Idaho (USA) -- BSU student, Saandra Steinfelt, and BSU adjunct professor, Jesse Cordtz, presented their eight-minute documentary “Laying the Foundation of the Future” at the Dalai Lama’s Kids’ Day address Sunday in Hailey, Idaho. Steinfelt and Cordtz also filmed footage for a one-hour documentary, “Seeds of Compassion,” about the Dalai Lama’s visit to Idaho in which they received exclusive standing, according to Cordtz.

?We put together the video as a gift to his holiness,? Cordtz said. ?It?s all about children, compassion and their ideas about making the world better.?

Their documentary was played in combination with the Dalai Lama?s blessing of 18 Idaho children who were selected after Gov. Dirk Kempthorne?s requested essay submissions from Idaho children to tell the world what compassion means to them.

?Govenor and Pat Kempthorne sanctioned it [the essay submissions] through their Web site and a committee selected the children to be blessed,? Cordtz said.

The film features children from ages five to 18 who demonstrate acts of compassion through community service. They were filmed at the Idaho Foodbank, the YMCA, the Meridian Boys? and Girls? Club, Meals on Wheels, St. Luke?s Regional Medical Center and other sites across Idaho.

Steinfelt and Cordtz were commissioned to film both documentaries by Kiril Sokoloff, a Sun Valley businessman and follower of the Dalai Lama.

Steinfelt had the idea of the documentary last year, but said at first she didn?t know who to get in contact with.

?This was a dream of mine about a year ago,? Steinfelt said. ?I wanted to film a documentary for education purposes only to spread the Dalai Lama?s words of compassion.?

Thanks to Steinfelt?s mother and her connections to a Buddhist follower at the Treasure Valley Community Center, where Steinfelt and her mother work, Sokoloff received Steinfelt?s e-mail.

?Kiril saw something in us,? Cordtz said.

Steinfelt and Cordtz also worked with 18 other crewmembers from BSU and TVTV. Rick Moore, Pete Lutze, Susan Randall and other members of the Communication department faculty at BSU also assisted the coordination of the documentary. Cordtz said Moore, Lutze and Randall were very instrumental in getting support from the university.

?These are some really top notch students that have already proven themselves,? Moore said. ?It?s a once in a lifetime opportunity to shoot something of this caliber, specially in their own backyard.?

The short documentary was played on a 17 feet by 23 feet screen and to a crowd of 10,000 people. Steinfelt and Cordtz received permission from Sokoloff to have two cameras just five feet away from the Dalai Lama, which Cordtz said will be used by national television programs.

Steinfelt and Cordtz are also working with experienced professionals in the film-making field.

?We are working closely and sharing footage with a Hollywood production crew that is following the chronicle of His Holiness?s visit to the United States,? Cortdz said.

Steinfelt, 52, is a sophomore non-traditional student