Stars urged to deliver uplifting entertainment
By James Hibberd
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A group of Hollywood creatives are taking a cue from bestselling "Power of Now" author Eckhart Tolle and forming an organization that promotes uplifting messages in entertainment.
The organization is called GATE -- the Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment -- and its invitation-only inaugural meeting on the Fox lot last Thursday attracted such celebrities as Adrian Grenier, Jackson Browne, Virginia Madsen, Garry Shandling and Billy Zane.
"Clearly, these are times of unprecedented transformation, both individually and globally," said founder John Raatz of the PR firm the Visioneering Group. "Everywhere you look, people are questioning values, identity and meaning. We're intending for GATE to support entertainment and media professionals who realize media's power to effect positive change, and want to contribute to this transformation through their work."
The concept was partly inspired by the works of Tolle, whose Zen teachings have encouraged millions to "live in the present moment." Tolle's books received global recognition after the author appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
At the GATE event, Tolle cited instances of inspiring themes in movies. He noted, for example, that war movies such as "All Quiet on the Western Front" showing "the insanity of war" can be transformational, as well as movies depicting spiritual growth of the main character (such as "The Last Samurai").
Tolle recalled the modern classic "Groundhog Day," where Bill Murray's jaded character is trapped in a small town, reliving the same day over and over, until he finally stops resisting the present moment, makes the most of the time he has and accepts everybody around him.
Though Tolle was the event's headliner, many also turned out to see Jim Carrey, whose film last year "Yes Man" embraced a message of spiritual acceptance.
"We live on a planet where we are all really crammed together and yet we do really well," Carrey said. "But when we watch the news and we watch entertainment it's all about conflict. And you imagine that the world is an explosive, horrifying place. It's really non-representative of the way the world is and what the world wants."
(Editing by Dean Goodman at Reuters)